Finding another Cavers, this time a young married woman, in the mental health records

About a week ago I blogged – originally on my own genealogy blog, and then reblogged here on the Cavers blog – about my Cavers ancestor who appears in the Scotland-wide records of patients admitted to asylums. In that original blog post I explained more fully about these records, and what they record, and how to access them. Do check out that original blog post for more details of all of this.

Since then Graham and Emma Maxwell have kindly sent me details of another Cavers reference in these records. This concerns Elizabeth Cavers of the Lilliesleaf family, daughter of Charles Cavers and Martha Cathrae. I’ve blogged here about her brother William (see here) and also her father Charles (see here).

She’s recorded in these mental health records as Betsy Cavers or Turner, having married in 1847 weaver Thomas Turner. She was admitted to Newbigging House asylum at Musselburgh in 1858. She was then 34, living at Dunsdalehaugh at Selkirk, with occupation recorded as “Superintending her family”. Her first attack happened when she was 23, but she didn’t receive treatment then. Her latest attack had been going on for one week, and she was observed among other things to be talking incoherently, and under delusions that her house would be taken from her. Her husband also reported that she had threatened to injure the children and others.

At the moment I don’t know how long Betsy was in this asylum for, or what treatment she received while there. I hadn’t previously found any evidence of children for her, and struggled to find her in various census returns. But this record expands the picture. And it’s prompted me to recheck for children. After 1855 there were Thomas (1855) and Margaret (1859) both born at Selkirk. Thomas’s 1855 birth certificate – the first year of civil registration in Scotland, when extra details were recorded – notes that the couple had 4 boys and 1 girl living then. And I’ve now found the family in 1861. They were still at Dunsdalehaugh at Selkirk, and as well as Thomas and Elizabeth were their children John (13), Charles (11), Martha (9), James (8), Thomas (5) and Margaret (1). I’ve traced Betsy’s husband’s death in 1902, and his second marriage in 1865 to Isabella Dickson. And that’s helped me finally locate Betsy’s death: recorded as Elizabeth Turner, wife of Thomas Turner weaver, and daughter of Charles Cavers and Martha Cathrae, both deceased. Sadly she died in the Millholme House asylum at Musselburgh in 1862. She was just 38, described on her death certificate as a pauper lunatic, and died from general paralysis. How sad.

Betsy Cavers or Turner can now be found in Graham and Emma’s online indexes of Scottish mental health records, which will grow over time to cover more and more years, and I expect will throw up more Cavers references for me to follow up and blog about.

Cavers apprentices in Scotland, 1762-1800

I’ve recently been studying the new database of apprentice indenture duties available on Ancestry.co.uk. This is based on records held in The National Archives at Kew in Surrey, and includes the names of many masters, apprentices and details of the trades they were pursuing, across the UK, between 1710 and 1811. By studying the original document images I’ve already extracted the details of apprentices in Melrose parish in Roxburghshire, 201 pairs of master-apprentice names between 1734 and 1804, and I will be doing a similar extraction for Coldingham parish in Berwickshire, my other one-place study.

However it’s also possible to search for apprentices or masters with the surname Cavers. There are very few, just three.

The earliest recorded is Robert Cavers at Lauder in Berwickshire in 1762, who was apprenticed to shoemaker Robert Romanus. This may be Robert Cavers who married Mary Tweedup at Lauder in 1784 and had descendants. There was certainly a Cavers cluster at Lauder around then, though I don’t know where they came from originally.

Then in 1793 there was a payment for James Cavers who was apprenticed to John Lydon junior taylor at Denholm, in Cavers parish. It’s difficult to be sure about this, but from the date, and the likely age at which he would have been apprenticed it’s possible that this was the son christened in 1780 at Cavers parish to father Robert Cavers. If so that would match up with James Cavers (1780-1866) husband of Margaret Blackburn who emigrated to Ormstown in Quebec, was a farmer there, and had many descendants.

I’m most confident about the third Cavers apprentice. This was Charles Cavers whose apprenticeship dues to Adam Hart weaver in Lockieshedge in Wilton parish were paid in 1800. This has to be Charles Cavers (ca1784-1864) son of Thomas Cavers and Janet Scott who had other children christened in the Wilton/Hawick area. Charles was known to be a weaver, and also a soldier, married at Wilton in 1805, and later settled in Lilliesleaf.

I had hoped to find a reference in the records to William Cavers the gunsmith in London, which might have helped me identify his origins more. It’s possible he was apprenticed, but his name could have been misrecorded or mistranscribed. As it is there are only these three Cavers apprentices that I can confidently identify as part of the one-name study.

Gardening at Lilliesleaf

Southern Reporter, 1863 December 10
LILLIESLEAF. THE SEASON

… In the garden of Mr William Cavers here, a late cabbage was taken up weighing 33 lbs and in the same garden a drill of “Dalmahoy” potatoes, 24 yards in length, taken up early in October, produced nearly 3 1/2 bushels, the largest single potatoe weighing 2 lbs.

This would have been William Cavers (ca1818-1886), shoemaker at Lilliesleaf in Roxburghshire, and husband of Margaret Grieve. For more information on this family see his descendant Sheila’s web page.