Dying in Harness, Drowning in the Med

I have been doing more research into the three wives of William MOORE. In passing, I had noticed some references to a Nurse Catherine NICHOLSON who had served with some distinction in hospitals on the Western Front. I imagined William’s third wife undertaking those terrible duties. There seemed to be a couple of Nurse Catherines but they were, I think, Home Counties or Scots women.

William’s Catherine was the fifth of ten children born to Edward NICHOLSON and Annie McCORMICK between 1870 and 1889. By the time the 1911 Census was taken, five of the children had died. About a year after she married William, Catherine’s younger brother lost his life while serving with the 1st/4th Bn, Cheshire Regiment. I was initially puzzled that he died at sea but a look down the list of fatalities on 4 May 1917 provided a partial answer.

85734 Private JOHN PERCY MULLINEUX      Royal Army Medical Corps

TF/202635 Private GEORGE NAYLOR MUMBY   4th Bn. Royal Sussex Regiment

55989 Private PATRICK MURPHY    Royal Army Medical Corps

M/273823 Private CHARLES WILLIAM MURRELL        906th M.T. Coy. Army Service Corps

Captain RICHARD OWEN NELSON     Army Service Corps

36336 Private JOHN HENRY NICHOLSON      1st/4th Bn. Cheshire Regiment  

63192 Private JOHN NISBET       Royal Army Medical Corps

Second Lieutenant CLAUD NORIE-MILLER    Army Service Corps

53628 Serjeant WILLIAM HENRY NORMAN     Royal Army Medical Corps

48050 Private CHRISTMAS GEORGE NORTHAM  1st/5th Bn. Welsh Regiment

70481 Private JOHN NOUTCH       Royal Army Medical Corps

 

There are 274 men who died this day and are remembered on the Savona Memorial in Italy. The bodies of a further 82 were recovered and are buried in the Savona Town Cemetery. They were not all fighting men. In the cemetery lies Barber THOMAS BONAR CHERRY of the S.S. Transylvania Mercantile Marine Reserve.

Transylvania

They were bound for Salonika, or onward to Egypt, and their grand troopship was sunk by torpedo off the Italian coast near Genoa. About four hundred drowned but over 2,000 were rescued, the majority by two (allied) Japanese destroyers.

One of those rescued, Walter Edward WILLIAMS of Weston super Mare,, was interviewed many years later and he tells his story of the sinking on Reel 2 (of 5) here. Searching for SS Transylvania online will raise more accounts of this event.

From the Nicholsons, I moved on to the family of William’s first wife, Annie Elizabeth COWAN. Tracing the origins of her father proved to be an engaging and enjoyable challenge. Thomas Albert began his life as a COWIN in Lonan Parish on the Isle of Man but ended it as a COWAN in Dalton in Furness, Lancashire 74 or 75 years later.

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1911 Census Form

His record on FamilySearch Tree has a link to an obituary published in Manx Quarterly #20. Here is an extract: –

The Barrow Guardian of December 9th had the following reference to the death of Councillor Cowan:-“Died in harness! This expression was never more fully realised locally than by the passing away of Councillor Thomas Albert Cowan, of Dalton, a man full of years and honour. At the time he was attacked by a sudden illness he was on his way to Barrow to fulfil a promised preaching appointment for a minister who was ill. It is quite true and appropriate to repeat what a friend of Mr Cowan’s said to me on Sunday evening: ‘He was taken when doing his Master’s work.’ And he was never happier than when performing some religious duty; it was ingrained in him. He had spent over 50 years as a local preacher and religious teacher; then for more than 25 years he was associated with the local Board and Urban Council, for 21 years a member of the Gas Committee, some years on the Education Authority and Burial Board, and one of the trustees of the Billincoat Charity. Truly he was a marvellous man. If he could do a good turn to anybody he was only too willing to give his services. As a speaker he was fearless, impassioned and convincing, hence his success in the early days of Nonconformity in the Furness district, when he fought tenaciously for the rights and privileges of his fellow dissenting citizens. I repeat he was a wonderful character, and could turn his hand to many things besides mining, religious work and temperance work. Where he will be most missed, however, next to his own home, will be in the Primitive Methodist Church, for here he was ever first and foremost, and none will ever know what he did and what he gave to his loved Bethel. We mourn the loss to-day of one of God’s noblemen.”

Another Killer Gale

1897_MARTINjohnwmDeath_NEWS

John William was buried just four days after his death, so he must have been almost home. The Register of Deceased Passengers held at The National Archives and available to view online via Find My Past gives the name of the ship and its approximate location when John expired.

