Mary Elliott Birks

I have now researched and put a page up on Mary Elliott Birks (later Bickerstaff). Mary was my grandfather’s elder sister, born in 1879 and died in 1915 – so he would have been a teenager. She was called May by her family, and her early death clearly had an impact on them. She seems to have had poor health and died after the birth of her first child at the age of 36. That would be considered a fairly late age for a first child and for a woman in poor health must have been very high-risk. Her story aroused my interest in the Unitarian thread in this part of my family history. Channing School were very helpful. I intend to explore this theme of Unitarianism in more detail.


About jenjen999

I am a family historian with an interest not only in direct lines but in the social background and historical setting of the families I research.
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One Response to Mary Elliott Birks

  1. Kathleen (Bickerstaff) Tillinghast says:

    This is my grandmother. My father ( John William) talked about her a lot but knew very little. Her dying when he was born seemed like a giving of life at the cost of her own. She had been warned that she would probably die if she had a baby. We forget how close the times are when childbirth was much more perilous than it usually is now. I did also hear that she may have had Addison’s disease. Isn’t that a kidney failure sort of thing? I haven’t looked it up. According to my father, his father,John Nathaniel (who died when I was about thirty, so I knew him pretty well) remarried a friend of May’s who had promised May she would bring up the baby. He called her his mother and she was always very good to him.

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