9.35 – Marian, Susannah, Wilbert, Harry and Leonard Anderton

Following from our other post about this family double plot, here are the “wives and children” – the wives of Theodora’s two sons, and three of Theodora’s grandsons.

Remember us saying that Marian and Susannah Horsfall were both close neighbours of the Andertons in Lydgate? They were close in more than just proximity – Marian and Susannah were sisters.

The daughters of Jeremiah and Mary Horsfall, Marian was born first in 1870, and Susannah in 1872. Jeremiah and Mary were themselves offcumden, born in Kildwick and Southport respectively, and had settled in Todmorden after years of travelling around with him working as a plasterer. In fact Marian, Susannah and their son Albert were the only three of their six children born in Todmorden.

(As an aside, Jeremiah, Mary, Albert, and Albert’s wife Betty are buried at 27.54.)

Marian and Susannah both became cotton spinners and this is as likely to be how they met the Anderton boys as it is for them to have lived nearby. As we said in the previous post, Marian married William first in 1895, and Susannah married John Stephen in 1898.

Marian and William never had children, whereas Susannah and John Stephen did. Marian, as we saw before, moved away from Todmorden with William for a time, but came back with him presumably because of his poor health after 1929. In the meantime Susannah and John Stephen started their family; first Harry in 1900, then Wilbert in 1902. Wilbert died before his first year was out and is buried here. Next was Leonard, born in 1909. Finally Eric was born in 1910, but he also died soon after, and his death was a sad one that made the newspapers and which drew his grandmother Theodora in as a witness.

Eric was born under normal circumstances and seemed well at first, but “a bit cross” as the inquest heard. The day after he was born, he was found dead in the bed with Susannah, who was herself well but fast asleep. We know now, of course, that co-sleeping has to be carefully planned and carried out to not be a dangerous activity, and that 52% of sudden infant death cases are directly due to a parent or older sibling sleeping in the same bed as a baby. Back then, though, it was common…as was high child mortality rates. Poor Susannah. She wasn’t really to know, and this was her second loss. It must have been hard to bear, especially when an inquest had to be held and a verdict like Eric’s, “accidentally suffocated while in bed with its mother”, given.

More death was yet to follow, with John Stephen dying three years later at only 39 years old. Much like Theodora’s mother, Susannah remarried relatively quickly, this time to John William Hoyle of Walsden in 1916. Brother Albert and sister in law Betty witnessed the marriage. The family moved to Darwen, and Susannah died there in 1920 aged 48. She was brought back to be buried with her two baby sons.

If Leonard had stayed away for any stretch of time, he was soon back in Todmorden and living at Burnley Road – appearing in the newspapers in 1927, aged 18, winning a prize in a competition laid on by the Todmorden Chamber of Trade. Because of the difficulty with later public records, Leonard’s life trajectory is difficult to trace. What we do know is that in 1939 he was helping support his aunt and uncle, as we saw; he was a tailor by trade, though unemployed in 1939; and in 1958 at the age of 49, he married for the first and only time, to Irene Howarth. He died a year later in 1959.

Why such a late marriage? Had he been waiting for his obligations to lessen, just as his aunt Elizabeth had? His aunt Marian, after all, had died in 1950 and uncle William in 1954. Or maybe the small but still useful inheritance he received from them gave him, the unemployed tailor, a little more leeway to live his life as well. Interestingly, Irene had been left widowed in 1956 when her first husband, Norman, killed himself aged only 36 after finding out that he had a second form of cancer after undergoing an operation for another type. Maybe Irene had found herself in the same situation as Elizabeth Sherington and Susannah Anderton had, and her second chance at happiness was Leonard’s first. It’s even sadder to consider how short a marriage the two had under those circumstances.

Regardless of whether the timing seems fair for anyone involved, Leonard was the last person into this grave. And that ends our not too long, but definitely complex and interwoven, story for 9.35.

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