Marcotis was almost certainly bound for its home port and 51º10’ N, 6º 40 W places her in the Irish Sea, south-west of the Pembrokeshire coast and about 280 miles from Liverpool. Innocuous as degrees and minutes, the coordinates are fiendish when converted to decimals.

1897_MarcotisLocation

The inscription on John’s red granite memorial in St Oswald’s churchyard tells us he “died in a gale at sea”, a description that paints a fuzzy, uncertain, picture of his final moments. The Register provides shocking clarity, giving the cause of death as “Hemorrhage of the Lungs”.

D397_MARTINjohnwm_20180307_fst

John’s grave is just a few yards from that of his older brother, Edwin, after whom the southernmost Filey Ravine is named. The 1881 Census reveals that Edwin, age 32, was a “Woollen Manufacturer of Martins Sons Employing 930 people”. Ten years later he has passed the running of the factory to John. Perhaps it was too great a burden for the younger brother.

In 1881 John had married Lily, daughter of Benjamin HANSON, another Huddersfield Woollen Manufacturer, employing 372 hands in 1871. John and Lily had two children, Kenneth born 1883 and Gwynneth  Adrienne in 1888. After her husband’s death, Lily moved with the children to Eastbourne on the south coast. In 1911 Gwynneth remained single but Kenneth, 29, “Company Director, Financial Corporation (Private Means)”, was married to Clarisse Lillian nee MELLIER and they had two boys, Patrick Kenneth and Jack Mellier.

For all their wealth and social standing, the Martins were poorly represented on FST. I put in a shift today but there is a lot more still to do.

Mrs. Nicholson Does Good

District Intelligence: Filey

School Treat

[Last] Saturday afternoon the children of the Church day and Sunday schools had their annual treat. A substantial tea was provided, and in the evening prizes were distributed to about three hundred. They were given by Mrs. Nicholson, of the Crescent, who last week gave a tea to twenty-nine little girls, whom she teaches sewing. She also has provided a soup kitchen in Hope-street, and distributes soup to the poor twice a week.

Scarborough Mercury, 14 January 1882

Annie NICHOLSON was 34 years old in 1882, a mother of three girls and engaged in the kind of good works you might expect from an older woman whose children have flown the nest. But she’d met her husband at the age of thirteen (perhaps earlier) and buried him at 29 so perhaps she was old beyond her years. (She would die in 1902, aged 54.)

For the second half of her life, she lived at 11, The Crescent, Filey – the photograph below was taken this morning, her front door just visible in the twin portico.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Her husband, Walter NICHOLSON, was the fifth of thirteen children born to the wealthy and ennobled Leeds Magistrate and Landed Proprietor, William Nicholson NICHOLSON, and Martha née RHODES. (William had changed his birth name, from William Nicholson PHILIPS, so that he could inherit the Nicholson estate at Roundhay Park.)

Walter led a busy and financially rewarding life as a manufacturer and farmer yet still found time to be a Guardian for the Wharfedale Union. He left Annie well provided for when he died aged 37, in 1877. No. 11 The Crescent had five servants in 1881, 3 in 1891, and 4 in 1901.

Annie WHITAKER was born in Liverpool in 1848 but the Census snapshot of 1861 captures her visiting the home of William FISON in Burley in Wharfedale. He was a manufacturer who employed over 400 workers. Another visitor that Census night was 21-year-old Walter NICHOLSON. The couple must have made a great impression on each other, and married seven years later at St George’s church in Everton.

The Nicholsons of Roundhay Park are well represented on the FamilySearch Tree – and two of Walter’s brothers threaten to draw attention from the dutiful Annie. The colourful story of Rhodes Tudor and Albert Henry can be found in this PDF. It complements the NICHOLSON and Nga (Wha Wha) RITAKA pedigrees on FST.

When I first looked at his pedigree, this morning, Walter was lacking a wife. Annie was on the Tree with her parents so I united her with her six siblings, joined her unto Walter and gave them their three girls. The youngest, Maude, married the 40-year-old vicar of Filey when she was just 21. Arthur Nevile COOPER is still talked about today as “The Walking Parson”. (He would leave his Filey flock untended for months on end to ramble across Europe, once to Rome, another time to Florence.)  For all his elevated position in the community and long life, I couldn’t find him on FST. He has a presence now but there’s work to be done to give him some forebears.