Sunday’s Obituary – John Musgrove (c1833-1884)

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
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 this year I finally got round to ordering a copy of John Musgrove’s death certificate. And now I have the 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 Anderson 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 I have not been able to find any record of the inquest. I have tried Clitheroe library and been to Blackburn library to search the newspaper archives. I’ve also spoken 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.

So sadly it seems I will never learn any more about the tragic events of Wednesday 17 September 1884.

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.