Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Trigger Warning: Suicide in Hackney in 1884

St John the Baptist, Crondall Street, Hoxton
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon - geograph.org.uk/p/2624795

Stephen Thomas Wilton, like his brother, Henry Staines Wilton, was twice blood related to me, being both my 1st cousin 4 times removed and my 2nd cousin 4 times removed. Unlike his older brother, who died leaving a large fortune, Stephen Thomas Wilton committed suicide. The newspaper reports of the time give more detail than we're used to reading today, so I feel it's fair to issue a trigger warning. Please DON'T read on if it may cause you any distress. 

You may prefer to visit: How to get help in a crisis.

Otherwise: Second child of Henry Wilton and Sarah Staines, Stephen Thomas Wilton was baptised on 29 May 1842 at St Giles Church, Mountnessing

In 1861, Stephen (19), at home with his parents in the High Street, Great Dunmow is already listed as a Cabinet Maker. Still there in 1871, Stephen Thos., aged 29, is once again described as a Cabinet Maker. The Post Office Directory of Essex 1874 lists Stephen Thomas Wilton, cabinet maker too.

St John the Baptist, Crondall Street, Hoxton
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon - geograph.org.uk/p/2624595

Stephen Thomas Wilton married Sarah Anna Laver (b. 1854) on 21 Feb 1874 in Shoreditch at the church of St. John the Baptist, Hoxton. The marriage is reported in The Essex Standard, West Suffolk Gazette, and Eastern Counties' Advertiser of Friday, February 27, 1874, where it states that Sarah Anna is the second daughter of the late Mr. John Laver, of Felsted [and his wife Caroline Stevenson]. Stephen and Sarah had five children:
  1. Thomas Stephen Wilton born 1st quarter of 1875, bap 9 Apr 1875
  2. Miriam Stevenson Wilton born 2nd quarter of 1877
  3. Henrietta Staines Wilton  born 1st quarter of 1879, bap 16 Apr 1879
  4. Ethel Maud Wilton born in the 3rd quarter of 1882, in Dunmow 
  5. William Laver Wilton born 4th quarter of 1883, in Dunmow
In 1881, Stephen T Wilton (39), Upholsterer, is listed at the Furnishing Warehouse, High Street, Great Dunmow, with wife Sarah A (26), Thomas S (6), Miriam S (4) and Henrietta S (2) and Lizzie Turner (15), General Servant.

The Essex Newsman on 16 Sep 1882 reported that Mr Robert Low, livery-stable keeper and proprietor of the Dunmow Temperance Hotel (this was the White Lion, High Street, Dunmownow in retail use), was summoned for being drunk while in charge of a horse and cart on the highway at Great Dunmow on Wednesday, 30 Aug. [Yes, I'll wait while you ponder the irony of the proprietor of a temperance establishment being drunk.] The point of mentioning this case is that the horse and cart were the property of Mr. Stephen Wilton. Stephen maybe didn't have the best sort of friends.

Or relatives? Robert Low, on this occasion, had driven said horse and cart into the The Chequers Inn, where one of our relatives, William Hockley, had once been hostler. And William Hockley's second wife and Stephen's uncle, Richard Wilton's mother-in-law, had both originally been named Stokes ...
In 1883, John Stokes of Great Dunmow, thatcher, was charged with obtaining a hayfork, value 2s. 2d., from Mr. Stephen T. Wilton, ironmonger, at Dunmow on the 11th July. The prisoner went to plaintiff's shop and represented to a youth in charge that he was going to thatch Mr. H. Wilton's stack (complainant's father's), and was sent by him for a fork. A fork was supplied, and the statement was found to be false. The magistrate consented to the case being settled out of court on defendant paying the costs, 6s. 2d., which he gladly did.
So after many years working as a Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer, it would appear that Stephen Wilton had changed his trade to ironmongery.

59, Maury Road, Clapton/Stoke Newington, Hackney

Report from the Hackney and
Kingsland Gazette 16 June 1884
Essex Newsman 21 June 1884
DISTRESSING SUICIDE OF A TRADESMAN
On Saturday Dunmow was startled by the news that Mr. S. T. Wilton of 59, Maury Road, Stoke Newington, London, had died early that morning. The news was transmitted by telegraph to his father, Mr. Hy. Wilton, harness maker, and later it transpired that the deceased had risen about four o'clock that morning and cut his throat in his own kitchen. Mr. S. T. Wilton had for some years carried on the business of a cabinet maker at the Furniture Warehouse, High Street, Dunmow, until as late as the end of April, when his stock in trade was sold by auction by Mr. Jackson. It had been his intention to join with Mr. Robt. M. Low, of the Temperance Hotel, in taking a large mineral water business in London, but somehow the matter fell through; but deceased had the appointment of manager. The deceased leaves a widow (formerly Miss Laver, of Felsted) and five young children, the youngest an infant. The greatest sympathy is felt for his relatives at Dunmow, especially for his father, who has lived in the town all his life, and earned great respect.

His widow, Sarah, didn't remarry. In 1901, we find her living at 1, Poulteney Road, Wanstead, with three of her children; Miriam, Ethel and William with hers and her daughters' occupations listed as Dressmaker. And in 1911, not far away at 35 Marlborough Road, South Woodford, with just Ethel remaining at home, who's occupation is given as "Assisting in Dressmaker business."

Sarah A Wilton died in 1936, aged 81. 

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