Jane Dewhurst

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.

Sunday’s Obituary – Joseph Musgrove (c1791-1858)

Joseph Musgrove is my 3x great grandfather.  He was born in Kendal, Westmorland about 1791.  Joseph married Jane Dewhurst on 8 April 1833 in Blackburn, Lancashire.

I haven’t been able to find him on the 1841 census so far.  I have found Jane and their son John living with Jane’s father Lawrence Dewhurst.

On the 1851 census Joseph and Jane are living at Barrow Row, Wiswell, Lancashire (about 3 miles south of Clitheroe) and Joseph is working as a blacksmith.

I have recently found the following article from the Preston Chronicle of Saturday 11 December 1858.  Not so much an obituary – more an inquest report.

Preston Chronicle - Saturday 11 December 1858

Preston Chronicle – Saturday 11 December 1858

THE FATAL EFFECTS OF DRINK AT BILLINGTON – On Monday last, an inquest was held at the “Judge Walmsley” public-house, Billington, on the body of a blacksmith, named Joseph Musgrove.  Joseph carried on business in Billington, and was, like many men of iron, rather too fond of his beer.  On Thursday week, however, he took his beer for the last time, for within half an hour of leaving the “Judge Walmsley” he was a corpse.  So soon as he reached home, he sat down in a chair, and partook of some supper which his wife had prepared for him.  Whilst he was eating his evening meal, his wife went out, was absent between ten and twenty minutes, and then returned.  Not seeing her Joseph, however, in the chair where she had left him, she went up stairs to ascertain if he had gone to bed.  She felt on the top of the bed clothes, got hold of his trousers, but could not find him.  She then went for a light, determining to see what had become of him.  On reaching the bed-room a second time, she saw him laid partly on the floor and partly on a box.  His head was under one side of the bedstead.  On trying to lift him up she found that he was quite dead.  It is supposed that in getting into bed, he slipped, and falling on the floor, dislocated his neck.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with these facts, namely, one of “Accidental death”.

When he died Joseph was about 67 years old.

I feel quite sad now knowing the circumstances of his death.  Having been out for a drink after what was presumably a hard day in the blacksmith forge Joseph’s life ends so tragically.

Judge Walmsley Public House

Judge Walmsley Public House