Rose Ann Cairns

Black Sheep Sunday – Dent Stowell (1882-1948) – part 2

Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Black Sheep Sunday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.”

This is the second part of a three blog post series about Dent Stowell, my 2nd cousin 3x removed. Here’s a link to part one from last week – Military Monday

So to recap we left the story when Dent had been demobbed following the end of WW1.

I was then able to find Dent in the 1939 Register, completed at the start of WW2. He is living at 1 Grove Street, Burnley, Lancashire with his wife Helen.

Now then this is where my problem starts – in 1907 he was married to Rose Ann Cairns. Now here he is living with Helen. So what has happened over the twenty years since he was demobbed.

I began by searching the available records on http://www.ancestry.co.uk and http://www.findmypast.co.uk.

I got several results. There was an entry in the UK incoming passenger lists and some newspaper articles.

Let’s start with one of the newspaper articles – they are mostly the same. This transcript is from the Burnley Express of 22 April 1933.

Burnley Express 22 Apr 1933WARTIME ROMANCE SHATTERED

ALLEGED BIGAMY SEUQEL TO                      SOLDIERS MARRIAGE

BURNLEY MOTOR DRIVER’S AMAZING COURT REVELATIONS

Remarkable allegations that during his leaves from France during the war, in which he was wounded thrice, his wife “chased him back before his time was up, told him she did not want to see him again, and wished the Germans would kill him next time out”, were made by an ex-Service man who appeared before the magistrates in the Burnley Police Court, last Wednesday, on a charge of alleged bigamy.

The accused, Dent Stowell (50), described as a motor driver, and living at 15 Tunnel Street, Burnley, was stated to have been three times wounded while serving in France during the war with the famous Scottish regiment, the Black Watch. In a statement at the close of the evidence against him, Stowell said the Burnley woman to whom he was originally married “chased him back” every time he came home on leave from France, telling him she “did not want to see him again,” and wishing the Germans “would kill him next time out.”

Committed for Trial

Stowell, who was committed to Manchester Assizes for trial, was alleged to have married Helen Gordon, at Carlisle Parish Church, on January 27th, 1918, while his wife, a Burnley woman, whom he had married at St Matthew’s Church, Burnley, on January 5th, 1907, was still alive. It was stated that there were three surviving children of the Burnley marriage, and that Stowell had four children by the other woman.

Mr E S Smith, of the Town Clerk’s Department, appearing for the prosecution, said the alleged bigamy was a “war story.” The Burnley marriage was witnessed by William Gilbert and his wife, Anastasia Gilbert, then residing at Fielden Street, Burnley. After the marriage the couple went to live at the home of the husband’s sister, Mrs Brotherton, St. Matthew Street. Afterwards they lived at various Burnley addresses, and ultimately at 2 Zion Street, where Mrs Stowell resided. Prisoner at the outbreak of war was a reservist in the Black Watch Regiment, and he was sent to Perth, Scotland, to join up there. He was drafted to France, and in October, 1914, came home wounded for the first time. He lived with his wife at Burnley while at home then, and also on coming home on leave on several occasions. He was again wounded more than once, and on the last occasion was transferred, after recovery, to the Mechanical Transport Section, and stationed in London. After the Armistice he returned to his wife in Burnley, and later was again with his regiment. Then, owing to his being missing from his depot, his wife’s Army allowance was stopped for a time. He returned to his regiment , and his wife again received her payments.

Sailed for Canada

About Easter, 1919 (Mr Smith continued), Mrs Stowell had a letter from him, stating that he was expecting his discharge from the Army. But he did not return home, and she found that he had sailed for Canada. It was discovered that prior to his coming home for the last time to his wife in Burnley he had gone through a form of marriage at Carlisle, the ceremony taking place at the Parish Church there on January 27th, 1918. He was then fully aware that his lawful wife was alive.

Mrs Rose Ann Stowell, of 2 Zion Street, Burnley, stated that she was living there with her son. She spoke to having married accused at St Matthews Church, Burnley, on the date alleged, and she identified a certificate produced as being that of the marriage. Her maiden name was Cairns. They first lived with her husband’s sister at 76 St. Matthew Street. There were three children of the marriage alive, the youngest being now 21. They lived together happily until the commencement of the war, when he was sent to Perth to join his regiment, the Black Watch. He afterwards went to France and was wounded three times, on each occasion coming to their home in Burnley, and being transferred after his last wound to London. He came home on Armistice night and stayed two or three days. About Christmas that year her allowance was stopped by the Army authorities owing to accused’s absence for a time from his regiment. During that period, however, she received letters from him through his depot, though he was not there.

Husband’s Allegations

About Easter, 1919 (witness went on), she received a letter from prisoner stating that he was expecting to be discharged. He did not, however come home.

Have you seen him since? – Not till now.
Did you know where he had gone? – He had gone to Canada.
How did you know that? – He wrote to me for about 12 months.

