Double Death Developments

In the post, Double Death, I said:

The death certificate records Grace’s cause of death as  ‘Valvular disease of the Heart – Bronchitis’.  Obviously, the son’s certificate will need to be viewed next if I’m to solve this mystery.

The son, Edward STYLING’s death certificate has now been viewed but has only heightened the mystery – he ALSO died of ‘Valvular disease of the Heart – Bronchitis’!

Edward STILING’s death certificate 1873
Grace STILING’s death certificate 1873

What can I see?

  • Same date, place and cause of death.
  • Edward’s death was recorded in the register (#85) before Grace (#86).
  • The same informant (Ann Maunder) and registrar.

I find this incredibly strange…

A mother and son, 24 years apart in age, living in the same house (Ashley Cottage), die of the same disease on the same day!

And no one seemed to find this odd!

It’s possible there was some kind of epidemic in the area at the time but in what circumstances might death like this happen?

I guess it could be a coincidence but it’s all a bit suspicious to me…

Ashley Cottage (2009) via Google Street View
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ALLEN a day’s work

In a previous post (from 2010!), my next steps were to:

  • Find ALLEN birth entries in Harborne parish registers
  • Locate family members on 1841 census (and beyond)
  • Find marriage record in Halesowen parish registers
  • Determine Isaac and Ann’s birthplaces/dates

1) These are all the baptisms I could find in the Harborne parish register:

Elizabeth ALLEN baptism – Harborne 1822
Josiah ALLEN baptism – Harborne 1824
Isaac ALLEN baptism – Harborne 1826
Mary Ann ALLEN baptism – Harborne 1829

Note that despite living in Birmingham at the time, the family still returned to Harborne to baptise Isaac and Mary Ann in 1826 and 1829.

2)  The ALLENs were eventually located on the 1841 census in Churchill, Worcestershire near Kidderminster (there are quite a few Churchills I found out!).  The family lived ‘next door’ to the Rectory but I am still unable to determine the exact whereabouts so far. Isaac and daughter, Mary were still there in 1851 – his wife Ann had since died.

ALLENs on 1841 census, Churchill

 

ALLENs on 1851 census – Churchill

 

3)  The original Halesowen (Worcestershire) registers have not yet been seen by me but I was able to find a transcription here which gives the marriage date of Isaac ALLEN (bachelor) and Ann Phillis GEALEY (spinster) – both of the parish – as 26 August 1821.

St John's Church, Halesowen
St John’s Church, Halesowen c.1910

4.a)  The 1851 census gave Isaac’s birthplace as Moseley, Warwickshire, and sure enough an Isaac was born to Jeremiah & [Phebe] Allen in 1792 and baptised at the Moseley parish church – St Mary.

Baptism of Isaac ALLEN in 1792
Moseley Parish Church – originally Worcestershire, later Warwickshire

4.b)  I have not been able to view Halesowen baptisms c.1790 so have not yet located Ann Phillis Gealey’s baptism but believe that is where she may be found.

NEXT STEPS:

  • Find Ann Phillis Gealey’s baptism
  • Locate siblings on 1851 census & beyond
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Wonder No Maunder

Turns out the Ann Maunder who was present at Grace STILING’s death is not the family member I suspected and apparently no relation at all  (Read related post HERE).

c1903 map showing the proximity of Broad Lane to Ashley Cottage, Tiverton

For some reason, bad transcription I guess, I was unable to find Ann on the 1871 census through name & town alone.  Using the find my past address search function, I was able to finally locate Broad Lane on 1871 census and there she was – married to a James Maunder and nearly 50 years younger than the Ann Maunder I expected/hoped her to be.

Ann Maunder of Broad Lane on 1871 census

Ann’s maiden name was Bowden and she married James in 1851.

Ann Maunder/Bowden’s marriage record, 1851

At least I’ve cleared that up for myself.  In other news, I’ve ordered Grace’s son, Edward STILING’s death certificate. Will Ann Maunder appear as witness there too?

