Eleanor Pallister was the second child of John Pallister & Tamar Lowes born January 14th, 1808 at Windlestone & christened February 21st, 1808 at Auckland St Andrew, Co Durham.
Eleanor married Joseph Smith on December 6th, 1829 at St Mary’s, Gateshead, Co Durham. Joseph was born July 11th, 1806 & christened December 7th, 1806 at Esh, the son of Isabella Mawvin & John Smith, a farmer & native of Cowton, Yorks.
Eleanor & Joseph had a son, Joseph, who was christened November 17th, 1833 at Gateshead. No further record of Joseph could be found & there is a burial for Joseph Smith, aged 1, on October 1st, 1834 at Auckland St Andrew.
By 1841 Joseph & Eleanor had moved to Witton Gilbert, Co Durham and Joseph was a butcher.
In 1850 Eleanor was the executor of her father’s will from which she benefited.
In 1851 Eleanor & Joseph were still living in Witton Gilbert & Joseph continued to work as a butcher. They had a general servant & a house servant as well as a lodger living with them.
It was reported in the Durham Chronicle of September 15th, 1854 that over the last 3 years Joseph had revived an old custom called the ‘mell supper’ which celebrated the end of harvest by inviting friends & neighbours to dine and dance. On this occasion, around 200 guests partook of the ‘good cheer of their kind-hearted & generous friend’. After an ‘elegant supper the real mirth of the evening commenced with joyous dance in which the good humoured host bore a conspicuous part, leading off the country dancing’. Dancing continued until a late hour in the morning.
An advert in the Durham Chronicle of December 2nd, 1859 shows the Oddfellow’s Arms was to be let, the owner of which was Joseph Smith. Joseph appears to have been a wealthy & generous gentleman who regularly made gifts of food & ale to the poor of the village.
At the time of the 1861 census Joseph was listed as a farmer of 131 acres in Witton Gilbert & living with him & Eleanor was a servant, a carter & an agricultural labourer. Joseph was a member of the Queen Bee Lodge of Oddfellows & had held the post of treasurer at Witton Gilbert for 19 years in 1861 for which post he had refused to accept any remuneration. As proof of the esteem in which he was held, fellow members presented him with a gold watch & neck chain at a dinner at the Oddfellow’s Arms which was hosted by Joseph.
The Durham County Advertiser of March 14th, 1862 carried an announcement of the sale of valuable farming stock as Joseph was giving up farming.
Joseph had retired by 1871 & he & Eleanor continued to live in Witton Gilbert. They still had a general servant.
Joseph became the Mayor of Witton Gilbert. ‘His portly form has made him familiar to all & the worshipful Joseph Smith dispensed justice & sage advice from the civic chair’. (Durham County Advertiser, May 9th, 1873). He decided to give up this role & leave the village of Witton Gilbert in 1873 after living there for almost half a century & earning the respect of the inhabitants. A civic banquet was held in his honour at which Joseph announced that he was to live at Aycliffe where ‘he had been unanimously elected as mayor’. He stated that ‘it was intended to carry him in triumph on that occasion, preceded by a band of music’.
Joseph, aged 71, died on August 16th, 1877 at Aycliffe & was buried at St Andrew’s, Aycliffe. His will was proved by widow Ellenor (sic) of Aycliffe, & 2 nephews - Thomas Smith of Durham City, accountant & George Hall of 41 Gresham Rd, Brixton, Surrey, Inspector of taxes. His effects were under £2,000.
Widowed Eleanor, an annuitant, was living at 18 Flass St, Durham in 1881 & living with her was a married niece, Catherine J Coe (29). This was the youngest daughter of Eleanor’s sister Jane.
Eleanor, aged 79, died on February 24th, 1887 at 28 Sutton St, Durham & was buried February 28th, 1887 at Auckland St Andrew. She was late of 18 Flass St, Durham & died at her sister Jane’s home. Her will was proved by nephew Robert Young, gentleman, of Nevilles Cross Cottage & niece Eleanor Young, spinster. Her personal estate was £247.16s.8d.
On March 11th, 1887 an advert for the sale of all the household furniture of 18 Flass St, including mahogany secretaire, pianoforte & old china appeared in the Durham County Advertiser.