18.21 – Frances, Minnie and Annie Verity (unmarked)

Researching the Todmorden families that came before us is a wonderful privilege and highly rewarding thing to do, every single name provides a whole new and entirely different story, you just never know where the research will take you. Sometimes you have a giggle at something quirky, sometimes it’s simply ‘wow’, quite often though (especially when your starting point is a gravestone) what you find out is instantly sad. Over 3,000 individuals researched so far at Christ Church, so many stories and emotions, but not yet desensitised …

Thomas and Mary Jane Verity came to Todmorden from Everton with their three young daughters, but ultimately, they didn’t settle in Todmorden for long … Their three little girls: Frances (4), Minnie (5) and Annie (6) were suddenly taken ill at the Fielden hospital with diphtheria, where they sadly didn’t recover. Frances and Minnie were buried together on the 15th June 1897 and Annie joined them 3 days later. Thomas and Mary Jane had suddenly lost everything, I can’t comprehend what that must have felt like. Frances, Minnie and Annie are buried in an unmarked grave at Christ Church (row 18, number 21). Thomas and Mary Jane soon afterwards moved to Burnley and went on to have 2 more daughters; Ethel and Mary.

Just a few plots away at row 18, number 13 are the Dennett children (nieces and nephews of Fred Dennett, the hand bell ringer who rests in the vault section of the yard). Siblings : Jessie (15) and Arnold (2), both died from scarlatina in 1905. Their sister Gladys (5) who died less than a month previously must also be buried close by. What makes it even more painful is that that their mother Fanny was dealing with this all alone as she had been widowed in 1902.

Row 18 is a particularly sad row, the research continues …

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