William Hiscock and Ada Susanna Copperthwaite were my great, great-grandparents. This is where they are situated in my family tree:
William was born on the 5th May 1865 in Midanbury, South Stoneham, and was baptised on the 4th June that year:
Ada was born on the 31st December 1868 in Southampton. I haven’t found a baptism record for her, but this is a copy of her birth record:
Ada was the second of seven children born to Alfred Flint Copperthwaite and Clara Copperthwaite (née Carter).
You’ve seen William on the census returns living with his mother, Emma, so I will tell you about Ada, and where she was living prior to her marriage to William.
This is Ada and her family on the 1871 census return:
They were living in Duke Street, in the St Mary’s area of Southampton, where, at that time, Ada was the youngest in her family.
Ten years later, the family had increased in size, and they had moved to 3 Spa Court Road in the parish of Southampton All Saints:
Ada’s father was a dock labourer, and her elder brother was a butcher’s assistant. Ada and her other siblings were all of school age.
William and Ada were married on the 6th April 1889 in Southampton, Hampshire:
William was a labourer and living at 16 Northam Road, Southampton, and Ada was living at 3 Spa Road, Southampton. From this marriage, there were six children, and they were: Fanny (1890-1969), Albert Edward (1892-1893), Edith Flora (1893-1959), Emma Louise (1895-1918), William Charles (1900-1903), and Albert Edward, my great-grandfather (1902-1954).
The first record that the family appeared on was the 1891 census return:
They were living at Jubilee Cottage, Commercial Street, South Stoneham, Hampshire, where William was a general labourer.
The next and final census return that William appeared on was the 1901 census:
This time, the family were living in Chapel Street, Bitterne, Southampton, where William was an oil mill machine minder.
A year later, things had taken a turn for the worse for William. On the 21st March 1902, William was sentenced to three months imprisonment, with hard labour, to Winchester Prison at Southampton County Petty Sessions for neglecting his children and assault. On the 2nd April 1902, he was admitted to the Hampshire County Lunatic Asylum at Knowle, Fareham. He had been certified insane, with Dr I. Richards providing the following comments about him: (1). The prisoner is either quiet, stupid, answering questions with a marked slur in his enunciation, or very violent; (2). Hospital Warden, Leonard, Winchester informs me that suddenly and without apparent cause, smashed all the furniture and fittings of his cell.
On admission, it was stated that “he is very childish, weak-minded and full of self-satisfaction. He tells me most unimportant trifles and boasts how strong he is and how fat he is growing. Speech slurring and rather drawling and monotonous. He was a resident of Knowle Asylum until his death on the 18th August 1903. The cause of his death was colitis – 16 days. As you can see, he spent considerably longer in the asylum than the original sentence of three months. This information was found in the Knowle Asylum admission book from 1902, held at the Hampshire Archives, Winchester.
Ada would have been left to bring up a young family by herself. I wonder how she felt about what had happened to her husband, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and subsequent admission to the asylum.
Ada re-married in the first quarter (Jan-Mar) of 1908 in Southampton to John O’Grady:
From this marriage, there was one child, and she was Ada Susanna O’Grady (1908-1986).
I couldn’t find Ada and her family on the 1911 census return, but I did manage to find her on the 1939 Register:
This 1939 Register shows that Ada was in a Public Assistance Institution in St Mary’s Street, Southampton. This particular building used to be a workhouse in the 1800s, nowadays, it is a sixth form college called City College. The date of birth on this record is incorrect by a day, as I have the correct date of birth confirmed on her birth certificate.
Ada passed away on the 25th March 1946 at Moorgreen Hospital, West End, Southampton aged 77. The cause of her death was: chronic bronchitis, myocardial degeneration, and chronic cholecystitis. Her death was certified by A.H. Burnett MRCS.