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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Controversial Inquest into the Death of Ida Titheridge in 1882

Alverstoke Parish Church
In the June quarter of 1882 the records show an unusual marriage with Richard Titheridge marrying Mary Ann Titheridge in Portsea. They were first cousins.  This was the first time I had come across first cousins marrying and I was surprised to find that although the law forbids certain relatives marrying each other, and there is a long list of forbidden relationships, there is no law to stop first cousins marrying. 
Richard was born in 1845 in Alverstoke and was the son of William Titheridge and Jane Ann Hewett (and descended from John Titheridge and Ann Quallat of Cheriton).  Richard was a shipwright at Portsmouth Dockyard and was still unmarried and living at 6 Alver Road on the 1881 census. 

Mary Ann was born in 1846 in Alverstoke and was the daughter of William’s brother Henry Titheridge and Agnes Taylor.  In the 1881 census she too was living in Alverstoke at 2 Park Street and she was a dress maker.

In the September quarter of 1882, three months after the marriage was registered, the records show the birth of Richard and Mary Ann’s first child Ida Titheridge in Alverstoke.  This birth was followed by William Richard Titheridge on 6 June 1883, Beatrice May Titheridge on 18 July 1885 and Daisy Mary in March 1889.

The death record show that Ida’s death was registered in the same quarter as her birth. While this was not an unusual occurrence in the 1880s the records fail to tell the unusual story that followed.

Richard and Mary’s first child died aged 7 weeks having been found dead in bed and an inquest was held at the Red Lion Tavern in South Street Gosport by the county coroner E Goble.  It was the inquest into the baby Ida’s death that hit the local news. 

Below is the account of the inquest into Ida’s death as reported in The Hampshire Telegraph on 5th August 1882.

County coroner and a jury at variance

Yesterday afternoon County Coroner (E. Goble Esquire) held an inquest at the Red Lion Tavern, South Street, Gosport, on the body of Eda Titheridge, seven weeks old, the child of Richard and Mary Ann Titheridge, a married couple, living in Upper South Street, the husband being a shipwright in the dockyard at Portsmouth. The deceased was found dead in bed, and the coroner, stating the facts of the case to the jury, alluded to the practice of parents taking infants to bed with them as a fruitful source of death. He was very sorry, he said, to have to sit as coroner in cases of that description. People would daily read of cases of that sort, and it must therefore, be bought prominently before the public that children were constantly being smothered by being taken into bed with their parents. There was not the least suspicion of all at wilful negligence in the present instance, but in cases of illegitimate children there was not always that absence of doubt.

Evidence was then taken. From the testimony thus adduced it appeared that the child, which was an only one, was put to bed with its parents about 11 o’clock on the night of the second inst. On waking the next morning the father discovered that the child was quite cold. Assistance was summoned and the baby was put into a warm bath, but life was found to extinct.

The Coroner (to the father): haven’t you read in the papers of children being frequently smothered in this way?

Witness: yes

Tthe coroner asked witness if he could explain the fact that he, with 30 shillings per week wages a shipwright in the dockyard, should have considered it advisable to have that had a crib for the child, instead of running the risk attending to having it in bed?

Witness replied that the child was only seven weeks old, and it was not usual to provide a crib to the baby got much older than that.

The coroner: it ought not to be so.

A jury man: Mister Coroner, is the question you have just put to that gentleman (referring to the witness) legal?

The Coroner: certainly

The jury man: oh!

Another jury man said he should be very sorry to have his child sleep away from him

A third jury man: so should I

Another jury man gave it as his opinion that the witness had only done the proper thing in having the child in bed with him.

