Suicide in the Clarke Family



When I began looking into family history, I did not imagine I would come across anything quite so sad as three suicides in the Clarke family

Two brothers, William Clarke and George Staffurth Clarke and their niece Mary Jane Clarke all committed suicide.


George Staffurth Clarke - with a reference to his brother, which must refer to William Clarke's death

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper Sunday 23rd April 1865

George was the only one of the brothers who was not a watchmaker.

He married Jane Burges (also born in Hunts) at Hoxton 1860

Between 1855 and 1860 he had moved to London, living in Islington, Hoxton and Finsbury.

A verdict of Suicide while of unsound mind permitted a burial to be made in consecrated ground.

George died on 14th April 1865.

His son Louis Frederick Clarke was born back in St Ives in December quarter 1862, and died in June quarter 1865 in Shoreditch district.

He left two daughters Ada Louisa Clarke and Lizzy Kate Clarke.

Jane remarried William Birch in St James Westminster in 1866.

At the time of the probate in 1870 they were living in Birmingham. It is not clear what happened to William, but by 1890 Jane was living in London again with two sisters.


William Clarke

The brother referred to above was William Clarke, who had moved to Willingham in Cambridgeshire by 1851, though it seems he was involved in setting up the Oundle watchmakers by 1847, and in 1846 had been admitted to Oundle Asylum.

William had married Charlotte Ainsworth in June quarter 1853 in St Neot's district.

He apparently died by his own hand on 30th December 1862, and was buried on 3rd January.

Charlotte remarried William Cox, supposedly on 22nd November 1864, this has not been found.

A newspaper account reports that he was in Fulbourn Asylum at the time of his death.

The Cambridge Independent Press, January 3 1863

Charlotte remarried William Cox on 22nd November 1864 according to the chancery case, this too place in Chesterfield district in Derbyshire.


Mary Jane Clarke

Western Gazette  - 1st October 1920

Mary had worked as a housekeeper and Matron at a number of schools including being at Oundle School in 1911.

My grandmother has said that Mary Jane committed suicide, though it was this recent find of a newspaper article that confirmed this.

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