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

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?

 

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

Blind Leading the Blind

At the top of my ancestry ‘To Do’ list for many years now has been ‘Find out who Blind Wreford is’.

Today I’ve finally found out…

I’m not even sure where I first heard of Blind Wreford but I’ve kept an eye out for any mention of him.  Finally I found mention of him in obituary for another old wrestler, John Bolt.

 

He was full of anecdotes of “Blind Wreford,” a wealthy farmer of Cheriton, whodied in 1835 at a very advanced age, and who, notwithstanding his blindness, was a renowned wrestler, often followed the hounds without sustaining severe falls, and was an excellent judge of the weight and general qualities of cattle.”

 

According to this, he had been totally blind since he was 8. “He was a strongly limbed, well grown and powerful man, about 5 feet 10 in. in height, and was usually led into the ring by a boy, as a guide, and indulged with the privilege of taking hold of his antagonist by the collar…”

I’m really surprised that it’s been so hard to find mention of this guy as he really does seem quite extraordinary.

The LEMMENS Tree

 

The LEMMENS children

A while back, my mother emailed the above photo of her grandfather, Eduard LEMMENS with his siblings.   The only ones identified at the time were Eduard (left) and his brother, Michel (right) whose records I had been unable to locate – I didn’t even have names of the sisters but at least the photograph was evidence that there were at least five.

It turns out that Eduard was in fact one of thirteen children born to Frederic Jean LEMMENS & Celine Marie VAN WOUW (blogged about previously) but only these seven had made it to adulthood.

Frederic Jean LEMMENS & Celine VAN WOUW (with possibly youngest daughter, Irma)

A search for Frederic in the Dutch archives website (openarch.nl) led me to all the records in which he was listed as father.

one of the search result pages on openarch.nl for Frederic Lemmens

There seems to be a wealth of information available online for those seeking their Dutch ancestors, albeit a little tricky to navigate for the non-Dutch speaking users (like me).  I was finally able to locate a birth record for brother Michel. His name had been spelled Micheal in the records which seemed to be the reason it was difficult to find him (unlike other ‘more fuzzy’ search engines I’ve used).  All their children’s birth records were there (all born in Vlessingen, Zeeland), as well as death records for the five who died as infants/children.  I have yet to translate these death records as I want to make a death counterpart to my ‘Super-Duper-Handy-Dandy Dutch Birth Record Translation Helper’ and am currently learning some basic Dutch to help me research this particular branch.

However, with this information I was able to find the names and birthdates of the surviving children and guess who is who in the photograph. Irma and Leontine were the easiest being the youngest but I have reservations about the older girls as I can only guess at their ages (sorry, ladies).  The woman I labelled as Valentine looked the oldest to me, and ‘possible Anna’ looked younger than ‘possible Esperance’ but of course, I could be wrong.  I am in the process of trying to date the photograph and glean as much information as I can from the image (ie. why the photo album on the table?).

 

Next Steps:

  • Date the photograph
  • Translate death records
  • Seek more photographs to help correctly identify each individual