One of the jury man who had previously spoken remarked that all of them did not possess thousands a year in income

The Coroner: the question is not one of money. It is whether you value the life of your child
Doctor R. O. Minchin, who had made a post-mortem examination of the body, was then called. He said the primary cause of death was inflammation of the lungs of a very insidious character.
In summing up, the Coroner reiterated the remarks he had made in the opening, and said that of course the jury did not see the number of cases which came before him week after week. They might think it preferable that children should be taken with parents into bed, but where this was done the utmost caution ought to be used to see the child did not slip off the breast and get its head underneath, or shift from the pillow underneath the clothes. The chances were that parents slept heavily, the child struggled a little, not enough to wake the wife and husband up, so fatal accidents happened. He felt that in very many cases death arose from carelessness. Still, the jury had to deal with criminal law, and he could only say that it was easy matter, in cases in which illegitimate children were concerned to take a baby to bed, lie upon it, and then say that death was caused accidentally. It was necessary to make those remarks generally, as it was requested that the utmost caution should be observed where children were taken into bed with the parents,

The jury returned a verdict of “Death from natural causes”.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Rev Joseph Anthony Tytheridge (1896 – 1952) – The Catholic Priest

Rev Joseph Anthony Tytheridge of New York
Early in our research, in 1989, someone told us about a catholic priest in America who had been in correspondence with their cousin in the 1950s.  It was many years before we finally identified the priest and only recently that we have traced his Tytheridge family tree back to England.

The family tree of this American priest can be traced back to John who was born in Brasted, Kent in 1797  In various records his surname is spelt Tytheridge, Tutheridge, Titheridge and Tetheridge; the first two being the most prevalent.  We have not been able to establish if this John is related to the Titheridges in Hampshire or if this is a completely different family group with the same name.

John’s grandson was responsible for taking the Tytheridge surname to the USA. John’s grandson, Joseph Tytheridge, was born in Chislehurst, Kent in 1868 and his brother Walter William Tytheridge was born in Chislehurst in 1869.  In 1888 both boys set sail from Liverpool to New York arriving in the USA on 23 April 1888  on the “Umbria”.  On the passenger list Joseph is shown as a 21 year old bricklayer and Walter as a 20 year old mason.
Walter obviously did not settle to life in USA and by the 1901 census he had returned to England and was married to Lizzie. He died in 1952 in Woolwich, London. 
Joseph, on the other hand settled in New York and worked as a brick mason.  He married Mary Bell on 22 September 1895 in Manhattan. They lived all their lives in New York with Joseph dying in 1935 in Manhattan and Mary in 1947 in the Bronx.  Joseph and Mary had 3 children Joseph Anthony born 6 May 1896, Walter born 1897 and died in childhood and Henry born 10 September 1903. Henry married Rita A Connelly on 9 September 1936 in Manhattan.  Henry died in January 1962 in New York and he and Rita had no known children.
Records show that Joseph became a theology scholar and entered St Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York.  In October 1920  he went to Rome and spent 3 years there pursuing studies at the North American College, Rome.  He returned to the USA on 23 July 1923 having travelled back via Southampton returning on the ship “Leviathan”.  He worked as a catholic priest in St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, his exact years of service are unknown but he was definitely in post between 1929 and 1939. In 1940 he became temporary pastor of The Church of St Clare, Straten Island New York, due to the ill health of the regular pastor and when the pastor returned to work Joseph remained as Assistant Pastor.

Joseph died on 27 June 1952 aged 56.
We found this quote from Rev Joseph A Tytheridge which is still so true today
“Prejudice, ignorance, bitterness and, above all selfishness are the great obstacles to peace in people, groups and nations.”

Monday, 2 February 2015

Alfred Titheradge 1859 - 1902 our mysterious ancestor

Up to a few years ago this was the story we had on Alfred

Alfred Titheradge was born in Paddington area of London on 3 September 1859 and was baptised in Bayswater, St Matthew on 2 October 1859.  He was the fifth child of Edward Eatrill Titheradge and Eliza Peters.  On the 1861 census he is found at home with his parents and 4 siblings at 85 Moscow Road, Bayswater.  When he was 10, in 1869 there was a fire in the property where Edward and Eliza lived.  The fire was reported nationally in newspapers but although the children are mentioned and counted there is no mention of a child called Alfred.  We found this very strange.   The 1871 census finds Edward and Eliza living in Moscow Road but again no mention of Alfred.  At first we thought he must have died but no death record or burial record could be found.  Then in 1881 he appears in the marriage records when he marries Phoebe Perrett on 28 March 1881 at Paddington, St James and the couple appear living in Caroline Place Paddington on the 1881 census, with Alfred’s occupation a saddler and Phoebe a cook.  Then he vanishes again no death record, no children from the marriage and no presence in any census.  So what happened to Alfred?

