11.27 – Doris Woodhead (previously unmarked)

Little Doris’s marker stone was turned upside down before we turned up – now she’s visible again.

This was going to be an easy story.

Little girl dies young and is buried at Christ Church, grieving Grandfather who was a journeyman stonemason, probably carves a small memorial stone for her.

Grandfather dies and is probably buried with her. Parents die and are buried in Burnley.

Memorial stone disappears beneath the earth.

Kevin and I find it, dig it out and reset it so it can be seen ….. job done, story wrote ……

Then yesterday the researchers find additional information and I have to bloody rewrite some of it.

Then I find out the researchers gave me some incorrect dates ….. and I have to bloody rewrite it again ……. Imma gonna get ya for that old woman.

Let’s go back to 1886.

The Haymarket Riot occurs in Chicago, a Tod Lad is front and centre.

Robert Louis Stevenson publishes ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’

Al Jolson was born.

Emily Dickinson, Poet, dies ….. My wife’s favourite poet, so much so in fact, one of her poems was read at our wedding ……. and at 15 Barker street Todmorden a baby is born.

He is named James and he is the 9th child born to Jubb and Susannah Barstow (Nee Greenwood).

Jubb ….a journeyman Stonemason …… and Susannah had been married almost 20 years earlier in 1867.

Granted they got married the wrong side of Whiteley Arches in Halifax, but they soon came to their senses and settled in Tod.

Jubb and Susannah are Doris Woodhead’s Maternal Grandparents.

They were very productive, they had 9 children.

Jubb and Susannah must have been excellent parents, Susannah an attentive mother and Jubb must have provided well for them all, as 8 of the 9 children survive into adulthood.

The one exception was James, their youngest and last child, whom I mentioned above.

He dies on the 14th of June, 1889, aged 2 years old and is laid to rest 3 days later at Christ Church in an unmarked grave.

I think that after successfully raising 8 children, the shock and grief of losing their 9th and youngest son must have been unbearable , especially for Jubb and I think it severely affected the rest of his life.

James is part of the additional information our researchers found, which messed up my story ……… they knew there was a missing child but they couldn’t find him.

His surname had been spelt wrong in the Parish records and he had disappeared …….. because of Friends of Christ Church – Todmorden and our researchers, James Barstow has now been found and linked back to his family …… but I digress.

The 4th child of Jubb and Susannah was Priscilla Barstow, she was born in 1876.

This is Little Doris Woodhead’s mother.

Time passes ……. Priscilla Barstow marries Arthur Woodhead.

Arthur is a plumber and if his name is ringing bells in your skull ….. then you’re local and will remember the shop at the top of Dale Street that bore his name.

On the 7th of December 1898, Priscilla and Arthur are blessed with the birth of their first child ….. Little Doris Woodhead.

She is born at 15 Barker Street Todmorden , the home of her grandparents Jubb and Susannah Barstow.

Susannah is the one who registers the birth of Little Doris, as she did for her own last born child, James.

2 years later, Susannah will register the death of Little Doris, as she did for her own last born child, James.

Just like Little Sarah Taylor, Little Doris Woodhead doesn’t leave a lot behind.

A Baptism record at Cross Stone on the 8th of July 1899.

She makes the 1901 census ….. just.

She is shown as living with her mother and baby sister Lena at Portland Street. Her father Arthur is not on the census and as a journeyman plumber may have been working away , but our researchers cannot find him.

24 days after the census, Little Doris Woodhead dies, at the same place she was born, 15 Barker Street Todmorden, the home of her grandparents, Jubb and Susannah Barstow.

Her death certificate states convulsions.

She was buried at Christ Church on the 26th of April 1901, and a small stone with the simple epitaph “Doris Woodhead.” is placed at her grave.

I’m fairly sure her grandfather Jubb, a journeyman stonemason carved that stone ….. I can’t prove it, but I’m going off instinct.

If I was a stonemason and my grandchild died, I would have carved the stone too.

Doris Woodhead disappeared, left little behind, her lovingly carved memorial stone sank into the earth, till Kevin and I discovered it, dug it out and reset it.

If …… if I had discovered Little Doris Woodhead’s stone before Little Sarah Taylor’s, she may have been the one in the ‘Other World’ stories.

Maybe she can make a guest appearance eh.

Her parents Priscilla and Arthur lived and worked in the town till the late 1930s, then retired to Heysham.

They died within a couple of months of each other and were buried in Burnley …… except they weren’t.

They were cremated in Burnley and their ashes interred at Christ Church, most probably with their daughter Doris …… this is the second piece of information our researchers found which messed up my story.

I wanted Susannah and Jubb to be buried with their granddaughter , but since our researchers found their last born son buried at Christ Church, it’s more than likely Jubb and Susannah are buried with him.

We know little of Susannah Barstow …… of Jubb though we know much more.

I like him and I love the name.

Good father and provider , caring Grandfather ….. but there’s another side and he appears in the local papers a few times.

In 1874 he was arrested for illegal gambling.

In the 1891 census for 15 Barker street, it is shown that living there are Jubb, Susannah , 7 of their children and Jubbs Parents …. The following year though, Jubb is in the papers again, for not supporting his parents who are now living in Southowram.

In 1906, aged 60, Jubb is in the papers again …… he commited suicide by drowning himself in the canal at Lobmill.

The inquest reports that he and Susannah had split up 10 years previously due to Jubb’s heavy drinking ….. I am in no doubt, the grief of losing his youngest son James was the catalyst that caused Jubb to fall off the rails.

He was buried at Christ Church on the 14th of June …… which was the anniversary of his last born son’s death. Jubb is most likely buried with that son.

I started off this piece by mentioning that Jubb’s youngest son James was born in the same year that the novella “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” was published.

Jubb was probably a bit of both ….. then again, ain’t we all. 😉

An interesting piece of information came from a group member when this story was being discussed on our Facebook group. The plot next to Doris contains a child simply named “Guy” (forename or surname?) who was stillborn and buried on May 1st 1901, just 9 days after Doris. The group member wrote:

“My Auntie Nell was a midwife. Part of her job, of course, was dealing with the tragedies of childbearing. It beggars belief that back in her day a still born or miscarried child was, in the eyes of the Law, given no more rights than clinical waste. Not that long ago an unbaptized child wasn’t even allowed a proper burial! Midwives in every district had “a special arrangement” with undertakers. Miscarried or stillborn babies were “popped in” to other burials. In that way the grieving parents had somewhere to take flowers. (Auntie Nell got an M.B.E. for services to Midwifery).”

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