Witness denied a suggestion by prisoner that the last time he was home from the Army she was running about public houses.

Prisoner: Didn’t you tell me to get back to my regiment and say that you didn’t want to see me any more alive? – and didn’t I say, “You never will see me again”? – as you never have done.

Witness: That is not the case.

Witness agreed that prisoner sent money to her and the children for the first 12 months after he went to Canada.

Prisoner: Didn’t I ask you if you would send the children to me, I would book their passages? – Yes

You would not let them come? – Why should I? They were my children.

Witness denied that she went drinking with the money prisoner sent her. She also denied a suggestion by the prisoner that she was living with a man.

Mrs Ann Anastasia Gilbert, widow, 224 Lowerhouse Lane, stated that she was present along with her husband, now dead, as a witness at prisoner’s marriage in St Matthew’s Church in 1907. On March 3rd this year she accompanied a detective officer to the Superintendent Registrar’s Office, Nicholas Street, and identified the original entry of the marriage, a copy of which was now produced.

Met in 1917

Helen Gordon, whom prisoner was alleged to have bigamously married, stated that she was now living with Stowell at 15 Tunnel Street, Burnley. She had four children, of whom he was the father.

In 1917 (winess proceeded) she was working on munitions at Carlisle, and in June of that year she met Stowell. He was then a soldier in the Black Watch, and he told he was a single man of Scottish nationality.

Did he ask yo to keep company with him? – Yes.

They went through the form of marriage at Carlisle Parish Church on January 27th, 1918. (Witness identified a certificate produced.)

Stowell afterwards went to France, and she (witness) joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and was sent to London. There she was joined later by Stowell on his being stationed in London.

In April, 1919, on his being discharged from the Army, Stowell (witness continued) sailed for Canada. She did not accompany him then, but went about three months afterwards. They lived in Canada about nine months, and then went to Detroit, United States, remaining there till January 26th, this year. She was with prisoner all that time. They returned to England on the instructions of the American emigration authorities, arriving in England on February 9th. They lived together at 194, Scalegate Road, Carlisle, till they came to Burnley.

“Drinking and Fighting”

Detective Sergeant Pullen said a warrant was issued for Stowell’s arrest on April 13th. He saw him on Tuesday this week at 15 Tunnel Street, where he was residing with his sister. He told him he had a warrant for his arrest, and Stowell replied, “Sure, when will it be tried?” When charged at the police office, he replied, “I have nothing to say.”

When asked, in the usual form, if he had anything to say, Stowell, from the dock, said: “I lived with her eight years after marriage, and was parted twice in that eight years through drinking and fighting. Every time I came on leave I had to go back before my time was up. She chased me back. I thought it impossible to live with her after the war, because she was telling me she did not want to see me again in life, and wishing the Germans would kill me next time out. She told my sister she was happy with the man she was living with now, and she did not want me back, and I don’t intend to go back.”

Prisoner was asked by the chairman of the magistrates (the Mayor) if he had been living happily with the other woman. He replied that he done so for 14 years.

Stowell was, as stated, committed for trial at Manchester Assizes. He applied for, and was allowed, bail, in his surety of £10, and another of the same amount. A friend of accused came forward as surety, and he was released.

Look out for the third and final instalment next week.

Military Monday – Dent Stowell (1882-1948) – part 1

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

We all have ancestors who have served in the military. Military Monday is a place to post their images, stories and records of their service in various branches of the military.

Dent StowellThis is the first of a three part series about Dent Stowell, my 2nd cousin 3x removed. He was born on 14 July 1882 in Burnley, Lancashire to parents Thomas Stowell and Ann Wroe. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff (my 4x great grandparents).

As far as I can tell Dent was the last of nine children to be born to Thomas and Ann Stowell. He was baptised on 20 August 1882 at St John the Baptist church in Burnley.

On 30 March 1900 Dent took himself to the army recruiting office in Burnley and signed up for “short service” of three years in the military. The next day he passed his medical examination and was signed fit for the army. He was appointed to the 2nd Royal Highlanders Regiment with a service number of 7778.

He joined his regiment in Perth, Scotland on 4 April 1900.

I can see from his service records available online that Dent was promoted to the rank of Corporal on 28 February 1902. Then two months later on 24 April 1902 he was posted to South Africa.

He completed his three years “short service” on 30 March 1903 and was transferred to the Army Reserve for nine years.

Back in civilian life Dent married Rose Ann Cairns on 5 January 1907 at St Matthew the Apostle, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire. Dent was 24 years old and Rose Ann was 19.

Over the next five years Dent and Rose Ann had four children:-

Mary Ann Stowell – born 16 December 1907
Dent Stowell – born 1 March 1909
Clifford Stowell – born 25 June 1910 (died December 1913)
Albert Stowell – born 20 May 1912

In the 1911 census the family are living at 2 Zion Street, Burnley. Dent is working as a “plate moulder” and Rose Ann as a “weaver”.

