John Dawson

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.

Military Monday – Walter Dawson (1883-1942)

Walter Dawson is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. I recently discovered him and his military record as a result of a contact through my blog with a newly found relative in New Zealand.

Walter was born in 1883 to parents Joseph Dawson and Alice Hartley in Marsden, Lancashire. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ann Watson – my 4x great grandparents.

On 9 December 1898 Walter emigrated with his aunt and uncle, Alice Dodgeon (nee Dawson) and Frederick William Dodgeon. They were heading for Sydney, Australia. At some point after arriving in Australia they all moved to New Zealand.

According to the military records Walter enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 19 June 1917 for the duration of the war. His service reckons from 26 July 1917 and he was finally discharged on 18 June 1819 having spent a total of 1 year and 328 days in service and reaching the rank of lance corporal. Walter’s regimental number was 3/3732.

At the time he enlisted he was living with his aunt and uncle at 34 Coyle Street, Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand. His occupation was a clerk.

Walter served with the New Zealand Medical Corps and spent the first part of his service (118 days) in New Zealand. He was then posted overseas on 21 November 1917. He disembarked in Liverpool, England on 8 January 1918.

He was appointed lance corporal on 15 August 1918.

Walter returned to New Zealand after the war and married May Parslow in 1925. As far as I know they had one son – Peter. Following Walter’s death in 1942 I think May and Peter  came to live in the UK.

fileStream-3 (dragged)

Tombstone Tuesday – Thomas and Alice Thompson

This gravestone is at Holy Trinity church in Cowling, West Yorkshire.

Buried here are Thomas Thompson, his wife Alice (nee Dawson) and their daughter Mary Ellen.

Alice Dawson is my 2nd cousin 3x removed – our common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson. She was born on 18 November 1848 to parents James Wright Dawson and Mary Thompson.

Alice married Thomas Thompson sometime in Q4 of 1870. They had at least five children:-

• Mary Ellen – c1872

• James – c1880

• Sarah Lizzie – c1884

• William – c1886

• John David – c1888

Thomas worked as a warp dresser most of his life.

Alice passed away on 9 October 1926 at the age of 77. Thomas survived for almost another nine years until he died at the age of 85 on 8 May 1935. Their daughter Mary Ellen didn’t marry and she passed away on 12 November 1959 aged 88.

Tombstone Tuesday – James and Dinah Harker

This headstone is at the grave of James Harker and his wife Dinah (Dawson) at Holy Trinity church, Cowling, West Yorkshire.

Dinah is my 2nd cousin 3x removed – our common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson.  Dinah was born in Cowling on 5 May 1853 to parents James Wright Dawson and Mary Thompson.

Sometime in Q3 of 1874 Dinah married James Harker, also from Cowling.  I haven’t done any research on James so at the moment I can’t tell you who is parents are.

James and Dinah had at least two children – Martha (c 1878) and Edith (c1880).

Between 1881 and 1911 James worked as warp loomer, presumably in one of local mills.  Dinah worked as a weaver until in the 1901 census she is described as ‘confectioner, own account’.  In 1911 her occupation is ‘confectioner sweets’.  I have this image of Dinah running her own sweet shop – you know the sort I mean, with large jars of sweets of all different kinds.

In 1911 the family was living at 121 Keighley Road, Cowling (see photograph below).  I wonder if Dinah was running her confectionery business from this address.

James died on 28 July 1924 at the age of 73 and Dinah passed away on 9 September 1932 aged 79.

Tombstone Tuesday – Thomas & Ann Redman

This gravestone is at Holy Trinity church in Cowling, West Yorkshire. It marks the resting place of Thomas Redman and his wife Ann (nee Dawson).

Ann is my 1st cousin 4 x removed. Our common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson. She was born about 1838 to parents Watson Dawson and Mary Hopkinson.

Sometime in the March quarter of 1860 Ann married Thomas Redman, also of Cowling. I haven’t done any research on Thomas so I have no information about his parents or earlier ancestors.

As far as I have been able to establish so far Thomas and Ann had one son, James, born about 1860.

Thomas worked as a cotton weaver all his life.

Ann died 107 years ago today on 8 May 1905 and was buried four days later. Thomas survived for almost six more years until his death on 29 April 1911.

Tombstone Tuesday – Thomas, Jane & Watson Emmott Dawson

I took this photograph on a recent visit to the Cowling Hill Baptist chapel graveyard in Cowling, West Yorkshire.

The grave is the resting place of Thomas Dawson (my 1st cousin 4x removed), his wife Jane (nee Emmott) and their son Watson Emmott Dawson.

Thomas was born in Cowling in 1851 to parents John Dawson and Elizabeth Benson. The census returns show that Thomas worked as a warp dresser, a worsted weaving overlooker and also an engine tenter in a local factory. In 1911 he was working as a farmer.

Sometime in Q1 of 1877 Thomas married Jane Emmott, also from Cowling. I haven’t done any research on Jane yet so have no information about her family. Although the Emmott family name has a long tradition in and around Cowling.

Thomas and Jane had at least three children:-

• Albert Frederick – born 8 February 1883

• James Willie – born 17 May 1885

• Watson Emmott – born 24 June 1887

If you follow the link above you will see that I wrote about Watson Emmott in a recent Military Monday post.

Thomas died on 18 January 1926 at the age of 74 and Jane died aged 90 on 2 February 1949. In between their deaths Watson Emmott passed away at the age of 57 on 14 October 1944.

Military Monday – William Dawson (1880-1939)

William Dawson is my great grandfather’s cousin. Our common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson.  He was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire on 9 October 1880 to parents Matthew Dawson and Ann Brigg.

William married Lucilla Whitaker on 29 February 1912. They had two children

• Matthew – born 19 September 1912

• Mary – born 9 March 1914

On 28 May 1918 William enlisted in Halifax at the age of 37 years 213 days. He was assigned to the 6th West Riding Regiment. At the time of his enlistment he was working as a ‘warp dresser’. His service number was 52089.

According to his service papers on www.ancestry.co.uk William left for France on 12 October 1918. He returned to England less than six weeks later on 20 November 1918 having received ‘gun shot wounds’ to both his thighs.

William was finally discharged on 6 May 1919 under King’s Regulation 392 (xvi) being no longer physically fit for war service.

The extract below indicates the degree of William’s disablement – and I think it says 38%. There are also some details of his pension and it looks like he was awarded £0.8s.3d per week from 7 May 1919 to be reviewed after 52 weeks. Also an allowance of £0.3s.6d per week for his two children from 26 May 1919.

William died about twenty years later – his death is registered in Q3 of 1939.