Friday, December 18, 2020

Mary Vernon: a few days a bride


I plucked this Staffordshire lassie from today's vast crop on e-bay. There was something about her ..

Also it's hay-in-the-barn day, so I wanted a quickie and she was labelled ...

Mary Vernon, Uttoxeter, married R Fletcher.... born? died? Easy. Mary Vernon married Samuel Richard Fletcher, about July-August 1868.

Mary Fletcher died Uttoxeter 29 August 1868. Why? How? You know, she has 'Sissi' eyes: the knowingly ill-fated regard

So, who was Mary? Mary was born at the beginning of 1842, the first daughter of Mr John Vernon and his second wife, Anne née Petts. Sounds straightforward? Not really. John Vernon, from Burslem, who ran a cork-cutting business, was sixty-five years old. He had been married en premier noces (28 December 1820) to Margaret Willson, by whom he had one surviving son, John (11 September 1825). Margaret died 14 May 1835, and in 1839 John remarried: Anne Petts (1813-1895) was thirty-five years his junior and extremely fertile. Over the next decade she would give him four sons and three daughters:  Thomas 1840-1871), Mary (1842-1868), Henry (1843-1878), Elizabeth (Mrs Pugh 1844-1929), William (1847-?), Margaret (1848-1866), James (1850-1887). Were the drains in Uttoxeter so very bad? Seemingly only one child survived its thirties, and Ann outlived all but her second daughter. And her stepson (d 27 October 1880). John himself died in 1856, and John jt took over the cork-cutting business form the property in Uttoxeter's Balance Street. I see that in 1863 he was flush enough to lend one George Kirk a huge thousand pounds ...

Anyway, they all lived together in Balance Street where they can be seen in the 1861 census -- mother and eight children with a couple of servants. By 1871 the rot had set in. Only John, Thomas and James remain. Mary and Margaret are dead, Elizabeth married ... and shortly after Thomas too would pass away. William and Henry are AWOL, but Henry too had only a half-dozen years to live.

Back to Mary. She married Mr Samuel Richard Fletcher (b Linton, Burton on Trent 1842) ... and died very shortly after.  Richard remarried (Catherine Susan Bull) and bred freely, rose eventually from being a bank clark to a bank-manager with the Burton Union Bank and ultimately Lloyd's Bank, and died a comfortably-off man at Heath Close, Uttoxeter 21 April 1929.

So, who kept poor Mary's photograph? Who annotated it, years after, with her birth name and her briefly-married name, yet didnt know when she was born, or more surprisingly, the rather notable timing and circumstances of her death. 

I don't see any other photos from the same family ...

The hay is spun .... roll on, the baler!!! Ooooh, haymaking is nerve-racking!!!! 

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