Elizabeth Brown Anderson/Edgar
(ca1832-25 August 1882)
Elizabeth was missing from the entries for her parents in the 1861 census. Before that, she was a scholar in her parents’ house. Her father’s will, written in 1858, places her in Dundee, rather than living at Mount Rosa. In 1871, she was living with her sister, Maria, in Halifax.
In 1874, she married Donald Ramsey Edgar (of whom more later) in Bradford Cathedral. She may have already been living in DRE’s house, caring for his two children after their mother died and the marriage entered into to regularize the arrangement. Their fathers, both bankers, witnessed the event.
Then, in April 1882, she made the papers for all the wrong reasons when she was found by the coroner to have committed suicide. Her death certificate says “Died from having strangled herself with a Handkerchief placed around her Neck and Tied to the pillar of a Bed while in a state of Temporary insanity”. Without having any idea of how Elizabeth’s life was, it may be that suicide was a rational choice, as she saw it. Her sister, Ellen, DRE’s first wife, had died horribly and she, herself being ill, may have feared doing the same. It may also be that a verdict of ‘temporary insanity’ absolved any suggestion of intent so allowing her burial in consecrated ground. But, boy, she must have been determined. It can’t have been easy to die by hanging herself using a scarf and her bedpost.
Saturday 27 May 1882
British Newspaper Archives