Ancestor Profile

John Musgrove (c1833-1884)

This is an update to a blog post I published on 1 November 2015.

John Musgrove is my 2x great grandfather. He was born c1833 to parents Joseph Musgrove and Jane Dewhurst.

On 6 October 1855 John married Catherine Ainsworth at the Parish Church in Blackburn, Lancashire. They had at least 5 children:-

Susannah – born 2 August 1856 – died 1 February 1869
George – born 20 August 1857 – died 20 August 1857
Thomas Ainsworth – born 12 December 1860 – died 16 April 1928 (my great grandfather)
Joseph – born 13 April 1864 – died 3 June 1948
James – born 5 August 1868 – died 23 November 1868

I have found John on the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1881 census returns. His occupation varied over the years and he was described as a crofter, a carter and a general labourer. In the 1871 census Catherine is living at 18 Ellen Street, Over Darwen, Lancashire and I assume that John was away from home at the time of the census.

On the 2 December 1858 tragedy struck the family when John’s father, Joseph Musgrove, died as the result of a fall at home. Here’s a blog post about his death – Sunday’s Obituary: Joseph Musgrove

Ever since I started my interest in genealogy and researching my family history my mother has regularly told me of a story about a suicide by hanging somewhere in the past. So I was aware that at some point I may find the evidence.

Back in August 2015 I finally got round to ordering a copy of John Musgrove’s death certificate. And finally had confirmation of the family story – cause of death was “suicide by hanging – unsound mind”.

John Musgrove - Death Certificate

According to the death certificate John died at Railway Road, Clitheroe, Lancashire, on 17 September 1884. An inquest was held by the Deputy Coroner J C Anderton on the same date.

The family story was that John returned home one night and the door was locked. Whether he had been drinking, whether John and Catherine had argued, I guess I will never know. Catherine refused to let him in and John replied that he might as well kill himself. If the story is to be believed then Catherine threw him a rope.

Despite my best efforts in the Autumn of 2015 I wasn’t able to find any record of the inquest. I tried Clitheroe library and visited Blackburn library to search the newspaper archives. I also spoke with the Blackburn Coroners Office. There is a death notice in the local Blackburn paper but no report of the inquest. I discovered during this search that inquest records/reports were considered to be the property of the coroner and were most likely destroyed when the coroner retired.

Yesterday I went to Skipton library to search the newspaper archives of the Craven Herald in connection with another relative. As a long shot I decided to try the Craven Herald, a weekly paper, to see if there was any reference to John Musgrove back in 1884.

BINGO!!!

I was very fortunate to find two articles about John’s suicide. The first is from 20 September 1884 – three days after John’s death. The second is from 27 September 1884 and reports on the Coroner’s inquest.

Craven Herald – 20 September 1884

SUICIDE – At six o’clock on Wednesday morning John Musgrove, labourer, fifty two years of age, was found hanging on a gate in Railway Road, Clitheroe, quite dead. John O’Donnell, mason, found the body as he was going to his work, and immediately gave information to the police. Deceased, who lived in Water Street, Clitheroe, had been drinking hard for some weeks, and has had domestic trouble during the last few days.

Craven Herald – 27 September 1884

SUICIDE THROUGH DRINK – An inquest was held last week, before Mr J E Anderton, deputy coroner, touching the death of a labourer named John Musgrove, aged 52 years. Deceased was found hanging by his neck from a gate in a bye-road leading from Railway Road to the Gasworks, dead. A clothes line was fastened about his neck and tied to the top bar of the gate. His shoulders were resting against the lower part of the gate and his legs and the lower part of his body were on the ground. A man named John O’Donnell found the body as he was going to his work, and immediately gave information to the police. Deceased is known to have been drinking hard for some weeks, and has been in a low way during the last few years. “Deceased committed suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind” was the verdict of the jury.

Another lesson for would-be genealogists is to always be on the look out for new records being added to online resources. I check the newspaper archives on Find My Past regularly. I had previously been unable to find any mention of John’s death – until this morning as I’m writing this blog post. Now I’ve found an article from the Preston Herald of 20th September 1884!

