What Happened to Ada?

She didn’t make the cut for remembrance on the family headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Doris and Phyllis Ida are two of the four daughters Ada had with Frederick Herbert. In 1911 the family was complete and living together in Abbeydale Road, Sheffield. Frederick, 44, was working as an Assurance Superintendent and Ada, a year younger, had her hands full with six children, from Sidney, 18, down to Marjorie aged seven.

Thirty years earlier, Ada WHEATLEY, 13, was living with her parents in Daniel Hill, Sheffield, less than two miles from the HORRABIN family. Ada isn’t given an occupation but Frederick, 14, is said to be a “school teacher”. At the end of the year, though, Ada is a witness in the case of The Crown v. Dover. Described as a servant, it isn’t clear whether she was in the full-time employ of Thomas SKINNER, who had died of arsenic poisoning. There is an account of the case on Wikipedia with several photographs, including one of the modest house in which the killing took place. It looks too small to have needed a housekeeper and servants. Thomas has an interesting back story – and a Wikipedia page – but no place on FamilySearch Shared Tree. His killer, under her full name, can be found there, but she only has her father for company.

Ada may have acquired a taste for drama from her participation in the murder trial. She found herself in the newspapers again in 1888.

The Stuart Wortley Working Men’s Club, Daniel Hill – The first entertainment was held at this club on Monday evening. Mr. R. Gleadhill presided, and a very excellent programme was gone through. Mr. Harris, Miss Ada Wheatley, and Mr. J. S. Marshall, assisted by a portion of the Society Minstrel Troupe, gave every satisfaction in rendering their songs, readings, and ballads.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 19 April

I wonder if this is where Frederick first set eyes upon Ada. They were married three years later.

Ada died in the spring of 1941 in Sheffield, aged 73. I don’t know how long Frederick stayed in the city before moving to the coast. His last address is given as 38 The Crescent in the burial register. His spinster daughters died from the house they shared in West Avenue, Doris in 1968 and Phyllis in 1973. I wonder if anyone remembers them – and knows what happened to Ada.

(The guilty Kate Dover didn’t serve her whole of life sentence. She was released from Woking Female Prison about 1895 and must, therefore, have done time with the innocent Florence MAYBRICK. Though the two women had arsenic in common, I can’t imagine them being friends.)

Mark of Man 67 · Churchyard

St Oswald’s, Filey

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