Death in a Cinema

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When I first saw this stone about ten years ago, I wondered what sort of SCOTT parents would name their son Adolphe. Mark and Alice actually registered him as Adolphus Louis. At the age of 34, he would marry Amy Eveline ROE as Adolphe, though later census enumerators would use the name given at his birth.

Either way, the boy’s name had, I thought, a continental flavour to it and a whiff of high class. Both notions didn’t survive my discovery yesterday that Mark, at the age of fourteen, worked as a miner in the Durham coalfield. Ten years later he was a Railway Clerk in Leeds. In 1871, six months married and living with his wife and widowed mother, he gave his occupation as Tobacco Manufacturer. His business grew and in 1881 he was employing 30 men and girls. At home in Mount Preston were Amy, three daughters and “Adolphus L”., age 6.

23BlackmanLane_GSVIt isn’t possible to determine how successful Mark’s business was. Clearly, he moved out of the working class into which he was born, and for six years he was a member of the City Council. But after a period of poor health, he died suddenly in 1904 at home in Blackman Lane, and if it is the same dwelling that you can see on Google Street View, you might think he had fallen on hard times. (Hanging out her washing is the 21st-century “lady next door”, at No.25.)

Three years earlier, 27-year-old Adolphus was living at 4, Mount Preston with his father, stepmother and half-sister Hilda, his occupation Cigar Manufacturer. (His father is still manufacturing tobacco.)

In 1911, Mark’s widow has turned 23 Blackman Lane into a boarding house. Living with her is stepdaughter Alice, 38, a Librarian, and her own daughter, Hilda, 23 and without occupation. Both young women are unmarried, as is the boarder, Margaret GRIFFIN, aged 30, working for a National Children’s Orphanage.

Four miles to the south, Adolphe Louis, now a “Traveller for Cigars and Cigarettes”, occupies a small terraced house in Beeston with Amy Eveline and their year-old son Adolphe Clarence.

I have found registrations for two more sons born to Amy, in 1912 and 1916, but I can’t find a record of her death. Perhaps she divorced Adolphe and remarried.

The headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard marks the grave of “beloved wife” Elizabeth. I haven’t found the marriage but a Death Notice in The Aberdeen Press and Journal states:-

Suddenly, on the 13th September 1937, Adolphe Louis Scott, (of L. Hirst & Son, tobacco and cigar merchants), beloved husband of Elizabeth Burnett, 17, Stanmore Street, Leeds.

The house Adolphe didn’t return to from his business travels is another small terrace property, a short walk from the Vue IMAX Cinema in Kirkstall. The name of the cinema in which Adolphe breathed his last isn’t reported but it was in Carlisle, and he was watching The Mill on the Floss. He suffered a cardiac arrest and, at the risk of seeming insensitive, I wish the newspapers had told us what was onscreen at his heart-stopping moment.

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Screenshot, ‘The Mill on the Floss’, 1936, dir. Tim Whelan.

If it was when the mill dam burst…

Adolphe left Elizabeth a “net personalty” of £1,117, which is about £60,000 in today’s money. She was 44 and had 37 more years ahead of her. I don’t know when, why or how she moved to Filey but in 1929, aged 79, Adolphe’s stepmother, Mary Elizabeth Scott, had died somewhere in Scarborough Registration District. It isn’t much of a connection, but the only one I have found.

Elizabeth’s stone has recently fallen.

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I will put an upstanding photo of the stone as a Memory on FamilySearch Tree sometime, but there’s work to be done on the SCOTT pedigree. There is just this to go on –

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End of a Line?

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Sacred to the memory of ELIZABETH, wife of CHRISTOPHER COLTAS of Gristhorpe, who departed this life November 14th 1836, aged 30 years.

The languishing head [is] at rest

Its thinking and aching are o’er

This quiet immovable breast

Is heaved [by affliction] no more

This heart [is no longer the seat

Of trouble and torturing pain]

My digitization of the Crimlisk Survey of St Oswald’s churchyard has “ELIZABETH [blank] EMMA” beneath the verse inscription and my first search on FamilySearch Tree found the wee girl. Filey Genealogy & Connections offered the sad information that Elizabeth Emma had been baptised the day after her mother was buried – and died at 16 months.

For a while, I made little progress with online searches and thought the representation of this small family on FamilySearch would mirror the MI details.

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FG&C indicated that Elizabeth was 24 years old when she married, so it would have been surprising if Elizabeth Emma had been her first child.

I then happened upon a census household containing two COLTAS brothers, Edwin and Herbert A. It took a while, but I found a source that told me Herbert’s middle name was “Atkinson”. It seemed certain that these fellows were older brothers of Elizabeth Emma but it was the discovery of their church marriage register entries that confirmed Christopher, a farmer, as their father.

FG&C had given Christopher’s occupation as a Filey“schoolmaster” so I was disconcerted – until I found his own marriage record.

When his wife died, Christopher’s boys were five and seven years old, and possibly not too difficult to raise on his own. It was surprising that he didn’t marry again quite quickly though. He waited 15 years, marrying Mary, third daughter of the late Francis HILL, Lloyd’s agent, in August 1845. I have yet to find confirmation of this union in civil, church or census records but a notice in the local newspaper adds a detail to the information above – that Christopher was a “farmer and grazier”.

I don’t know how old Mary was at marriage but she presented him, in his late forties, with two sons, Alfred and Frederick, both with the middle name Hill. Alfred died not long after he was born, and Frederick before his first birthday. A year after Frederick’s death, Mary had another son. They called him “Frederick Hill”. And about 18 months later they named their last child “Alfred Hill”.

Christopher’s sons with Elizabeth ATKINSON married but don’t appear to have had offspring. Herbert died in 1876 aged 43 and I think Edwin departed this life in 1881 aged 50. Returning briefly to the second Alfred and Frederick. I haven’t been able to discover yet whether or not they reached adulthood and were able to continue the COLTAS name. I chanced upon a Frederick Hill Coltas who died in Scarborough in1882, in his first year. Two years earlier a Frederick Hill Coltas had married across the Pennines, in Salford.

If this line of the Coltas family did persist it may well have morphed into the more common “Coultas”. For now, the question mark in this post’s title is appropriate and hopeful. If I can find the marriage record for Christopher and Mary I will add the details to FamilySearch Tree, with the Hill boys and any descendants they may have had. Find Christopher and Elizabeth here.