Troubled Minds

The Scarborough Mercury 6 July 1888 –

Sad Suicide at Filey

Yesterday (Thursday) morning, a farm labourer named Milner committed suicide by hanging himself. From particulars to hand it seems the deceased resided with his mother in East Parade. The family are natives of Reighton but about twelve months ago removed to Filey. Since that time Milner has been in work, latterly to Mr. Robert Smith, farmer, Church Farm. Deceased was the youngest son of the late Mr. Thomas (sic) Milner, who died suddenly some time ago from heart disease, and ever since this sad event deceased has been depressed and low spirited and would meditate for hours about his father. At times he became so despondent that he betrayed signs of slight mental derangement and required medical care and attention to rouse him to a sense of his position. Latterly he has behaved in a very eccentric manner, which necessitated frequent visits from Dr Tom Haworth, who in conjunction with his father Dr [James] Haworth has treated deceased for hypochondria. Though a tall fine man this despondency had such an effect upon him that he hardly ever, when walking, looked up, his eyes being fixed in the ground. He left home early in the morning to go to his work as usual and took his dinner with him, intending to return home in the afternoon. He however went home between eight and nine and complained to his mother of feeling unwell, and when asked what was the matter with him he said he thought the weather had a great deal to do with it. His mother then sat down to breakfast, after which she left the house, telling her son, whom she never saw again alive, that she would not be far away, as she was merely going to make a few purchases in the town. She soon returned, and on entering the house her first thoughts were for her poor son, and not seeing him where she expected to find him she asked of the children where John had gone. She received an answer to the effect that he had gone upstairs, and her anxiety prompted her to go up at once to ascertain whether he had gone to bed or not. Not finding him in the first room, she went to the upper story of the house, and when near the top, her eye rested in the ghastly sight of her beloved son hanging by the neck from the top bannister rail. She was almost overpowered by the sight, but a recollection of her first duty enabled her to overcome her emotions and she quickly sought assistance. A neighbour at once came, and quickly cut the body down, but examination showed the poor fellow to be dead. While this was proceeding, a messenger was dispatched to Dr Haworth, who lost no time in arriving, but on seeing the body the doctor pronounced life to be extinct. The noose and everything had been most carefully prepared, the rope even having been measured, inasmuch as the feet of the deceased were but a few inches from the floor when he was suspended. It appeared from the marks on the neck that death had not ensued very quickly but had resulted from sheer strangulation. From the appearance of the deceased and the arrangements, apparently he had lowered himself down from the bannister after securing the rope at the top. The rope was a portion of the family clothes-line, and of a strong quality.

Deceased was well known in the town and district as a steady and industrious young fellow and his unfortunate and untimely death has caused much regret among the townspeople, by whom he was greatly respected. He was in his 22nd year. An inquest was held this afternoon before the district coroner.

Although the newspaper report suggests that grief over the death of his father was the only cause of his mental imbalance, John had suffered a more recent loss. His unmarried sister, Mary Jane, had borne a son in the summer of 1887 but the wee chap died in the first three months of the following year. Frank had been baptized at St Oswald’s on 13th July 1887 and had the child lived I think John would have been celebrating his nephew’s birthday rather than hanging himself.

John was the second of five sons born to Edmond Milner and Sarah Ann née WATTS and you can find him on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Matthew Milner was seventeen years old when older brother John killed himself. A decade later, he had a near death experience. The Yorkshire Evening Press carried the story on 29 November 1898.

A FILEY FARM FOREMAN IN TROUBLE

Edwin Johnson (21), labourer, was indicted for shooting at Matthew Milner, with a revolver, with intent to murder, at Filey, on September 13. He was detained on a charge of attempted suicide, on the same day. To the first charge he pleaded “not guilty,” and to the second (suicide) “guilty.” – Mr. Kemp appeared for the prosecution, and the prisoner was defended by Mr. C. Mellor. – In his opening statement Mr. Kemp said that there was a second count on the indictment, charging the prisoner with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The prisoner was engaged on a farm at Filey occupied by Mr. T. Smith, but on September 12 he refused to do certain work and left the farm. He bought a revolver for 6s. 6d., and some cartridges at Scarborough, and returned to the farm the next day. He entered the stackyard shouting religious texts. He was seen to be carrying a revolver but said to Wharton Smith that he did not intend to harm him, and that he wanted to see the master. Mr. Smith, however, went for a police officer after the prisoner had fired a shot in the air, and when the prisoner heard that the master had gone for the police, he asked who was “stacking.” He then saw Milner, who was “stacking,” and who had taken the place occupied by the prisoner, and said, “He is a devil to take a man’s job from him.” He then fired at Milner, and the bullet whizzed past. When a police officer arrived, the prisoner put the revolver to his own head and fired, with the result that he lost an eye, and for some time was in considerable danger. – Evidence supporting Mr. Kemp’s statement was given. – Matthew Milner said he had no quarrel with the prisoner. He saw the prisoner point and fire but had no idea whether a bullet was discharged or not.

