Mary Barton

Mary Barton Character List

Mary Barton

Ethereally beautiful, spirited, head-strong, brave and kind; Mary is the daughter of John Barton and the heroine of this tale; she works as a seamstress and dreams of becoming a lady. After her mother dies, she engages in a misguided romance with Harry Carson, but after rejecting Jem Wilson's proposal, she realizes that Jem is her true love. After this realization, Mary does whatever it takes to free Jem and pursue a life with him.

John Barton

The serious, thoughtful and intelligent father of Mary Barton; He works in a cotton mill, and is an active member Trades' Union; he loves Mary more than anything. Over the course of the novel, he becomes disillusioned and angry, killing Harry Carson as retaliation for mill owners' cruelty. He eventually realizes the error of his ways and dies begging for forgiveness.

Mrs. Mary Barton

Mary's mother and John's wife who dies from in childbirth because of weakness brought on by her sister Esther's disappearance.

Tom Barton

The Bartons' young son who dies from scarlet fever - at a time when his family cannot afford to feed him or get him proper medical care.

Esther Barton

Mary Barton Sr.'s sister who has a wild streak. Early in the novel, she runs away with a soldier and becomes pregnant with his child. He leaves her and the child dies, forcing Esther to turn to prostitution to earn a living. She becomes an alcoholic and returns to Manchester in order to save young Mary from making the same mistakes she has.

Jem Wilson

The dependable and honest hero of the novel; he loves Mary Barton and works as foreman in a forge. He is the son of George and Jane Wilson and the nephew of Alice Wilson. He is willing to take the blame for Harry Carson's murder in order to protect John Barton, Mary's father. He is eventually freed and marries Mary, moving his whole family to Canada. He and Mary later have a son, Johnnie Wilson.

George Wilson

Jem's father and John Barton's dear, good-hearted friend who dies.

Jane Wilson

The peevish and irritable wife of George Wilson; she suffered a crippling factory accident when she was young.

Wilson twins

George and Jane Wilson's young sons who die of scarlet fever within a few hours of each other.

Alice Wilson

Tender-hearted, pious and wise sister of George Wilson; she tends the sick using herbal medicine; she raised her other brother's son Will Wilson and is a voice of morality throughout the novel. After suffering a stroke, she loses her mind and then dies.

Will Wilson

Alice's nephew, a sailor on the John Cropper. He is bold and unabashed and falls in love with Margaret Jennings after hearing her sing. Will's testimony is what frees Jem Wilson from his murder charge.

Margaret Jennings

Mary's friend and fellow seamstress. She lives with her grandfather, Job Legh. She is sensible, plain-faced, sweet, virtuous, and has a gift for singing. She is going blind but at the end of the novel, undergoes an operation that restores her sight. She eventually marries Will Wilson.

Job Legh

Intelligent, self taught naturalist; grandfather of Margaret Jennings and a great help to Mary throughout the novel.

Frank Jennings

Margaret's father

John Carson

A Mill owner who rose from factory work to wealth and prominence. He is initially a cruel and harsh employer, but changes his worldview after his son, Harry Carson, is murdered.

Mrs. Carson

Wife of Mr. Carson who grew up in poverty as factory worker but now enjoys a wealthy lifestyle. She is plagued by frequent headaches. She can never accept Harry's death.

Harry Carson

The hot-headed, wealthy, handsome, arrogant son of Mr. Carson. He flirts with Mary and pursues her even when she rejects him. He encourages the mill owners not to concede to their workers' demands, even drawing cruel cartoons of the delegation. He is murdered by John Barton as a symbol of the civil unrest amongst the mill workers.

Sophy Carson

Harry's sister and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carson.

Helen Carson

Harry's sister and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carson.

Amy Carson

Harry's sister and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carson.

Mr. Bridgenorth

A lawyer and friend of Job's who is based in Liverpool and helps defend Jem.

Ben Sturgis

A curmudgeonly old sailor with a tender heart. He and his wife care for Mary when she is ill in Liverpool.

Mrs. Sturgis

Ben's wife; she is kind and motherly and takes good care of Mary during Jem's trial.

Charley Jones

A boy who helps Mary rent a boat to catch Will and the John Cropper. He is the son of Mrs. Jones, whose house Will Wilson was staying at while docked in Liverpool.

Mrs. Jones

Charley's mother who owns the boarding house where Will Wilson stays and later, Job Legh.

Mr. Duncombe

Jem's master at the foundry who believes that he is innocent of Harry's murder; he helps Jem find work in Canada.

Sally Leadbitter

A flirtatious girl who likes to gossip and works as a seamstress with Mary. Sally helps Harry in his pursuit of Mary and is always trying to interfere in Mary's affairs.

Mrs. Leadbitter

Sally's mother

Ms. Simmonds

Mary and Sally's employer; a seamstress in Manchester.

Johnnie Wilson

Mary and Jem's young son, who is born in Canada.