S5.7 – John, Mary Ann, Henry Whittaker and Rosa Ann Stott

In our post about the Sefton/Scriven family, we asked the question: who’s John Stott? He’s named on the 1980 transcript as being buried here, but we have a photo of their gravestone, and he isn’t on it.

Well, the Seftons are at S4.7…and at S5.7, we found Mary Ann, Henry Whittaker and Rosa Ann Stott. Because we had looked into John, we knew he had a daughter in law named Rosa. Clearly, this is his family. Is this another situation where a sidestone got separated from its companions and someone was incorrectly marked as buried in another spot? Very likely. But as we aren’t allowed underneath, we don’t know for sure.

John Stott was born in 1826, a year after his future wife, Mary Ann Whitaker. Both their fathers worked in weaving, and both themselves worked as weavers before their marriage in 1846 – he as a tackler and her as a cotton winder. They settled first at George Street, later Victoria Terrace, near Toad Carr, and then on to Lineholme – following the work from mill to mill. Their only child Henry Whittaker Stott was born in 1854.

John became an overlooker, and as Henry got older, he took on a job as a grocer’s assistant. He must have gotten some ideas from that and convinced his father to join him in this new profession, and in 1881 John and Henry are both working as grocers and the family had moved to Patmos. Another change by 1881 was Henry’s marital status – from unmarried to married, and also a father. He had married Rosa Ann Merry in 1875 and they had welcomed a son, Walter, in 1877.

Rosa was born in 1854 in Middlesex. She says this most of the time, although in 1901 she gives her place of birth as Liverpool. On the marriage certificate she gives her father’s name as Alfred Merry and his occupation as “music seller”. This makes sense given that John, as we know, had a musical bent (and in fact by 1881 had “professor of music” next to his daytime occupation of overlooker). The problem is that we cannot track Rosa and Alfred down prior to that marriage certificate. Is the changing place of birth a clue as to something suspicious going on? Was “Rosa Ann Merry” a pseudonym? We may never know.

Rosa and Henry had two children, Walter and Maud. Their marriage didn’t last long. Tragically, Henry died young, in 1883, aged just 29. The cause of death was curious, and we got a medical lesson from looking it up.

Anasarca is when organ failure means that the body swells up, because fluid begins leaking into body cavities. The death certificate indicates that Henry’s heart disease caused his blood flow to be impaired and fluid leakage to have begun occurring because of that. It’s an awful thing for such a young man to suffer and must have seemed incomprehensible to his wife and parents.

The next casualty in this family, just three years later, was poor Mary Ann who died due to an accident involving the steep stairs in their home above the grocers at 20 Patmos. A neighbour came round asking for change for something he was paying them for, and she went upstairs to get her purse, against John and the neighbour’s suggestions. Apparently Mary Ann suffered from sciatica later in life and was sometimes unsteady on her feet. On her descent, she tripped, and fell down the stairs and never regained consciousness.

Todmorden District News, October 22nd 1886

Rosa and her children continued to live with John for many years afterwards, with the occasional lodger supplementing their income. John retired from the grocery business and changed the shop from a grocer’s to a pianoforte and harmonium tuning and repairing shop (and from the sound of his advertisement, where he also made them). Later the family moved to Wellington Road.

Todmorden Advertiser, 1889

John died in 1906 and, as we said before, is supposedly buried with the Seftons. We assert that this is a mistake and he’s buried here, with his family.

After John’s death Rosa moved a few doors down, to 27 Wellington Road, and continued to take in lodgers. Her house in 1911 looks like it would have been interesting to sit in on: two lodgers, Charles Pearson and Ernest Farrar, were bus drivers and mechanics employed by the Todmorden Corporation. Her other two lodgers were Louisa King and Edith Hart. Louisa’s occupation was given as “traveller”, and her employer as the Institute for the Blind in Bradford. Edith is described as a “traveller’s assistant”.

Thinking about it, the dinner table conversations must have been VERY interesting, as in 1913 Maud and Charles Pearson were married at Christ Church. The couple moved to Batley, with Rosa in tow. It was there that she died two years later, and she was brought back to be buried with her husband, mother in law, and (we’re sure of it) father in law.

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  1. Pingback:S4.7 – The Sefton family, Frances Jane Scrivener, and John Stott – F.O.C.C.T.

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