Cowling Hill Baptist Chapel

Sunday’s Obituary – Jane Dawson (nee Emmott) 1859-1949

Jane Emmott married Thomas Dawson, my 1st cousin 4x removed, on 11 March 1877 in Cowling, West Yorkshire. Thomas is a son of John Dawson and Elizabeth Benson. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ann Watson, my 4x great grandparents.

Thomas and Jane had three sons:-

Albert Frederick (b 1 February 1883)
James Willie (b 17 May 1885)
Watson Emmett (b 24 Jun 1887)

Below is the obituary for Jane Dawson from the Barnoldswick & Earby Times of 11 February 1949. Barnoldswick & Earby Times - 11 February 1949.png

Oldest Resident

With the passing of Mrs Jane Dawson, at Beckfoot, Cowling, in her 91st year, Cowling has lost its oldest resident, and a personality with an interesting and remarkable record. The widow of the late Mr Thomas Dawson, a well known farmer in his day, at Cowlaughton and Well Head Farms, Cowling, Mrs Dawson was Jane Emmott prior to her marriage, and is the last of the James Emmott family of Beckfoot, Cowling. She was a descendant of the original Emmott family, whose connection with Emmott Hall, Laneshaw Bridge, near Colne, dates back to 1620, a family whose association with Cowling Baptist Chapel can be traced to the Trustees’ records of that church as far back as 1753. Mrs Dawson was born at Beckfoot, Cowling, and although she had for the past 14 years resided with her second son, Mr James W Dawson, in business as a bandage manufacturer, at Morecambe, she often expressed the wish in her latter years to spend her last days at Beckfoot. This was made possible by her son, who repaired and made habitable a cottage at Beckfoot where his mother was born, and during recent months Mrs Dawson has quietly and happily lived to the end of her days. She was one of a family of 12 children, and could tell stirring tales of olden days, and perhaps no one had more vivid recollections and a more definite link with the ancient past that Mrs Dawson. The story she was most fond of relating was that of an old lady who resided in the adjoining cottage at Beckfoot when she (Mrs Dawson) was only ten years of age. The old lady, known as “Owd Nan” (Hannah Hargreaves), would often recount her experiences as one of the first weavers at the Ickornshaw Mill, Cowling, in 1791, and almost to the times of her death Mrs Dawson would describe “Owd Nan”, her mode of life, and re-narrate with interesting detail those stories of the beginning of the weaving industry at Ickornshaw Mill. Mrs Dawson attributed her long, healthy life to “plenty of porridge when young, and lots of hard work.” Her husband pre-deceased her 22 years ago. The funeral took place on Saturday at Cowling Hill Baptist Chapel, conducted by the Rev. Joffre R Smith, who referred to Mrs Dawson’s long and interesting life, and paid tribute to her son’s care and kindness to her during her latter years.

The obituary refers to Ickornshaw Mill – and the Dawson family has a long association with the mill. This goes back to my 4x great grandfather John Dawson who installed the first water wheel at the mill – Amanuensis Monday – John Dawson (1768-1832)

Madness Monday – High Royds

Madness Monday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Madness Monday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor who either suffered some form of mental illness or an ancestor who might be hard to locate and drives you mad.

Although it’s not Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 in the UK until May I decided to add a blog post to the theme Madness Monday.

This was prompted by some of the results of searching the 1939 Register available on Find My Past.

I was surprised, or more truthfully saddened, to discover that I had three relatives in the West Riding Mental Hospital in Aireborough, West Yorkshire on 29 September 1939 – the date that the 1939 Register was completed.

Anyone local to Leeds and surrounding areas will know the place as High Royds or simply Menston (the area where the hospital was located) . Here’s a link to a website about High Royds Hospital  written in the early 1970’s by F E Rogers (a former employee at the hospital).

My three relatives who were patients at the time are:-

Marion Dawson (b 28 March 1905). She is my 2nd cousin 2x removed and her parents were John Dawson and Elizabeth Smith. Our common ancestors are Thomas Dawson and Margaret Snowden – my 3x great grandparents. I have no other information about Marion – she was only 5 at the time of the 1911 census – the only other available document before 1939 in which she was recorded.

I don’t know when she was admitted to hospital but at some point she was discharged from High Royds and lived until the age of 80 when she died in February 1986.

Selina Dawson (b 27 August 1877). She is my 1st cousin 2x removed and her parents were Martin Dawson and Margaret Spencer. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ellen Gawthrop – my 2x great grandparents. I found Selina in all the census returns from 1881 to 1911. She lived in a small geographical area between Keighley and Skipton throughout all those years – Steeton with Eastburn, Sutton in Craven and Glusburn.

In 1891 she worked as a “worsted spinner”; in 1901 she was described as “house keeper for father”; and in 1911 she was a “confectioner”.

I don’t know when Selina was admitted to High Royds. However her death is recorded in the September quarter of 1941 and registered in the Wharfedale district. This is the same registration district as Menston – so I suspect that Selina died in High Royds at the age of 64.

Watson Emmott Dawson (b 24 Jun 1887). He is my 2nd cousin 3x removed and his parents were Thomas Dawson and Jane Emmott. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ann Watson – my 4x great grandparents. I have Watson in the 1891 to 1911 census returns living in Cowling, West Yorkshire all these years. In 1901 Watson is described as an “errand boy” and in 1911 as “farmers son working on farm”.

As with Marion and Selina I don’t know when Watson was admitted to High Royds. I know that he died on 14 October 1944 and his death at the age of 57 is registered in the Wharfedale district – so I believe that he died in High Royds. Watson is buried at the Cowling Hill Baptist Chapel.

It is possible that Selina and Watson were discharged sometime after 1939 and readmitted to High Royds or it is equally possible that they both spent a considerable period of time as patients and died without ever being released. Either way not a very happy end to their lives.

Marion, Selina and Watson are not my only relatives to find themselves in a “mental hospital” or asylum. However I do wonder about the extent of their illness and if they knew they were all there together in 1939.