Elizabeth Brown Anderson/Edgar
(ca1832-25 August 1882)
Elizabeth (ca1832-25 August 1882)(CR) is likely to have been named after an Elizabeth Brown from her maternal grandmother’s family. Surmising from the Andersons’ sort-of adherence to traditional naming patterns, perhaps this person was Elizabeth’s maternal great-grandmother (Martha Brown’s mother).
I have found no record of Elizabeth’s birth but the 1841 census
gives her age as 10 and she was 19 in the 1851 census, placing her arrival to the family in about 1831/32. It may have been an unremarkable practice to not record the birth of children born subsequent to a sibling’s death although there should be baptism records, you would think. Elizabeth is missing from the entries for her parents in the 1861 census. Her father’s will, written in 1858, has her in Dundee, rather than living at Mount Rosa. In 1871, she was living with her sister, Maria, in Halifax.
In 1874, aged 42, she married Donald Ramsey Edgar (DRE, of
whom more later) in Bradford Cathedral. The occupation of both their fathers was that of banker. Her sister, Maria, was a witness to the marriage. Elizabeth may have already been living in DRE’s house, caring for his two children after their mother (Elizabeth’s younger sister, Ellen)
died and the marriage entered into to regularise the arrangement.
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. Ellen 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