Preston Herald - 20 September 1884.png

Preston Herald – 20 September 1884

SUICIDE BY HANGING – At six o’clock on Wednesday morning John Musgrove, labourer, aged 52 years, was found hanging by his neck from a gate in a bye-road leading from Railway Road to the Gasworks, dead. A clothes line was fastened about his neck and tied to the top bar of the gate. His shoulders were resting against the lower part of the gate and his legs and the lower part of his body were on the ground. A man named John O’Donnell found the body as he was going to his work, and immediately gave information to the police. Deceased is known to have been drinking hard for some weeks, and has been in a low way during the last few years. The inquest was held on Wednesday afternoon, before Mr J E Anderton, deputy coroner for the district. Joseph Musgrove, son of the deceased, identified the body as that of his father. John O’Donnell deposed to the finding of the body by him at six o’clock that morning in the position and place described above. PC Halliday said that from information he received he proceeded to the place mentioned by the last witness, and there found the body of John Musgrove. He cut the cord and conveyed him home. PC Benson said that he saw the deceased alive on Tuesday at twelve at noon. Musgrove accosted him in King Street, and said that he had been to the police office to try to get locked up, but there was no one in. Witness told him to go home and go to bed and he would feel better. He (deceased) was drunk at the time. The verdict of the jury was that deceased committed suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind.

So there we have it. A bit more of the picture to a very desperate end to John’s life has now been painted. It appears that John had possibly been depressed for some years and couldn’t go on any longer.

I’m left wondering what it must have been like for John in those final days and hours.  What must Catherine have gone through before and after wards – perhaps not understanding what was happening to her husband as he descended into despair. They had both shared the grief of losing three of their five children – one aged 12 and two as babies. John’s father had died in a tragic accident – although this was 26 years earlier maybe that trauma stuck with John, who knows.

Catherine died three years and two days later on 19 September 1887.

I feel quite sad now.

Sarah Tattersall (1835-1880)

Sarah Tattersall is my 2x great grandmother. She married James Buckley on 26 April 1857 at the Parish Church of Bingley in West Yorkshire. The marriage certificate shows that Sarah was of “full age” and was a spinster. Unfortunately there is no father’s name given on the certificate.

The lack of her father’s name strongly suggests that Sarah was illegitimate. Until recently I hadn’t attempted any meaningful research on Sarah but decided it was time to see what I could find.

I haven’t been able to identify her yet on either the 1841 or 1851 census returns. I have her on the 1861 and 1871 returns married to James and with various children:-

Elizabeth – born 1857
Joseph – born 1859
Emma – born 1863 (my great grandmother)
Prince – born 1865
Samuel – born 1869

Sarah died on 24 January 1880 from heart disease and was buried on 28 January 1880 at Utley Cemetery, Keighley, West Yorkshire. Here’s a photograph of her headstone.

DSCF0396.JPG

According to the census returns Sarah was born sometime around 1835 – 1837 in Keighley. Her death certificate shows her age as 43, suggesting a birth year about 1837.

I had no luck searching the civil registration birth records so had to hope there would be something available from parish records on Ancestry, Find My Past or Family Search.

Eventually I found something in the England & Wales Non-Conformist birth and baptism records (see the image below).

Sarah Tattersall birth.png

The transcript is as follows:-

Sarah Tattersall Daughter of Maryann Tattersall was born at Steeton in the Parish of Kildwick in the County of York, October the twelfth – one thousand eight hundred and thirty four.

The father of this child is Ismael Yewdal.

Dr William Greenwood Mitchell, Hannah Dale and Sarah Cowling present.

Witnesses Susannah Tattersall, Martha Tattersall and Ruth Tattersall.

Registered by Abraham Nichols, Minister April 22nd 1835.

So perhaps this could be the breakthrough I’ve been looking for.

I can only guess at what happened between Maryann (Tattersall) and Ismael and why they didn’t go on to get married.