Mr Mellor, for the defence, contended that the prisoner did not know the dangerous character of the weapon he was carrying. He only wished to frighten the people in the yard. His conduct was of one half-mad or half-drunk, and he was the only one to suffer by it, and he had suffered terribly.

The learned judge advised the jury to dismiss from their minds that the prisoner had intent to murder.

The prisoner was found guilty, and sentence was deferred.

Two days later –

Edwin has a place on the FamilySearch Shared Tree and there his life is thought to have ended around 1900. I have searched through all sources readily available to me and the only death registration that fits at all closely indicates that Edwin did not go blind but continued to do heavy work as a farm labourer. At the beginning of the Second World War the Register places him at Charleston Farm near Grindale. A single man in his sixties, and unlikely to have married subsequently, a death at the age of 91 that could be his was registered in Scarborough in the September Quarter of 1968.

John and Matthew Milner had three sisters. (There are four on the Shared Tree but I think Emily is a cuckoo.) Sarah Ann, the middle girl, remained single and census enumerators in 1901 and 1911 found her living with her mother in Filey. She died in the East Riding Lunatic Asylum in 1919, aged 43. You can find photographs of the institution online by searching for Broadgate Hospital. It was a huge place. Over 900 inmates were buried in pauper graves there but have not been forgotten. Sarah Ann’s mother may not have been able to care for her daughter but she arranged for her body to be brought home to be with her father, brother John and nephew Frank. Sarah Ann senior would join them three years later.

Sky 21 · Royal Parade, Morning

Good Neighbours

A couple of days ago I began searching for the forebears of John William DONKIN and Ada Isabella CAMMISH. They are buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

John’s mother, Jane HALLAM, was the second of four girls born to Matthew, a Hunmanby fishmonger, and his third wife Mary COOPER. Matthew was 63 years old when he married Mary and 67 when Jane arrived in 1856. Mary was, of course, much younger than her husband – about 36 when she gave birth to Jane.

When Jane was just over a year old, the odd couple helped a young woman in distress. With other kind-hearted folk, they gave shelter and food to Betsy LYNES, shut out by her parents. I think Betsy was illegitimate, so perhaps a wicked stepfather was involved.

Three years after this sad event, the Hallam’s third child, Sarah, died aged eighteen months. A few weeks later, they buried six year old Elizabeth. In the summer of 1862 Anne Elizabeth joined the family. I have not yet discovered how long she stayed but Jane would live to see the first year or so of the Second World War.

Three of the four girls are on the FamilySearch Shared Tree but have yet to be brought together. Here is Jane –

Over the next few days, I hope to give Matthew his first two wives, and Jane her husband and their eight children.

(The doctor who carried out the postmortem on Betsy subsequently poisoned his wife and mother in law, deeds for which he was hanged on 28 July 1865.)

Mark of Man 55 · Coble Landing

Chalets and Tractor

A Melancholy Suicide

Matthew COWTON was born in Reighton in 1808 but at some point moved to York where he was apprenticed to John DALE, Grocer and Tea Dealer. He married Jane JEFFERSON in York in 1830 and the first three of their children were born in that city. The next four opened their eyes in Scarborough, Jane’s home town before the family returned to York, where their last child and fifth daughter Frances was born in 1844.

Matthew gave his occupation as Grocer at the 1841 and 1851 censuses but also accrued wealth dealing in property. By some happenstance, he lost most of the property and, in some despair, turned to drink. Early in 1857, however, he managed to get some of his old properties back and was somewhat restored to health. In March he advertised the following Freehold Property in Reighton, near Bridlington:-

To be sold by Private Contract, Five Substantial Built COTTAGES, replete with every Convenience, and a Garden behind each; also a large Barn, Stable, and other Out-Buildings, with a Fold Yard adjoining the same, in the occupation of John Wood and others. The above Propery is situate in the centre of the Village. To treat for the same, apply to the Owner, Mr MATTHEW COWTON, 22, Goodramgate, York.

The following month, Matthew was appointed a Parochial Constable for Minster Yard with Bedern. In October he found himself accused, with several other policemen of assaulting two people he and a colleague were attempting to arrest – for being drunk and disorderly. Thomas and Mary Lyons put up a fight, using whatever implements came to their hands – a knife, a fender, a pan and a rolling pin. The constables called for reinforcements and eventually prevailed. By the time the Lyons reached the police station they were both bruised and bloodied and took out summonses against nine policemen, including Matthew.

The impending case must have driven Matthew back into depression and on Sunday before the case was to be heard, he got drunk by teatime, stumbled up to bed but hanged himself with a belt instead. Jane went up to check on her husband and found him awkwardly suspended. She called two men passing by the house and one pulled Matthew down. One of his sons saw he was still alive and a surgeon was called. Mr PROCTOR’s attempts to restore Matthew failed. After an Inquest in The Turk’s Head, the Coroner declared…

…the deceased hanged himself during a fit of temporary insanity brought on by anxiety about his property, and the habit of excessive drinking of intoxicating liquors.