At the outbreak of WW1 Dent rejoined the army and was mobilised at Perth on 5 August 1914. He had several postings to France over the next three years. He was wounded in action in November 1917 and then posted home from 27 November 1917 until he was demobbed on 24 March 1919.

Here is an account of Dent’s experiences in the Burnley News of 3 October 1914.

Burnley News 3 Oct 1914 - 1WOUNDED BURNLEY SOLDIER

IN THE FIRING LINE AT THE AISNE

A thrilling narrative of incidents which have taken place at the Battle of the Aisne has been told to a Burnley News reporter by Private Dent Stowell, of 2 Zion Street, who has returned home to recuperate after having been wounded. Private Stowell is a Reservist in the Black Watch.

“I reported myself at Perth Depot, Nig Camp, Cromarty,” he said, “and from there I went to Southampton, where we embarked for France. After a short time in camp at St Lazaire, we had a four days’ journey on the railway, and then we marched for four days, at about thirty miles a day, up to the firing line, about forty miles from operations at the Aisne, where there is a firing line of 150 miles.

“We thought then that there were no Germans about, but we could see dead horses, pieces of legs, heads, and other gruesome objects. On Sunday night, September 13th, the German bullets and shells began flying over our heads. At five o’clock on the following morning, we marched out on to a hill, and laid in a trench from about 6 o’clock to 3 in the afternoon. The Germans were shelling the position all the time, Burnley News 3 Oct 1914 -2and it was not safe for anyone to lift up his head. My mate did so, and he was shot through the brain.

“At 3 o’clock, someone said ‘Retire,’ and we had almost forty yards to run to the edge of the hill. During the run a German shell burst, sending me down the side of the hill. I remained unconscious until between 2 and 3 o’clock on the following morning, I was wounded by a bullet which went into my left knee, and when I recovered consciousness my shoe was full of blood.”

STRETCHER BEARER SHOT

“While they were carrying me, one of the stretcher bearers was shot; consequently another fellow carried me down to the hospital. When we got there the bullet was extracted.”

After describing his further passage from the scene of conflict by Army Service Corps and motor wagons, and how he was conveyed via temporary bridges of boats and planks, Private Stowell retuned to his experiences in the operations against the enemy. “I eked out existence on one biscuit on the previous Saturday night,” he remarked. “In the fighting a bullet went in my bully-beef tin on my back. Much havoc was caused to my equipment. I could not get a chance to fire back. It was an artillery battle, not an infantry one. Men were mowed down like grass under the terrific fire of the Maxims.

“I was conveyed to Le Mons, where the wound was dressed. Then we went along to Nancy, where I was again attended to. Subsequently I was taken to St Lazaire. I left there last Wednesday, and landed at Southampton on Friday morning. I was treated at the Southern Hospital, Birmingham, which I left yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

“It is indeed a sight for anyone to see which confronts you where fighting operations are going on,” Private Stowell continued. “The Germans had no ‘grub’ for four days. On Monday morning, the 14th, they were reinforced with 40,000 troops, and provisions to last them six months. Every place we got into we found they had looted. We could get nothing.”

Speaking about the French people, Private Stowell remarked enthusiastically that they were very good. “They will give anything to the English troops. We lived on nothing but fruit. The Germans took all the bread obtainable. Tobacco and cigarettes were sent out, but we never got it.

“Oh, yes, we wanted it,” he continued, smilingly. “If you saw one of your men with a cigarette, you would have ‘killed’ him for it.

The massacre is awful. There are thousands of Germans now in the trenches who cannot be buried. Our men cannot go up the hill to bury our dead. Many a hundred bled to death on that hill where I was. The men are healthy enough, but they cannot get any ‘grub.’ Marching to the firing line, we average between 20 and 30 miles a day. At night we try to get into a village. We find the villages have been looted, but there are barns and haylofts we can sleep in. It is not very comfortable to be sleeping 200 in a hayloft that really only accommodates about 10. After about three hours there, we are called to march again.”

Asked as to whether he had met any other Burnley men during his experience at the front he said, “I bade good-bye to my pal, J W Hurst, of Padiham, on Monday. He belonged to the C Company. We went out together. Then his Company went one way and mine another. On Monday night 200 came in out of 1260 at roll call. There were about 30 left out of the 200 on Tuesday. As I said before, they mowed us down like grass, chiefly with Maxim guns.

“I can tell you that I did say my prayers when I got up in the morning with bullets flying round. You think any morning that before long you may be a ‘gone-er’.”

“One of the 16th Lancers was on horseback when a shell burst close to him, and left only his legs in the stirrup, carrying his body away! It is nothing to see a horse getting blown in two.”

“You get used to it,” summed up the soldier laconically. “I shot one German that I know of. I was two years and eight months in South Africa, but that was a picnic to this.”

Look out for the second instalment of the trilogy next Sunday.