Wilson Nicholson was born in Sunderland, Co. Durham, in 1769. After a narrow escape from the Press Gangs, he came to settle in Rochdale, Lancashire, where he married and raised a family in Blackwater Street. He was well known locally as a shoemaker; his wife Sarah made a living bleeding the sick with leeches. Two of his daughters became shoemakers. One daughter, also a leecher, married a Scottish soldier, newly returned from the West indies. His son pioneered the introduction of gutta percha rubber for footwear and invented several uses for it, culminating in the invention and patent of the modern day cricket ball. Wilson Nicholson died in 1852, aged 83, and is buried at St. Chad's, Rochdale.
Wilson was our 4xgreat grandfather. We know little about his family in Sunderland, save that one of his parents lived to the age of 99. Our research into this fascinating family is ongoing and we would welcome any new information.
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Anne Stobbs, Ayrshire, Scotland.
Vivian Dubé, New South Wales, Australia.