Harriet and Jesse Micklethwaite were two of the children of Sarah, Kelita Crossland’s daughter (born 1866). In 1889 she married Joah Micklethwaite, a factory time-keeper, and had three children, Harriet, Ernest and Jesse. They lived in the Hunslett area of Leeds. In 1911 they are living at 2 Bagnall Street, Hunslet Road, Joah is a time-keeper in a blanket factory. Ernest is 21 an art lithographer , there were several printing companies in the area including Waddingtons. His sister described him as a ‘commercial artist’ and his brother was a good amateur artist in retirement. Harriet is a confectioner, which confirms her description as being a master cake maker at some point in her working life.
In the early 1950s Harriet married my very recently widowed grandfather Reginald Crossland, who was her cousin. This was a second marriage for him and a third marriage for her – she had married Thomas Bickerly in 1926 and divorced him in 1936; in 1943 she had married Peter Hargreaves and a few years later been widowed. It is possible that an even earlier marriage had been annulled, since her sister-in-law claimed that as a very young woman Harriet had fled from her husband and returned to her mother’s house where she was found hiding in a shed. She had no children, but had step-children through her marriage to Peter Hargreaves, a widower and older than her; however; she did not seem to have any contact with them after his death and never mentioned them. She had three grown up step-children through her marriage to Reginald Crossland and stayed on good terms with at least one of them. A tough-minded, resourceful and independent woman, she had travelled to America, worked as a master baker, been a strong supporter of the radical female Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson (1891–1947) and worked with her second husband Peter Hargreaves who ran a pub called The New White Bear in Tingley. She told one of her step-grand-daughters that she had been very happy during that brief time. She was widowed again when her last husband died and lived alone in Bridlington until she died in her mid-90s.
There are some mysteries in Harriet’s life and her complex marital history. She was a secretive woman who revealed about very little about herself and had the ability to sow discord in family relationships. Her last marriage, when she was well into middle-age, did seem to be happy, but she also gave the impression of being a troubled woman with a difficult past.