Thursday, 5 May 2016

Week Eighteen: Death of a Salford Prisoner

I have seen countless genealogy shows where the subject clearly states that they hope some sort of scoundrel is found in their family history.  At first I was horrified at the thought and then I came to realize that it does indeed make a family tree a tad more colorful and diverse.

There have been some criminals in the past and present day with the name of Palin.  I have not found a link to these people.  There was a much covered case where a Robert Thomas Palin, shoemaker, was indicted for murder and sent to Australia and then murdered again there and was hung in 1861.  As far as I can tell he was from a London branch of the family and no connection…as of yet.

I will periodically came across a newspaper clipping where a family member was fined for swearing or public intoxication or some other minor offence.  To me this is not big news and it does not necessarily define the person’s character.

I have just recently come across another case of public intoxication, however I think there is a tragic story behind this one.  This was found in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser March 5, 1909

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser March 5, 1909
 Too many questions arise over this article.  Where was Elizabeth’s husband?  Why was she drinking so heavily?  What is missing here?

We can see on Elizabeth and Robert’s marriage document that they married Christmas Day in 1893 in Wales.  What a great start, I can hear the church bells outside the church promising a wedded bliss.

Rhyl Journal December 30 1893
I can’t find any children born until 1896.   This may seem very normal today, but back then most first children were born within the first two years of the marriage if not before the first anniversary.  The missing information can mean one of two things – they tried to have children and failed or children were created and had died.

Their first recorded child born was Frederick John Palin born probably sometime late 1896 and he was baptized Jan 3 1897 in Hartford Cheshire.

The second child was Alice Dorothy Palin born sometime in 1898 and was christened Oct 27, 1898 in the Holy Trinity Church in Northwich.  Then every mother’s worst nightmare happens.  She leaves the room for a short time and comes back and finds the child dead.

 Liverpool Mercury November 24, 1899

 The third child was Arthur Palin born sometime in 1901 and was christened May 6 1901 in the Holy Trinity Church in Northwich.

In 1901 the census was taken on March 31 and we find Robert at age 31, Elizabeth is age 27 Frederick is age 4 and Arthur is age one month.  Elizabeth Ann’s younger sister Martha age 20 is also living there perhaps to assist with the birth of the new baby.  They are living on Wellington Street in Northwich and Robert’s occupation given is boiler maker.

Another nightmare occurs in 1902.  The first born son Frederick John Palin dies at the young age of 4 or 5.  His death is recorded in the last quarter of 1902.  I have not been able to find any newspaper article that would cover young Fred’s untimely death so am I not sure why he died. 

Then the fourth child, Robert Alfred Palin, is born sometime in 1903/1904 and is baptized on January 28 1904 in the Holy Trinity Church in Northwich.  Unfortunately we also find his death recorded in the third quarter of 1904.  I can already feel Elizabeth Ann’s sorrow and pain.  To lose one child is bad enough but three is unimaginable.

The fifth child, Harold Palin, is born on December 29 1905 and is baptized on May 6 1906 in Rhuddlan, Flintshire.  Perhaps at this point the family has moved back to Wales to be closer to Elizabeth parents for support.

The sixth child Doris Palin is born in 1907/1908 and is baptized Feb 8 1908 in in the Holy Trinity Church in Northwich.  We also find Doris death is recorded in the second quarter of 1908.

So a less than a year later in March 1909 we find where Elizabeth Ann has virtually drank herself to death.  To be honest, I believe she never got over the guilt of young Alice’s death in 1898 and then the loss of Fred and Arthur were bad enough but then the final loss of Doris put her over the edge.  While I may not agree with her actions, I certainly cannot blame her.  There are still so many unanswered questions regarding this story.  Was Elizabeth Ann a drunk from the start and the four children died from neglect?  Or with each child’s death did Elizabeth sink further into a depression that only a bottle could cure?  I think that we can all agree on one thing; it is indeed a sad story with a tragic ending. 

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