There is a marriage transcript for Ishmael Yewdale to Emma Fowlds (or Foulds) on 19 January 1836 in Keighley – some fifteen months after the birth of Sarah.

I found the following records in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns on Find My Past.

1841
Ishmael Youdle born 1812 Yorkshire
Emma Youdle born 1815 Yorkshire
Thomas Youdle born 1839 Yorkshire

1851
Ishmael Yudal born 1813 Keighley
Emma Yudal born 1816 Keighley
Thomas Yudal born 1838 Keighley
John Yudal born 1841 Keighley
Ann Yudal born 1844 Keighley
Agnes Yudal born 1846 Keighley

1861
Ishmael Gundal born 1813 Keighley
Emma Gundal born 1816 Keighley
John Gundal born 1842 Keighley
Ann Gundal born 1845 Keighley
Agnes Gundal born 1846 Keighley

The census entry for 1861 has been transcribed incorrectly. I checked the original image and it is definitely Yewdal – although I know that is what I’m looking for. I can see why the transcriber would have settled on Gundal. I’ve sent a transcription amendment to Find My Past.

I guess then that Ismael is therefore my 3x great grandfather. I am confident that I can fill in one of the “blanks” in my tree. The children in the census returns will be half siblings of Sarah Tattersall (my 2x great grandmother) and that’s a whole new thread to follow.

There is a baptism record for Ismael Udale – 29 December 1811 in Keighley. So that fits with the previous information. His parents are shown as Joseph Udale and Agnes Sharp. Interestingly there is also an entry for maternal grandfather’s name, which is William Sharp.

I have located a death registration for Ishmael Yudle in Q4 1867 in Keighley.

The name Yewdal clearly has the potential for various different spellings and transcriptions but I am confident that the various records mentioned above all relate to the same person.

Ancestor Profile – Benjamin Gawthrop (1869-1928)

Benjamin Gawthrop is my 1st cousin 3x removed.  Our common ancestors are my 3x great grandparents Martin Gawthrop and Ann Kighley.  Benjamin is the son of Benjamin Gawthrop and Elizabeth Eastwood.  He is also the cousin of John Gawthrop who I have written about here and here.

Benjamin was born on 10 August 1869 at Trawden in Lancashire.  I have found him on the census returns for 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901.

In 1891 Benjamin is living at 3 Heath Street, Burnley, Lancashire and is described as a ‘theological student’.  By 1901 he is a ‘Baptist Minister” and living at 91 Cardigan Terrace, Heaton, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Benjamin married Jane Hargreaves in Burnley sometime in Q2 1895.  They had four children

• Helen May – b. 1896

• Benjamin Clifford – b. 1899

• Annie – b. 1900 (and died as a baby)

• Robert Martin – b. 1908

On 16 April 1908 Benjamin, Jane and their three children left England.  They sailed from London on the SS Orontes bound for Sydney, Australia.

Sadly Jane died after only six years in Australia.

Benjamin later married Constance Lillian Butler on 7 November 1916 in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.  At some point around 1918 Benjamin and Constance returned to England but I have not been able to establish exactly when this was.  They had one son – John Richard – born 1920 in Sabden (near Burnley), Lancashire.

All three of them went back to Australia on 23 June 1927 sailing from London on the SS Barrabool to Sydney.  Here’s the extract from the ship’s passenger list.

It was in Australia that Benjamin had much influence and made a big impact in the communities he served.

The Baptist Theological College of New South Wales was established in 1916 and Benjamin was a founding member of the faculty when the college opened.  Here’s a link to The Baptist Recorder from July 2006 commemorating the 90th anniversary of the college’s opening.  There is a brief biography about Benjamin which reads as follows:-

Gawthrop was a scholarly fellow and became the College’s first lecturer in Church History.

He came from Heaton Road church at Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, where he had been the minister from 1894.  When he arrived there the membership was 60 and when he left 14 years later the number had risen to 388.  It had been his first and only English church to that time.  Born at Colne, Lancashire, and educated at Rawdon College.