 

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Double Death

Recently, I saw in the indexes that Grace STILING and her bachelor son Edward died in the same year and the same month. It turns out that they’d actually even died on the same day!  A newspaper article stated that the duo died on the same day at ‘Ashleigh, Tiverton’ – ages given but no reason.

Styling/Stiling death notices in Western Times, 25 February 1873, p5

I knew from the 1871 census that mother and son were living together in Ashley Cottage so I was expecting to find mention of a local tragedy or even an inquest in the newspapers but… nope.  I ordered Grace’s death certificate (since she was my direct ancestor) and presumed I’d find some clue there but again… nope.

1873 death certificate of Grace Styling/Stiling

The death certificate records Grace’s cause of death as  ‘Valvular disease of the Heart – Bronchitis’.  Obviously, the son’s certificate will need to be viewed next if I’m to solve this mystery.
Note: The newspaper incorrectly stated that Grace was the widow of ‘E. Styling’ – it was in fact, J. Stiling (who died 10 years previously in 1862).

However, this death certificate did throw up a new puzzle for me to solve…

The death was registered 2 days after by Ann Maunder of Broad Lane, Tiverton who was present at the death.

Is this the same Ann Maunder who married wrestling star, William WREFORD after his first wife, Drusilla died? The relationship between the two women on ancestry is ‘wife of father-in-law of daughter’. Confused yet? I had to make up a mini tree to try and get it straight.

So Ann’s stepson was married to Grace’s daughter and therefore very likely they knew each other.  Perhaps these two women had a kind of friendship.  But why use her maiden name MAUNDER and not her married name of WREFORD?

Next Steps:

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Mayoral Connections

St Andrew’s Street, Tiverton (date unknown) – Harriotte STILING lived here in 1841 

Before Harriotte STILING married George WREFORD, she was living in Tiverton with Thomas & Sarah LEAMAN.  As she was recorded in the 1841 census as a female servant (‘F.S.’), I presumed she was the LEAMAN’s live-in maid.  This may still be true but somehow suspected there was more to this relationship.

(I can’t remember exactly how this suspicion came about but I recently rediscovered a note on my ancestry ‘TO DO’ list to investigate the relationship.)

Harriotte STILING on 1841 census living with Thomas & Sarah LEAMAN

It turns out that Mrs LEAMAN was actually Harriotte’s sister, Sarah STILING who married the widower, Thomas LEAMAN, Esquire (!) in 1840.

1840 marriage record of Sarah STILING & Thomas Leaman, Esquire

My reasons for accepting this:

  1. John Stiling, yeoman is recorded as father (same as Harriotte’s marriage certificate in 1845)
  2. Edward & Charlotte STILING are witnesses at the marriage – her siblings’ names
  3. A Sarah Stiling was born to John & Grace of West Barton in Tiverton, yeoman (West Barton was Stiling residence for 60 years)
Sarah Stiling’s baptism 1815 – Bishop’s Transcripts

Sadly, the marriage was very short – Thomas died only 3 years later.  I was unable to find the couple on the 1851 census but instead came across a mention in The Gentleman’s Magazine that Thomas died June 15, 1843 and had also been the mayor of Tiverton!

The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol 20, p171

Strangely, I have not yet found any other information about this man, other than a note in the next volume of The Gentleman’s Magazine that his sister’s son would change his name as heir of Thomas’ apparent fortune:

The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol 21, p193

I had learnt via the works of Jane Austen that women usually didn’t inherit from their husbands – but it still seemed a little harsh for this young bride.  Sarah managed to get back on her feet with a later marriage to Richard BRANSCOMBE in 1849 and was visiting her mother and brother on the night of the 1871 census (retired farmer’s wife). It’s always nice to find evidence that families stayed in each other’s lives.

Next Steps: 

  • Find out more about Mayor Thomas Leaman and his premature death
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