She was raised and adopted by James and Sarah
CLARKE in Bell Green, Coventry, many miles from her Birthplace.
The story was that she was left with the Clarke's when her
mother, a neighbour, went off to Cheshire? to meet the child's father, believed
to be a sea captain by the name of Arthur Rawson. ( Hence the 2nd christian
The full facts cannot be verified so far.
What is known
now is that her mother was a widow, having previously been married toThomas
Smith. Shortly before Thomas's death from consumption (Tuberculosis) the couple
had moved to Coventry to take up positions of Master and Matron at the new
Foleshill Workhouse where it is presumed they lived in. After Thomas's
death and burial at St.Laurence's, Foleshill, Coventry the movements of Mary
Smith are not known. Gertrude was born 3 years later in Stockport, 100 miles
( More details of the research can be found on
Gertrude seems to have
used the name CLARKE on one Census return but on her marriage details (Parish
Register) she is shown as GERTRUDE RAWSTON SMITH, with an un-named father.
NB: On the 1881 Census she is shown as GERTRUDE RAWSTON SMITH (orphan)
aged 4 , born in Preston, Lancashire.
On the 1891 Census she is
Gertrude Clarke aged 13 born in Stockport.
On her Birth Certificate
she is recorded at Stockport Registry Office as GERTRUDE RAWSON SMITH
born to Thomas Smith and Mary Smith (nee Cort).
However it has been found that Thomas died 3 years before
Gertrude was born.
Childhood: At the age of 4 she was
living with the Clarke family at an address simply Bell Green.
In 1891 at
the age of 13 she was working as a Weavers Shute Filler , and in 1901
she was a Machinist Filer. She lived at Bell Green next door to William
Harrison whom she later married).
Marriage: She was married at
25 years of age to William Harrison on 26th April
1902 at St.Laurences Church, Foleshill.