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This is the story of an American who moved to Ireland and from there to London.


William Pearson Catherwood was an American. In the Irish Census of 1901, he stated that he was born in Savannah, Georgia about 1875. The birth cannot be confirmed because birth records for Savannah did not start till 1890.


In 1893 he boarded the ship ‘Gallia’ in New York and arrived at Liverpool on 27 February 1893. He was 22, a labourer and stated that he was Irish. The Gallia was built by James and George Thomson of Clydebank, Scotland, launched in 1879 and owned by Cunard Steamship Co. of Liverpool. She was a single iron screw sailing ship.


In the 1901 Irish Census, William was boarding in a house on Market Street, Londonderry, Ireland. He was age 26, single, and a “printer compositor”. He could read and write and was a member of the Church of Ireland. He was born in Savannah, USA. Why did he come from the USA to Ireland? Perhaps his parents came from Ireland and had emigrated to America.

Also, in the 1901 Irish Census, William’s future wife Catherine Jane Dunlop, age 26, was living in Clooney Terrace, Waterside, Londonderry, Ireland. She lived with her widowed father Andrew, age 60, two older siblings Rebecca (age 30) and William (age 28), and four younger siblings Maggie (age 25), Robert (age 23), Samuel (age 21) and James (age 20). She was a seamstress.

On 17 Feb 1908, aged about 33, William Pearson Catherwood married a local girl Catherine Dunlop, also aged about 33, a seamstress in Londonderry.

On 11 December 1908, William and Catherine had their first child, Pearson Dunlop Catherwood in Londonderry.


In the 1911 Irish Census, William, Catherine, and Pearson were still in Londonderry living in Foyle Road. William’s place of birth was given as America. Originally it had been given as Savannah, but this had been crossed out and replaced by America. William, age 37, was still a compositor. Catherine’s age was given as 29 but in the 1901 Census, while still living with her father and siblings, her age was given as 26! I wonder what age her husband thought she was. Pearson was age 2. The family are described as Presbyterian.

1911 census of Ireland

At some time not long after the 1911 Census, the family moved to England and unfortunately in the Q4 of 1912, the death of their son Pearson Dunlop was registered, age 3.

In the Q2 of 1913, Catherine registered the birth of their second son James Marcus Catherwood. He was baptised at St Paul’s Church, Newington, Southwark on 4 May 1913 and the record shows his birth as 5th March 1913. The parents were named as William Pearson Catherwood, a compositor, and Catherine of 45 Sutherland Road.

In the December quarter of 1919, William died in Long Grove Hospital, he was only 45. We will need access to hospital records, if they still exist, to find out why he was admitted. Nothing that we can find in his life so far hints at what mental health problem he had.

Family after the death of William Catherwood


In the June quarter of 1937, James Marcus Catherwood, William’s son, married Mary Barrs in Northumberland, a long way away north of London.

The 1939 Register shows Mary Catherwood, born 29 Dec 1912, married and living in Alnwick, Northumberland. She was 27 years old and her occupation was unpaid domestic duties. The entry below Mary’s has been redacted. A redacted record means someone who was born less than 100 years ago and no death has been registered. It is likely this is a child.


In the December quarter of 1976, James Marcus Catherwood (William’s son), born 3 March 1913, died age 63, in Northumberland.

Author’s Thoughts

The fate of Catherine Catherwood, William’s wife, remains a mystery. I could find no record of her after 1913. The 1921 Census may reveal what became of Catherine.

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