A few days later three policemen were charged with assault upon Mr and Mrs Lyons and two others of damaging their property. Only Matthew’s colleague, HOLMES, was found guilty of assaulting Mary Lyons and was fined £2 plus costs. Matthew may well have been discharged with all the other defendants.

Only three months earlier, Matthew had witnessed the marriage of his eldest daughter, Christiana Matilda. He didn’t get to see the arrival of Joseph Edmund ELAND, his first grandchild, or to mourn the deaths of Christiana and her newborn fourth child a few years later. And, between these sweet and bitter events, his fourth daughter, Emily, died in Filey, aged 20. She is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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Find Matthew on FamilySearch Tree.

The Future

20181111RemembranceDog1_2mJust one of the canines who stood in the rain this morning at eleven, amongst the humans silently remembering the sacrifices previous generations made for us.

Maybe some of the bipeds spared a thought for Gus Hales over in Shropshire, on hunger strike to demonstrate how military personnel returning from overseas tours suffering mental trauma are treated by the government. Trident missiles cost about £17 million each, but assistance to combat PTSD can suddenly disappear when financial cuts have to be made.

And what of the future for UK citizens? Behind the scenes, below the radar, our military is being prepared for a very troubling mobilization – into the control of the unelected bureaucrats of the European Union. That’s the assertion of the investigative journalists who deliver the UK Column News. Watch Friday’s bulletin (from 4 minutes 45 seconds to about 12:30)  to decide for yourself if this is a bombshell. Goodbye Brexit?

 

Coincidences

John KILLINGBECK was baptized this day 1813 in Carlton by Snaith. He was the sixth child of Thomas and Leah née BRITAIN and the paternal line for several generations seems to have stayed within a small area south of Selby containing the hamlets and villages of Birkin, Camblesforth, Cawood, Drax, and Ryther.

By the age of 24 though, John had forsaken his Killingbeck heartland,  marrying Jane GOFTON in Filey and raising four children. Ellen, the twin of their youngest, George, survived for just a month, a loss that may have prompted them to move further up the coast for a while. At the 1851 census, John was working as a brickmaker in Whitby. Ten years later the parents were back in Filey but living alone at 19 Church Street. Their daughter Nancy had died in 1856 and the boys, Robert and George had gone to London to seek their fortunes. (I’m not sure yet what happened to firstborn Elizabeth.)

In 1871 John and Jane were living in Chapel Street, Filey. In 1881 Jane was a widow of 65 giving her occupation as ’needlewoman’. The enumerator would find her living alone at No.3 Chapel Street at the next two censuses.

John was killed by an express train on 31st March 1880, while crossing the railway line in Filey.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother report describes John as a “hale and hearty man” and said he was going over an occupation crossing. There is at least one of those in the town still but where John met his end there is now a metal fence, six feet or so high and spiked, with a warning that trespass will bring a £1,000 fine. I think “Victoria Gardens” may refer to the area of land now occupied by allotments and imagine John may have been heading home after doing some gardening. Today, that route would take him past Carlton Road. Whether or not that short street of houses existed back then it is a coincidence of sorts – the only benign one I can offer.

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On the 21st May 1881, the Scarborough Mercury reported a “Sad Occurrence”.

On Thursday, the 12 inst., a telegram was received at Filey, stating that Mr. Robert Killingbeck, son of Mr. John Killingbeck, who was killed on the railway a little over a year ago in Filey, had committed suicide by cutting his throat. His friends know of no reason prompting him to commit the rash act.

Robert left behind, in Kensington, London, a wife and three children aged 11, 7 and three. I was sure I’d find a newspaper report of his suicide but several combinations of search terms yielded nothing – until this appeared:-

1881_Coincidences

(In the original  paper these two snippets were not juxtaposed.)

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In September 1905, about two months before her 90th birthday, Jane KILLINGBECK stepped off the pavement in Mitford Street was knocked down by a horse-drawn cart. She died the following day from shock and concussion to the brain. The coroner recorded her death as accidental; no blame was attached to the cartman, Thomas Edward STEVENSON – not the Charles Edward SIMPSON of the following report.

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The reference to “the level crossing at Filey” is misleading if it calls to mind the present day Muston Road crossing. The 1880 reports clearly state that John was killed a quarter of a mile from the Station.

Another newspaper report records the fact that Jane was taken after the accident to her son George’s house in Station Road. The wanderer had returned and was with his mother when she died. A small mercy.

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John and Jane’s headstone has lost some of the inscription. Here is the Crimlisk’s attempt from the 1970s:-

In Affectionate Remembrance of JOHN KILLINGBECK who was killed

by an express train at Filey March the 31st 1880 aged 68 years

(eroded section)

who died        1902  aged 89 years.

Jane’s date of death should be 19th September 1905. She was buried on the 22nd.

The KILLINGBECKs of the West Riding have an extensive pedigree on FST going back to the 16th century, while Kath’s FG&C brings the family into the Twentieth.