Monday, 7 June 2010

Madness Monday: Keeping it in the family

Last week I wrote of my great great grandmother, Emma Elizabeth Dunstone Avery, who was confined in Bodmin Lunatic Asylum for thinking that everyone was against her (and her room was 'all in disorder'!).

This week deals with her husband, my great great grandfather, John Dunstone Avery.  He was present at home at the 1891 census, and she was not; then she was home in the 1901 census, and he was not.  I tracked him down to the same Lunatic Asylum (and his patient record even remarks that Emma had already been there!).  He was admitted in 1900 after a head injury, and remained there until his death in 1903 from nephritis, a disease of the kidneys.  It may be that this was caused or exacerbated by the fact that he maintained that his family were trying to poison him. 

Previous censuses have described him as a rigger on Royal Naval ships.  Maybe this was where he got his head injury - from a dangerous job?  Riggers used to move very heavy loads, but the occupation was so highly-specialised that, even today, it is one of the very few that still can only be learned by apprenticeship.  if this *was* how he got his head injury, he must have suffered for several years, because he was 66 by the time he was committed to the Asylum (by his son-in-law).

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