For 20 years this was the story as we knew it.  Then as more records have become available on line we have managed to fill in some of the story.

Although Alfred was not at home in the 1871 census we found an entry for him as an inmate aged 11 in Dartford, Farningham, Horton Kirby and South Darenth  Home for Little Boys.  The records are not easily available for this institution so we have no idea why he was there or when he went.  Did his parents send him because they could not afford all their children, did he run away or was he sent because he did something wrong? 

Confirmation that this Alfred found on the 1871 census was the correct one came from School records for Bayswater that show in 1872 Alfred returned to Paddington area to live with his family at 75 Moscow Road and went to school, being admitted on  16 September to St Matthews School Bayswater  with his former school listed as Farmingham Home School, Kent. 

After Alfred’s marriage to Phoebe both individuals disappear and it was only last week that we found one possible reference to Phoebe.

There is a Phoebe Perret sailing to Australia, listed under her maiden name aged 24 and marked as single arriving in New South Wales aboard the “Samuel Plimsoll” on the 16 June 1883.  Is this the same Phoebe Perrett that married Alfred? The age is right and there was only one Phoebe Perrett born around this time.

The next reference we have of Alfred Titheradge is Philadelphia USA in the Philadelphia City Directory between 1888 and 1902

1888 Alfred Titridge, oysters, 1801 S Broad h2219

1890 Alfred Titheridge, rigger, h 210 Mendenhall

1894 Alfred Titheradge, engineer, at 1718 Jackson

1902 Alfred Titheradge, electrician, at h 4626 Linmore

The final set of records that come to light show that Alfred was married to Elizabeth (also referred to as Lizzie) although no marriage record has yet been found.  We know Elizabeth was born around 1867 in London but that is all we know. 

Over a ten year period between 1887 and 1897 they had 8 children (or maybe more since it mainly the burial records we have found). All but one child died in the first two years of life.  The children were:

1.       Male Deteradge, born August 1887.  Died on 5 September 1887 aged 2 weeks and buried at Mt Zion Cemetery.  Address 2221 Mendenhall Ward 26.

2.       Lotta E Titheradge, born September 1888.  Died on 9 June 1889 and buried 11 June,.aged 9 months. Address 2210 Mendenhall Street 26 Ward.

3.      Maud A Titherage born about August 1889 and christened on 5 August 1889. No death or marriage record has been found.

4.       Mary Titheradge, 8 March 1891.  Died on 16 March 1891aged 8 days and buried at Mt Zion Cemetery.  Address 1718 Jackson Street.

 5.       George Alfred Titheradge, born about October 1892.  Died 20 March 1893 aged 5 months, buried 22 March 1893 at Philadelphia Italian Episcopal Mission, L´Emmanuello. Address 1718 Jackman. Cause of death marasmus which is extreme under nourishment with marked loss of weight.

6.       Alfred Titheradge, born 26 February 1894 .  Died on 27 February 1894 1 day old.

 7.       George T Titheridge, born about November 1895.  Died on 17 September 1897 age 1 year and 10 months.  Address 2135 South 18th Street.

8.       Elizabeth Titheridge born 22 May 1897 baptised 4 July 1897 at Italian Episcopal Mission, L´Emmanuello. Died 9 December 1897.

 The   other death entries in Philadelphia are for Elizabeth and Alfred

 Elizabeth Titheridge died 14 November 1897 aged 30  buried at Italian Episcopal Mission, L´Emmanuello address 26 Ward 2135 So 18th Street

 Alfred died on 30 April 1902 in Philadelphia Pensylvania and buried on 5 May 1902 .  His address is given as Ward 40 4626 Linmore Avenue, marital status married. (His death certificate confirms born in England about 1860) 

 So the remaining mysteries are

1.      Why did Alfred go to the home for Little Boys when he had parents and siblings? And when did he go?

2.      How did Alfred get to America - there are no records of his arrival on any passenger list found so far?

3.      What happened to Phoebe Titheradge? Was Alfred a bigamist who married again while still married  or did Phoebe die or did he and Elizabeth live together unmarried?

4.      Did any of Alfred’s children survive to adulthood?

5.      Why does his death record show him as married when Elizabeth died 5 years earlier?

If you can help answer any of these questions please get in touch or post comment below.