He came to Australia to take the pulpit of the Petersham Church where he began in June 1908 and remained until April 1918 when he returned to England.  He was a strong church man and wrote and preached regularly on the importance of the church, which he firmly believed was  the direct creation of Christ.  He considered that being a Christian meant being a member of the church.  Strongly evangelical, he shared Waldock’s conviction that being called to be a preacher of the Gospel was the highest honour Christ could bestow on any man.

Both Benjamin and John Gawthrop seem to have done great work in their respective faiths.  I am proud to have them as ancestors.

Ancestor Profile – Robert Aubrey Spink (1883-1923) – part 2

Last week I told you about the accident that killed Robert Aubrey Spink.  This is the second newspaper article about the accident and covers the Coroners Inquest held on 20th April 1923.

“HEAD-ON” COLLISION OF MOTOR-CYCLISTS

WAS THE MISHAP CAUSED BY CHANGING GEAR?

A second death has occurred as the result of the collision between two motor-cyclists on Wednesday evening on the Leeds and Harrogate road between Moortown and Alwoodley.

It is believed that the two motor-cyclists collided “head-on”.  The medical evidence at the inquest, which was opened today, suggests that their heads crashed together with such force as to cause the injuries from which they died.

The dead men were.

Robert Aubrey Spink (40) 22, Ash Road, Headingley, postal telegraph clerk, a well known member of the Moortown Golf Club.

Harry Greenwood (19), 16 Union Terrace, Chapel Allerton, market gardener.

The girl who was riding on the carrier of the latter’s machine, Miss Peggy Stannard, a tailoress, of 26 Harehills Road, Leeds,, is progressing favourably in Leeds Infirmary.

The inquest was opened by the Leeds City Coroner today, and was adjourned for a week.

Evidence of identification was given by Miss Mary Jane Spink (sister) and by Clifford Greenwood (brother).

Miss Spink said her brother was “one of the most careful riders on road.” and never lost his head.  He went out to play golf about 5 o’clock, and when he did not come back at 7.30, as expected, she thought something had happened, for his movements were as regular as clockwork.  Her brother was a temperate man, and his hearing and eyesight were good.

Mr Greenwood said his brother had ridden for 18 months or two years, and was a cool, collected driver.  He was accustomed to carrying a person on the pillion, and knew the difference in dealing with a machine in those circumstances.  Witnesses added that his brother was a sober and healthy man, and had had no previous accident, except that he had once run over a dog.

A WITNESS’S THEORY

Leonard Bexon, of 128 Street Lane, Leeds, paper merchant’s assistant, said he had ridden Greenwood’s machine during the last month, and it was in perfect order and was easy to drive.

“It is quite likely that he would be changing gears at the time of the accident,” added the witness.

The Coroner: That may be the whole cause of the accident.

Witness said it would necessary to take one hand off the handlebar to change gear, but the change was easy.  On the other hand Spink’s golf clubs, which he was carrying on his back, might have swung round and interfered with his steering.

Dr Birtwistle said that both men had fractured skulls and severe injuries to the brain.  It appeared as if the men’s heads had crashed against each other.  An operation was performed on Greenwood.

So as far as I can tell no actual blame was attached to either Robert Aubrey Spink or to Harry Greenwood.  I wasn’t able to find a newspaper report giving the Coroner’s final verdict but I am pretty sure that it would be accidental death.

Ancestor Profile – Robert Aubrey Spink (1883-1923) – part 1

Robert Aubrey Spink is my 1st cousin 3x removed.  I mentioned him briefly in a Tombstone Tuesday post.  He was born about 1883 and died on 18th April 1923.  His gravestone says that he was “accidentally killed”.  So I just had to find out about the accident, what happened to Robert and the cause of his death.

I knew from the 1911 census that he was living in Leeds at the time.  I guessed that the local newspapers would have covered the story.  There is a really good family and local history department at Leeds Central Library so that was my starting point.  The newspaper archives for the period are on microfilm and it didn’t take long to find two stories about the fatal accident in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Here is the first article from the Yorkshire Evening Post on 19th April 1923.

