52 residents # 43 Ann and Eliza Tattersall

Transcribing the gravestones in Sion I came across a sad story:


gravestone 2 tattersall 3 200

IN
MEMORY
OF
ANN
THE BELOVED WIFE OF
JAMES TATTERSALL
OF BOOTHFOLD
WHO DIED MARCH 27
TH 1873
AGED 26 YEARS
AND OF ELIZA ANN THEIR DAUGHTER
WHO DIED MARCH 26
TH 1873
AGED 1 DAY.

As an obstetric anaesthetist this aroused my curiosity. A baby dies virtually at birth and her mother the day after. What could have gone on? Common causes of maternal mortality in C19 were puerperal sepsis and post partum haemorrhage but usually in those cases the baby survives. Eclampsia, involving high blood pressure, fits and kidney problems often caused the death of both mothers and babies so this was a possibility. Obstructed labour was a relatively uncommon cause of both maternal and infant mortality.

Speculation over, I ordered the birth certificates.
Eliza Ann Tattersall d 26th March 1873 aged 12 hours Atelectesis Pulmonium since birth.
Ann Tattersall d 27th March 1873 aged 26 years Morbus cordis, unknown, Partuition, Failure of heart's action. 36 hours.

So Eliza's death was relatively straightforward. She was born in poor condition, needed resuscitation at birth (which she probably didn't receive) and never established a regular pattern of breathing. 'Atelectesis plutonium' means 'collapsed, non-inflated lungs'.

So far so clear but why was Eliza born in poor condition? Unfortunately her mother's death certificate doesn't really help us here. 'Morbus Cordis' of unknown cause…well that could be secondary to severe infection. Alternatively primary heart failure secondary to pregnancy does occur, it is relatively uncommon but the prognosis in 1873 would have been very poor. So I will go with sepsis, but that is pretty much an educated guess.

Whatever happened that left a father who suddenly lost both his wife and child. Thomas Tattersall, licensed victualler, b ~ 1846 was the landlord of the Pack Horse Hotel, Boothfold. The couple and another daughter, Alice, b ~ 1870.

Which leads to another question. Sion was known for many years for its association with the teetotal movement and the Band of Hope - interesting therefore that a publican's family were buried there and that he is not with them…