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Mary Pearson

UPDATE 2004: A further search for Mary in 1861, 1871 & 1881 censuses finds her as a "pauper patient" in the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum in Wandsworth, London. The name "Mary Dewhurst" in the right age range and listed as the wife of a police constable provided the information we needed to initially establish her as our Mary. Mary was admitted to the Surrey Lunatic Asylum on 4 January 1854 and discharged "condition not improved" 29 February 1884 to Cane Hill Asylum, Coulsdon, Surrey.

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Family of Thomas Pearson and ???

Thomas Pearson
Abt. 1801 
 ? Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, England
 Lydia ? [1]
Mary Pearson [2]
abt. 1818
24 September 1893
Cane Hill Asylum, Guildford, London
10 December 1840
Old Church, St. Pancras, Middlesex, London, England
William Henry Dewhurst

[1] The only Thomas, shoemaker, age 40, I can find in 1841 (one year after Mary married and he was identified with this occupation) was born in Cambridgeshire, England and lives in Whittlesey, St Mary and St Andrew; Hundred: Witchford (North) (Isle of Ely) with a wife named Lydia, age 45, born there as well. These folks are possible candidates as Mary's parents, but not proved ... until we find other, better information, based upon Thomas' occupation we will "bookmark" him as the likely father of Mary.

[2] Witnesses to the marriage of Mary Pearson and William Henry Dewhurst were John Shaw and Elizabeth Dewhurst.  While her marriage record tells us she is the son of Thomas, a shoemaker, who lived in Camden Town then, until 2004, the only information we had for her was an entry in the 1841 census where she is enumerated in June as married, but shows up living alone without her new husband:

Marylebone, St. Pancras, Camden Villas, Kentish Town, house 5B, pg. 12:
Mary Dewhurst, age 20 (which means 20-24 in this census) married, born out of county.

We do not know where William Henry was on the night of the 1841 enumeration, perhaps he was out working the night police shift? The children of this couple were born in 1841, 1843 and 1849 however, in the March 1851 census enumeration, William shows up with the older children living on Ballard's Lane where William James (my great grandfather) was born the following February.

77 Ballard’s Lane – Ivy Cottage, Finchley, Middlesex, London

William DEWHURST Head, Married, age 35, Police Constable, born Hackney
Caroline DEWHURST Daur. Age 9 born St. Pancras
Mary Elizabeth DEWHURST Daur, age 7 born St. Pancras (never married)
Madeline DEWHURST Daur, age 2 born Finchley

In both 1861 and 1871, William again shows up alone with all the children and listed as married ... he was faithful to their marriage, despite the circumstances.

Mary Dewhurst nee Pearson suffered her first attack of dementia at the age of 30 (1848) which places the beginnings of her problems just before the birth of her daughter Madeline, at a time in the life of the family where there is a five year gap in births - generally unusual, but understandable here. It is not yet clear whether she was hospitalized between 1848 and 1854, but given that she was not enumerated with the family in 1851, it is possible she was institutionalized then ... Perhaps it was identified that she had problems, but she was actually not hospitalized until 1854. What we can surmise is that either she was in and out of the hospital in this time period or conjugal visits to the hospital were permitted in order for Mary to bring Madeline in 1849 and William James in 1852 into the world. After 1854, these children were raised without a mother at home.

Mary was transferred from Surrey Lunatic Asylum to Cane Hill Asylum 17 March 1890 at the age of 72, 14 years after her husband had died. Her illness is "dementia" and her bodily condition is "feeble." Poor Mary still cannot be connected to her family of birth and we still do not know where she was born, except "out of County." . From the addresses shown in further censuses, it is logical to conclude that the family continued to live close to her so they could interact with her until her death. Two of her three daughters became private nurses.

Assuming Mary is in the 1881 census, it is hard to identify her as only initials are used for patients. The most likely records identify "M. D., Patient, W, Female, 62, Laborer's Wife" at Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum in Surrey; "M.A. D.,  Patient, W, Female, 63, London, London, Middlesex, England,  Formerly Laundress" at City Of London Lunatic Asylum, Stone In Dartford, Kent, England; or "M. D., Other, U, Female, 62, Needlework at Middlesex Co Lunatic Asylum, Friern Barnet, Middlesex, England. When Mary went to Cane Hill Asylum 29 February 1884, she was admitted as patient no. 507 and registered under her maiden name, Mary Pearson. The Poor Law Union was Epsom Board of Guardians.  She left Cane Hill 17 Mar 1890 for Springfield Hospital. Mary died died 24 September 1893, Cane Hill Asylum, Guildford, London.

Records for Springfield Hospital, Wandsworth, held at the London Metro Archives show the following entry in the index to medical case books (female) c1878-c1938 (ref 6367/1/16):

Mary Dewhurst, patient no. 1394, discharged 29 February 1884.

Thanks to the efforts of a wonderful local volunteer, we have finally established Mary's full story:

Female Case Book 15   ref: 3043/5/9/2/21  page 1; does list Wm. Dewhurst, Finchley, Middlesex as her husband, so we definitely have the correct woman. Medical Certificate states:

From incoherence of replies, laughing immoderately and indication of countenance of insanity. Refuses food and has before been under confinement. MD has been Ramble in conversation and has very little memory. Feeble health and rather thin condition. Has an old injury to leg and is confined to chair.
Very little known about this patient. Has been in Cane Hill Asylum since Feb 1884. Cause not known. On her admission she was suffering from Dementia.....Fickle both in mind and body. Physically in thin condition. Has an old injury to her leg which prevents her walking.
24th March:    Remains in the same dull and demented state as when she was admitted.
April 9:    The same
May 4:    The same
June 17:    Dementural changes
July 25:    The same in every respect
Oct 25:    Remains in the same dull and demented state as when she was admitted
1891 Jan 31:    Dementia - vacant and apathetic, is at times quite lost. Sits in one position. In failing health - thin and weakly.
May 10:    In the same demented state as at the time of the last report.
Aug 17:     Remains the same
Nov 20:    The same
1892 Feb 4:    Much the same in every respect as at the time of the last report.
May 6:    The same
July 13:    The same
Oct 13:    The same
1893 Jan 13:    No internal change except that due to increased age.
Apr 13:    The same
June 27:    Much the same
July 27:    Mostly she remains the same but her bodily health is gradually failing day by day.
Aug 20:    Is confined to her bed for the greater part of the day on account of her weakly condition.
Sep 26:    After the time of the last note got rapidly worse and sank and died.
Cause of Death - Organic disease of the brain / Exhaustion"  

Death information is as follows:

"I hereby give you notice that Mary Dewhurst, aged 75, Housewife, a Pauper Patient, received into this asylum on the 17th day of March 1890, died therein in the presence of Nurse Mary Shefford on the 24th day of September,1893.  
Signed: ? ? Stone, Clerk to the Asylum
Dated the 26th day of September One Thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety Three
I certify that the apparent cause of death of the said Mary Dewhurst (as ascertained by post mortem examination) was organic disease of the brain/exhaustion.
Signed: Francis Carteret Eayton, Medical Officer" 

Mary is buried in Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey. We still have no information on her family ties, but will continue to research. What a sad story to learn.

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