The theme this week for #52Ancestors is Gone too soon and I decided to write about Mary Rusbridge my 2x great grandmother who died after giving birth at the age of 28. I have many occurrences on my tree of young women dying early in childbirth and much has been written about the reasons why families in the Victorian period had big families and young women died so often in childbirth which I will not repeat here but I will retell Mary’s story as a testament to those young women so that they won’t be forgotten.
Mary was born on 21 October 1854 in Godstone in Surrey to John Rusbridge and his wife, Ann formerly Roffey. She had seven younger siblings, Ann born 1859, Emily born 1862, John born 1865, William born 1866, Thomas born 1869, Robert born 1872 and Edith born 1875. The family lived at Blindley Heath where on the 19 November 1854, Mary was baptised.
The family appear on the 1861 census at Hollands Farm in Godstone, John was a Farm Carter and Mary was a scholar. Ann was 2 years old. Lodging with the family was James Payne aged 52, a Bricklayer’s labourer and William Quickenden aged 25, a Carpenter’s apprentice. The Payne family later became connected through the marriage of Mary’s son Albert and Emily Payne, my great grandmother. I believe that the families all knew each other because they belonged to a non conformist chapel but that has not been proved.
By the time of the 1871 census Mary had left home and was a servant at High Trees, in Reigate. She was a kitchenmaid. I have yet to investigate High Trees.
She married William Andrew Terry on 21 October 1879 at Blindley Heath. His father was Thomas Terry, a labourer, probably agricultural. The two witnesses to the marriage were Thomas Terry, possibly William’s father and Ruth Roffey, probably a relative of her mothers.
In 1881, she was at Old Park Farm Cottage, Bletchingley with William who was an Agricultural Labourer and Albert John, my great grandfather was 11 months old. Also living with the family were William Rusbridge aged 14 and William Roffey aged 17. Both were agricultural labourers. William Rusbridge was one of her younger brothers and William Roffey could well be a cousin.
On the 30 March 1883 Mary gave birth to a daughter, Ethel Mary at Anchor Field Cottages in Godstone and unfortunately by 4 April she had died from a Phlegmasia dolens thrombosis, better known as a deep vein thrombosis today. The risk of DVT can be increased during pregnancy but today mothers to be are checked if likely to be at risk and measures can be put in place to mitigate against it. Sadly for Mary in 1883 this was not the case. The witness to both the birth of Ethel and the death of her mother was M Winchester who on the death certificate was described as Aunt. At the moment I am not sure who she was. Mary was buried at Blindley Heath on 7 April 1883. Poor William was left with two young children but as was quite common in those days, he married again in April 1885 to Edith Knight and they had 11 children. Albert became the Postmaster at Lingfield. I have not managed to find any information after her birth about Ethel Mary yet.