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

Grace Brock

I’ve had a lot of trouble finding a marriage between John STILING and Grace FREED and thought it was due to the lack of  Devon records on the IGI.  Thanks to the selection of Devon Parish records on findmypast, I find it’s possibly because it was mistranscribed or that Grace FREED is actually Grace BROCK:

I can imagine how Brock and Freed could look similar in faded, pre-regency period handwriting.
This was one of three John STILINGs that came up in the search but the only one with a Grace for a bride. 
Their oldest child was born in 1811 so the dates also fit.
Oh, how I wish I could see the original record right now.

Calendar of the Dead

Ancestry have now released the National Probate Calendar (1861-1941) which is almost like an index to wills.  A distant relative who has worked with me on my STILING line gave me the heads up and I checked it out:
STILING John 9 October.
The Will of John Stiling late of Tiverton in the County of Devon Yeoman deceased who died 3 February 1862 at Tiverton aforesaid was proved at Exeter by the oath of Edward Stiling of the Parish of Tiverton aforesaid Yeoman the Son one of the Executors.
Effects under £600.
[handwritten underneath] Resworn at the Stamp Office Feb 1865 under £450.

I believe this to be my John STILING for the following reasons:

  • he dropped off the census after 1861
  • wife declared a widow on the 1871 census
  • recorded living at Tiverton since 1811 (son Edward’s birth)
  • has son Edward STILING
  • farmer (yeoman) since 1841 census

This is the first time I had even come close to a death date for John STILING so I was very pleased indeed to see this entry.

I used ancestry to look further into the son mentioned, Edward STILING and found what appears to be his will too. The entry contained: formerly of Barton but late of Tiverton Farmer died 16 Feb 1873 at Tiverton – Elizabeth Daw, widow, his sister executrix.

Not only do I have a death date but also a daughter of John that I was unaware of until now.

Next Steps:

  • Obtain a copy of John & Edward STILING’s wills