Edwin Oakley's new foray into the Wine business proved to be no more successful than his previous attempts. The London Gazette of December 14, 1869, carried the following notice:
" Edwin Thomas Oakley of Magdala Street, Smithdown Road, Liverpool, County Lancaster, in lodgings, out of business, previously of Chatham Street in Liverpool aforesaid; out of business and previous thereto of No. 131 Islington in Liverpool, wine merchant, Aerated Water manufacturer, and Ale and Porter Bottler, adjudicated bankrupt October 1869.An order of discharge was granted by the County Court of Lancashire, holden at Lancaster, 10th December, 1869."
Things became progressively worse in the new decade, with Edwin's beloved wife Jane falling ill and never recovering. She contracted 'ovarian disease', and would have declined steadily over the months leading to her death in 1871.
The census of April 1871 finds the Oakley family in Crewe, Cheshire,at two different addresses.Edwin is with his terminally ill wife, Jane Elizabeth. Their three children and their servant are also in the Crewe district, but at a different address on the night of the census. The latter are at 46 Beech Street,Monks Coppenhall, which was given in documents as the Oakley address at the time, and their parents Edwin and Jane are staying in a Temperance Hotel at Crewe Station as boarders.
I have no idea why parents and children would be separated at this time- perhaps Jane was so very ill that she did not want the children to see her, or maybe Edwin thought that complete rest away from everything would help her.Edwin's occupation on the census return was 'land owner'.
The children, aged 11, 8 and 7, were under the care of Elizabeth Smith, a 42 year old widow from Wem, Salop, whose occupation was 'general servant' but who was obviously much more to the family as she looked after three young children who would soon be permanently without a mother in their lives.
Jane Elizabeth Oakley returned to the family home at 46 Beech Street, and she died there , aged 33, on October 31, 1871.Her husband Edwin registered the death, and gave Jane's occupation as 'Wife of Edwin Thomas Oakley, a Gentleman'.Her cause of death was "aseites and ovarian disease'.
I cannot find where Jane Oakley was buried, which is a shame because her funeral is part of our Oakley family legend. According to my grandfather, Norman Oakley, who was told by his father Harry Meabry Oakley, Edwin Oakley was absolutely devastated by the death of his young wife. So much so, that he threw himself onto her grave, weeping, at the funeral.
For years I believed the next part of the story...that Harry had been totally appalled when his father, so blatantly crazy with grief over the death of Harry's mother, had remarried again within twelve moths, and that harry had taken himself off to Wales to get away from Edwin and his new wife.
A bit of investigation discredits the accuracy of this tale, although the sentiments may have been very true. Edwin DID remarry, but not for almost three years after the death of Jane Elizabeth. And Harry was only eight years old when his mother died, hardly old enough to be taking himself off anywhere! He did go to Wales, but not until he was in his teens.