LEEDS MOTOR-CYCLISTS COLLIDE HEAD-ON

HEADINGLEY MAN KILLED

YOUTH AND GIRL HURT IN CRASH AT DUSK

A fatal collision between two motor-cyclists took place on the Harrogate Road between Moortown and Alwoodley last night.

It appears that Mr Robert Aubrey Spink (40), of 22 Ash Road, Headingley, was cycling towards Leeds when he collided “head-on” with Mr Harry Greenwood (19) of 15 Union Terrace, Chapel Allerton, who was travelling in the opposite direction with Miss Peggy Stannard (18), a tailoress, of 26 Harehills Road, Leeds, as a passenger on the carrier.

All three were thrown violently into the road, and it was realised at once that the two riders were seriously injured.  All were quickly taken to the Leeds General Infirmary, where Mr Spink, who had received severe injuries, died soon after admission.

Mr Greenwood is suffering from a fracture of the base of the skull, and his condition is serious.

He was still conscious this morning, but is stated to be going on as well as can be expected.

How the two riders happened to collide is not yet explained.

MISS STANNARD’S STORY

Miss Stannard is suffering with shock and bruises.

Seen by a representative of “The Yorkshire Evening Post” today, Miss Stannard, who looked well in spite of the shaking she received when the impact occurred, was unable to say how the accident happened.

“I was on the carrier,” she said, “and we were going towards Harewood on our proper side of the road, and not, so far as I know, at an excessive speed.”

“I did not see the other cyclist, and I do not know what happened except that I was thrown violently from my seat on the carrier, and found myself here.”

“It was daylight when the collision occurred, but I do not know exactly what time it was, though it was near lighting up time.”

Miss Stannard is likely to be about again in a day or two.

NO EYE-WITNESSES

Mr Greenwood is a member of a family which is well known in the Chapel Allerton neighbourhood.  He is a son of Mr James Greenwood, an old Leeds professional cricketer, and is following the occupation of market gardener with a view to taking up farming later.

At the time of the accident he was going to a bungalow rented by his father a few miles out in the country.  The young people were visiting the bungalow with some small articles, and were to return later in the evening.

There appear to have been no actual witnesses of the accident.

It seems that Mr Spink had been having a round of golf at Moortown golf links, and was on his way home, carrying his clubs slung across his shoulder.

It is possible that the clubs may have become entangled with his handlebars and caused him to swerve.

Dr Jenkins, with a friend, was also returning from the golf links.  The doctor reached the spot a few minutes after the smash, and attended to the victims of the smash pending the arrival of the ambulance.

Mr Spink was employed at the GPO, Leeds.  He was a man of much promise and of considerable intellectual attainment.

Mr Spink had the reputation of being a very careful driver.

An inquest will be held tomorrow by the Leeds Coroner (Mr W H Clarke), and the funeral will take place on Saturday afternoon.

This was clearly a very tragic accident – but who, if anyone was to blame?

I will post the second newspaper article about the inquest next week.

Catherine Ainsworth (1837-1887) – Happy Birthday

Catherine Ainsworth is my 2 x great grandmother and she was born on this day (13th January) in 1837. She comes from a small market town in Lancashire called Darwen which is near to it’s larger neighbour Blackburn.

My first record of Catherine is in the 1841 UK census when she is living with her parents Joseph Ainsworth and Jane Ainsworth (nee Cottam). Also recorded in the census are her siblings

Mary – born about 1826

Thomas – born about 1829

Betty – born about 1831

Jas (James) – born about 1835

Ana (Hannah) – born about 1839

Joseph – born about 1841

Ten years later and Catherine is still living with her parents at 19 Bolton Street, Over Darwen, Blackburn. By this time another sister has been born – Sarah Jane in 1843. Catherine is working as a “power loom weaver”.

Sometime during the next four years Catherine met John Musgrove and they married on 6th October 1855 at the Parish Church of Blackburn. The witnesses at the marriage were Robert Day and Mary Anne Day – I have no information about these people and assume that they were friends.

