Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fearless Females: Female ancestor who died young

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family.

Mary Creak Smith, my great-great-grandmother, was born in Sutterton, Lincolnshire, England about 1830.  She was twenty-five when she married Samuel Rason in Boston, Lincolnshire in 1855.  Samuel was a mariner with the merchant marine when he married and when my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Rason was born in 1856.

The family grew to six children by the end of 1871 but by this time Samuel was master of his own fishing boat called the Magic.  Circumstances changed for the Rason family and they moved from Boston, north to Grimsby.  Mary was forty-four years old when she gave birth to her seventh child, Robert in 1874.  This child died as an infant.  She once again fell pregnant and an unnamed male child was born and died just before his mother.

Although Mary's death registration states she was forty-two years old when she died, she was actually forty-six, too old to bear a child, but much too young to die.  She died at home on Freeman Street in Grimsby on March 17, 1876 and she was listed as the wife of Samuel Rason, greengrocer.  The cause of death was "puerperal Peritonitis", also known as childbed fever.  Samuel was not the informant for the death registration, it was a neighbour, Hannah Lee.

So there was Samuel, no longer a master of his own boat, just a greengrocer or fruiterer left with five living children.  What did he do?  He took up with Mary's younger sister, Sarah Ann Smith.  Sam and Sarah Ann's first child was born in Grimsby on August 4, 1897, less than seventeen months after Mary's death.  I have no record of a marriage, perhaps because marriage to a wife's sister was forbidden by law in England at that time.  The family moved to Canada before the turn of the century and I haven't found a marriage after the emigration either.  Sarah Ann was known as Grandma Rason to all the descendants of Samuel.

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