This is an image of my maternal grandmother, Mary Jane Redican (1886-1912). She is also the grandmother of my cousin Jim McCurley, who is a regular contributor to this site. Mary Jane married Andrew McCurley, after whom I was named, in 1905. They had two other children apart from my mother and Jim’s father. Mary Jane died of rheumatic fever during 1912, aged just 25. Andrew McCurley died in 1916. The Evening Gazette of 26 December 1916 reported, “Fatal accident at Stockton”. A verdict of death caused by being run over by a cab, was returned at an inquest in Stockton today on Andrew McCurley, of 37 Waverley Street, who died at the hospital. It appears that on Friday night the deceased, when in Hartington Road, stepped off the pavement in front of an approaching cab, and before the driver could avoid the accident the wheel of the vehicle passed over Mr McCurley”. The cab was horse-drawn.
Folklore claims that Andrew had just left the Clarendon public house on Dovecot Street
As a consequence, all four children were orphaned, the eldest, Jim’s dad, was ten years of age and the youngest just five.
In those days there were only two options open to orphaned children, the workhouse/orphanage or be ‘taken in’ by the extended family. Fortunately, the latter was the choice for these four children. That did not mean that there were not hard times ahead, there were plenty, but it was far better than the alternative.
Photograph and details courtesy of Andrew Wood.