Several Poor Law Vouchers for Wednesbury, Staffordshire1 are bills from either M. Middleton or Mary Middleton for supplying Oatmeal to the Overseers of the Poor. (Circa 1790-1814)
Mary obviously kept a low profile as she has proved very elusive and this is probably the same for many business women of the age.
As many other vouchers appeared to be in a male name with receipts often signed by a female I firstly looked for a marriage between a male Middleton and a Mary 1740-1795 but didn’t find one.
Then I looked for a Baptism in Wednesbury for Mary Middleton but didn’t find one.
After that I repeated the searches with a widened net and found 2 baptisms in Walsall for a Mary Middleton. The first one is on 2 Feb 1759 d/o Joseph and Ann but that Mary appears to die in 1760. The second baptism seems to be to the same couple 29 September 1763. Unfortunately findmypast.co.uk doesn’t have the images of the Baptism online just the transcript. Nor are they on Ancestry Library edition.
I looked in the Historical records on Familysearch.org to see if they had Walsall images which they didn’t but I found the 1801 Census for Walsall and Joseph Middleton was listed in Ablewell St. as a victualler with 2 males and 3 females. Ablewell St. to Wednesbury would be 4.7 miles according to google maps. (1 of the 3 females could be Mary)
Mary is not listed in either the Universal British Directory 1791 or Parson and Bradshaw’s directory of 1818. However Mary’s Father Joseph Middleton is listed in 1818 as a Victualler and Maltster at the Royal Oak, Abelwell St. Walsall.
Mary does not appear in the 1841 Census so had presumably married or died before then as I failed to find her.
I also tried looking for a marriage for Mary Middleton after 1800 (and the dates on the vouchers) but the only one was in 1790 and if that is her she must have been in business using her maiden name.
Mary may have died in 1824 as I found a burial for Mary Middleton in the transcriptions of St Peter & St Paul Roman Catholic Church, Wolverhampton on 03 Jul 1824 no age is given. There were no burials for Mary in Wednesbury 1800-1840
I am not sure if we will find anything else.
1 ( D4383/6/9/1/16/3 (1790) D4383/6/9/2/51, D4383/6/9/3/6/6, D4383/6/9/3/17, D4383/6/9/3/68, D4383/6/9/3/77, D4383/6/9/3/95, D4383/6/9/3/1/104, D4383/6/9/3/192, D4383/6/9/3/214