15.12 – John Edward and Betsy Eastwood

Betsy Scholfield was the daughter of Samuel Scholfield (a fish hawker) and Sarah Ann Kershaw. She married John Edward Eastwood (a postman) at Walsden Parish church on 6th November 1902. On 25th July 1905, John Edward dies aged just 32 years old. Betsy moves back to live with her parents and brothers at 771 Rochdale Road. By 1918, it appears that it’s now just Betsy and her brother William living at the address. Her mother died in 1914 and at least one brother is currently fighting in the 1st World War.

On 15th January 1918, Betsy disappears.

(Todmorden & District News – Friday 15 February 1918)



“Last Saturday afternoon, Deputy Coroner Norris held an inquiry at the Town Hall in reference to the death of Betsy Eastwood, of 771, Rochdale Road, Walsden, whose body had been found in the canal the previous Thursday.

Wm. Scholfield, brother of the deceased (with whom she resided), identified the body. Deceased, he said, was a widow, and was 43 years of age. She had not enjoyed good health for the past few years, and at the beginning of November she was attended by Dr. Stevenson for a nervous breakdown. The doctor told them she would want watching. She was hysterical at that time, but she seemed to improve somewhat, although she had occasional fits of depression.

The Coroner: Did she ever make any statement that would lead you to suppose she would do something? — Witness: She once said she thought she would never be right until she got into a wooden box, but when I have talked to her, she said we had no occasion to be frightened, that she would not do any harm to herself. She had fretted about her younger brother, who was in France, especially when letters did not arrive regularly. Witness went on to say that she disappeared on January 15th, and although inquiries were made amongst all the friends of the family, both in the district and at Littleborough and Rochdale, nothing could be ascertained as to her whereabouts. On Thursday, Reuben Hiley, of Gauxholme Lock House, told him they were going to draw off the water at Nip Square Pool, Walsden, so that they could repair the lock head. He went to see the water drawn off, and the body was found embedded in the mud in the middle of the bed of the canal. It was very bad to get at, and they had to get waders on, and get some pieces of wood, on to which they floated the body. On account of the position of her clothes he could not identify the body just then, but next morning he went down to the mortuary, and he had no doubt that the body was that of his sister, although her face was much swollen and dark coloured.

Reuben Hiley, Lock House, Gauxholme, spoke to drawing off the water at Nip Square, for the purpose of carrying out some repairs to the lock head. They found the body fast in the the mud in the bed of the canal, the head and the upper part being completely covered. The body had probably been in the water for some time, and would have remained there a long time if the water had not been drawn off.

Elizabeth Cryer, 1, Bar Street, said she prepared the body for burial. There were no marks on the body, but judging by appearances, it had probably been in the water a fortnight or three weeks.

The jury returned a verdict of suicide whilst of unsound mind.”

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