Jacob Ralph Featherston, the author of 'Weardale Men and Manners', was born on the 11th of May 1799, the son of Thomas Featherston, a wealthy retail grocer in Newcastle, and his wife, Jane Earl. Jacob's younger brother Isaac 1 went to private school in Tamworth and then to Edinburgh University before becoming a surgeon (and eventually emigrating to New Zealand). Jacob probably went to a similar school but, to judge from the character Frederick in the book, then went to work in the grocery business of his father Thomas and uncle John (who died in 1814).
The Featherstons seem to have followed the pattern of many Newcastle merchants of being rural landowners but making their money in the city.
Jacob married Ann Smith (Anna Simpson of the book) on the 13th of April 1825. She was given away by George Crawhall, the dedicatee of the book. She died in 1834 less than a year after the death of her two year old son. The memorial in Rookhope Church reads 2
Jacob died in 1856.
3 Thomas Featherstone is stated above to live at Cothill House, which is in Windmill Hills, Gateshead and Jacob had a house nearby at 16, West Street - presumably his own base in Newcastle. Thomas Bewick, the engraver, lived at No 19.