3.26 – James, Laura Ellen, and Julia Virginia Violetta Taylor

Julia was born a Crossland in 1860, and was first married to John William Howarth in 1879 before marrying James Taylor in 1885 after being widowed a year earlier. James was from Shawforth, born the same year as Julia. In 1888 they set sail for the USA, for reasons we can’t quite work out, and lived there for seven years. Julia had two children from her first marriage and one of them accompanied her and James to Maine. James and Julia had five children together, three of whom were born in the US.

We found out more about this trip by reading that the Taylors were, on their return to Tod, briefly minor celebrities. They had spent their return voyage on a ship, the Sarnia, that found itself in a right pickle; rudderless, adrift, with a deck “strewn with dead and dying sheep” (!!), and then nearly sunken a few times along the remainder of its journey. The Todmorden Advertiser duly covered both Julia’s account and James’s, and James supplied the information that they would have gladly stayed in Maine except that he had problems with bronchitis, and had been told by a doctor to go out west where the climate was warm and dry. James decided he’d much rather go back to Tod than start over…what his doctor said when he found out James was coming back to here of all places to cure his bronchitis would probably be unprintable. When they first returned to Todmorden they lived on Whiteplatts Street, later moving to Broad Street and then to Barker Street.

The Taylors on the 1901 Census – note that Laura Ellen’s name is misrecorded as “Sarah E[llen]”

Laura was one of the three children born in the US, and we couldn’t find any mention of why she might have died young or why the epitaph “a patient sufferer at rest” would be carved alongside her name. Neither the 1901 or 1911 census make reference to any illnesses or infirmities, although it’s interesting that in 1911 everyone else in the family is at work or school apart from her. Clearly whatever was wrong didn’t fall under the category of congenital illnesses (blind, deaf, “imbecile”) and so wasn’t recorded. Her death notice in the Todmorden District News also makes no mention of an illness, long or short. Her death record eventually arrived from the GRO and gave the cause as “aortic and mitral disease, 3rd stage of incompetence”. This would have meant the two valves on the left side of Laura’s heart were narrowed or unable to close properly and she would have had a multitude of symptoms that basically rendered her housebound at that particular time. The cause could have been congenital, or due to syphilis, or (most commonly) complications from rheumatic fever. The death registration notes that she was attended at the end by her stepbrother Edgar, Julia’s son from her first marriage.

Laura Ellen Taylor’s death registration, 1912

Julia’s parents, Joseph and Mary, are buried in the private grounds of the church. Her sister Betsy Hannah is most likely at 51.57 under a plot marer marked F. V., and her other sister Laura Ellen is buried at 8.38. James’s parents stayed in the Shawforth and Burnley area and are not buried in Todmorden.

Julia died in 1924 and James in 1937, both in Rochdale.

One Comment

  1. Pingback:51.57 – Fielden and Betsy Hannah Varley – F.O.C.C.T.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *