SAD OCCURRENCE: DASTARDLY CONDUCT OF A MARRIED MAN
A most painful event occurred at Newton on Monday last, casting a gloom over the whole neighbourhood.
This was the suicide by drowning of a most respectable young woman, named Elizabeth Gleave, aged only 18, domestic servant of Mr. Barclay, one of the overseers at McCorquodale’s printing works. It appears that she and a young man names Michael Ward have been courting, but for some reason or other he refused to go out with her last Sunday. An acquaintance of Michael Ward, a married man named John Jones, who was aware that there was some little lover’s quarrel between the young folks, went and told Lizzie that he knew why Michael would not take her out, and if she would go with him, he would show her the reason for it.
Either by direct expression or by inuendoes, he led the young woman to believe that Michael was walking out with another girl, and if she would go with him, he would take her where she could have ocular demonstration of her lover’s supposed delinquency. Lizzie took Jones at his word and went out with him. Jones took her round by Hermitage Green to Winwick, where he persuaded her to enter the Swan Inn and have some drink, which took such effect upon her as to render her partially insensible.
He then took her in the direction of Newton, but what took place on the road no one can tell. Certain it is that the poor girl was exceedingly ill and sick. Her belief that her lover was untrue to her, and the shame to which she had been brought by Jones, prayed so much on the poor girl’s mind, that after writing two letters of farewell – one to her lover Michael Ward, and the other to her young mistress, Miss Barclay – she committed suicide by throwing herself into the ornamental lake at Newton, on Monday.
Miss Barclay, entering the house after the unfortunate young woman had left, found the letters, and seeing one directed to herself, she opened it, and discovered that poor Lizzie, whom they had looked upon as almost one of their own, had destroyed herself.
Lizzie had indicated in her letter to Miss Barclay the spot where she intended throwing herself into the lake, and upon Miss Barclay immediately putting herself in communication with the police, the lake was dragged, and the body found at the exact place mentioned by the unfortunate girl.
The inquest was held yesterday before C. E. Driffield, Esq., at the Blue Lion, Newton, when the above facts were given in evidence. The jury returned a verdict of ‘Suicide while in a state of temporary insanity.’
The coroner praised Michael Ward, the lover, for the honest and straightford manner in which he had given evidence; but administered a severe censure upon John Jones, the married man, for the manner in which he behaved to the girl. The following is the unfortunate girls farewell to her lover: -
Newton, May 2, 1870 My dear Michael, When you get this I shall be no more. You may guess the cause of my death. I never thought when we first met what would be the result of it. I suppose you know all about Sunday night. I only wish I had known before, it might have saved me; but now, as it is not what I hoped for, it is no use living. You have my heart; and oh, that I might have had yours, Oh, that we had never met, for to part is death to me. I did not think that you would prove so false to me as it seems you have done. You ought never to have thought of me when you had another – whom, I hope, you will not forsake, but will make your wife. Mend your ways, dear Michael, and give one thought to me, whose heart you have broken. Our acquaintance was not long, and I will now say farewell.
Yours ever, LIZZIE GLEAVE
Lizzie lived on Church Street in Newton with her Grandparents, James and Betty Gleave, her mother Mary Gleave and her Uncle, Abraham Gleave. This information is from the 1861 Census, the only one she would appear on. She was buried on 6th May 1870, aged just 18.
The Burial Record of Lizzie Gleave
Cheyvonne Bower is a local historian with a passion for the past. A member of Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society and The Society for One-Place Studies.