In the 1861 UK census Catherine and John are living at an address in Moor Lane, Clitheroe, Lancashire. Also recorded in the census are two children

Susannah – born about 1857

Thomas – born about 1861

Another child, George, was born and died on 2oth August 1857.

The census shows John working as a “carter” and Catherine working as a “power loom cotton weaver”.

The 1871 UK census is a bit of a mystery for me. First of all the census entry records her name as Catherina Mosgrove and her occupation as “cotton weaver”. She is living at 18 Ellen Street, Over Darwen. Also with her are two sons Thomas (10) and Joseph (6). Thomas is shown as a “cotton weaver” and Joseph as a “scholar”. The one other person at the address is Joseph Ainsworth (66) – this is Catherine’s father and he is a widower.

Secondly I haven’t been able to find any trace of John Musgrove (Catherine’s husband).

I also know that John and Catherine had another son, James, who was born on 5th August 1868 and died on 23th November the same year.

Sometime during the next ten years the family moved back to Clitheroe and the 1881 UK census shows them living at 42 Water Street, Clitheroe. The household consists of John, Catherine and their son Joseph (16). There are also two boarders – John Reid and Hannah Reid. It isn’t clear to me yet whether these two people are relatives or not.

Catherine died on 19th September 1887 and her death is registered in the Clitheroe district.

Florrie Musgrove – Happy Birthday

Florrie Musgrove is my maternal grandmother – or “nannie” as she was always known – and today is her birthday.  She was born on 6 January 1897 at Horton in Ribblesdale, Yorkshire.

Florrie was the third child of Joseph Musgrove and Elizabeth Ann Musgrove (nee Turner).  She had nine siblings

John Robert Turner Musgrove (born c1892)

Thomas Musgrove (born c1894)

Mary Elizabeth Musgrove (born 1898)

James Musgrove (born 1901)

Joseph Musgrove (1903-1904)

Leah Musgrove (born c1905)

Isabel Musgrove (born c1906)

Alice Musgrove (born 1910)

Joseph Musgrove (born 1912)

When Florrie was born the family lived at Foredale Cottages just outside Horton in Ribblesdale.  These cottages were built for the workers of the local limestone quarry which is where Florrie’s dad worked.  Here’s a link to more information about the cottages.

Foredale Cottages

Foredale Cottages and Quarry

I mentioned the problems I had finding Florrie’s birth certificate when I talked about St. Catherine’s House, this is because it was registered under Florrie Mosgrove.

By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved to Clitheroe in Lancashire and were living at 50 Taylor Street.  Joseph is described as a limestone quarryman and had presumably moved to Clitheroe to find work in the local quarries.

In the 1911 census the family were living at 119 Lowergate, Clitheroe.  By now Florrie is 14 years old and she is working as a “ring spinner” in a cotton mill.

1911 Census

Some time during the next six years Florrie met and fell in love with Fred Musgrove, a local chap from Clitheroe.  They were married on 16 September 1917 at the United Methodist Church, Moor Lane Clitheroe.

Their marriage certificate also threw up another anomaly.  The father’s names have been written on the wrong lines – so Florries father is shown as Thomas instead of Joseph.  Yet another example and reminder of the importance of always checking and checking again the information from official records.

Witnesses at the wedding were Florrie’s brother John Robert Musgrove and Fred’s sister Ellen Halstead.

Over the next 18 years Florrie and Fred had eight children

Kathleen Musgrove (born 1918)

Thomas Musgrove (born 1920)

Joseph Harry Musgrove (born 1922)

Hazel Musgrove (born 1925)

Elizabeth Musgrove (born 1927)

Stowell Musgrove (born 1929)

Alice Musgrove (born 1930) – my mother

Mary Musgrove (born 1935)

My mum describes Florrie and Fred as very loving parents.  Both were hard working and fiercely loyal to their children.  Unfortunately Florrie suffered from bronchial asthma for many years so I am quite sure life must have been really hard.

Florrie died on 18 May 1971 at the age of 74 and is buried at Clitheroe Cemetery.