The Young Widow Woolfitt

Minnie DOVE is the great-granddaughter of Essex mariner Michael COOK, unlawfully killed in 1839 – and the granddaughter of John Cook, (anniversary 16 May). As I write this, her death in 1957 is indicated on the Shared Tree, and the first three census sources in which she appeared are given as sources. It is a shock to see her widowed at 23.

She had married Fred William WOOLFITT in Bridlington less than three years earlier and the Christ Church register shows he was three years her senior and working as a grocer’s assistant. His father’s name and profession are not given and the registration of his birth, lacking a mother’s maiden surname, suggests he was illegitimate. He is found in the 1881 census in Reepham, Lincolnshire, with William WRIGHT, 55, a shepherd, and his wife Ann. At age seven he is a bit old to be described as a “nurse child” but he has the company of Robert W TOYN, a motherless infant just a year old. Countless Lincolnshire folk crossed the Humber to seek opportunities in the “big city” but something drove Fred on to Bridlington. How long his marriage lasted with Minnie is a mystery. He slipped quietly away; his death not reported in any newspapers I could find.

Minnie married John Thomas CURTIS on Christmas Day 1901. Like Fred before him, John was in the grocery trade, though when The Register caught up with him in September 1939, he was a traveller in confectionery. With them in Holly Gardens, Hull, at the start of WW2 was married daughter Minnie Dove ECCLES, a hospital nurse. Their second daughter, Winifrede Mary, has caused enumerators and transcribers a bit of trouble with that extra ‘e’.

Katherine SLOPER was born in London and died in the capital ninety-seven years later. She chose not to marry. But why, on this day in 1873, did she come to Filey to be baptised in St Oswald’s Church? She was nineteen. Well, that’s what a note in Filey Genealogy & Connections tells us. I haven’t been able to confirm that this event took place.

Katherine’s father was a man of substance, an engineer and inventor. On the back of a studio portrait of him, there is some handwritten family history, though I can’t see Katherine/Kate mentioned.

The grave of John MAULSON and Annie WATSON is a sad patch of earth with the inscriptions on the surrounding kerb partly obscured by grass and moss. The family name is just visible.

Photographed yesterday

2186 Maulson G292 Kerb | Crimlisk Survey 1977

In loving memory of JOHN MAULSON, died July 8th 1945, aged 81.

Also of ANNIE his dear wife, passed away Feb 14th 1952 aged 83

‘At rest’

John is a nephew of Richard (anniversary 3 July) and Annie a descendant of kings and queens of France and Italy – if you can believe the Shared Tree.

Sea 44 · Filey Bay

Royal Parade

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