Following on from my last blog entry, I ordered a copy of Emma Stevens’ death certificate to ascertain how she died and whether she was indeed the Emma Stevens (nee Fisher) to who I am, albeit indirectly, related. Sure enough, the death certificate showed that she was married at the time of her death to John Stevens, a tailor, who at the time was incarcerated in Moulsford Asylum, where he remained until his death in 1888. Emma’s age at death is given as 38, meaning she was actually born in 1835.
When her husband John was incarcerated in 1871, Emma and her two youngest children went to the Reading Union Workhouse. With no income coming from her husband it seems she had little choice. Two years later, on 12th August 1873, in what must have been extremely grim conditions, Emma died of cancer in the workhouse. The story of John Stevens’ epilepsy was sad enough, but through the lives of his wife and his children, we can see just how it affected the rest of the family.
The two young girls who went with their mother into the workhouse later married. Martha Stevens, who was 2 when she went in, married George Amor in 1888 and had 6 children. Her sister, Kate, who was 4 at the time she entered the workhouse, married Charles Plested in 1892. Together they had two children. Kate died in 1943 at the age of 73. Martha died 7 years later in 1950 at the age of 81.