Here’s a story I enjoyed researching. Adelaide Robina Cochrane was born on 18th September 1859. She was the youngest of six daughters and two sons to J.R Cochrane and Mary Ann Howden of Calderglen. Her middle name Robina, took the first name of her grandmother on her father’s side.
Whilst she spent her early life in Govan and Kirkintilloch, Glasgow and then by 1871 at Hamilton, during 1882, at the age of 23, she found herself living with her family in the grandeur of Calderglen House, Blantyre.
Her family was considerably wealthy as you can probably tell from this photo and it would appear they wanted for nothing, tended on by 10 servants at Calderglen. Tragedy unfolded when her brother died by accident. mown down by the Blantyre- Glasgow train in 1884 on the railway running past their home.
On 15th June 1887, at the age of 27, she married Arthur Percy Hickman in Warrick, England. Arthur was a major in the army. However, fate played a cruel part in her life, and Arthur died of peritonitis (blood poisoning), on 6th June 1888 not even a year after they married! In 1890, her sister Louisa married Arthur’s brother Harry Otho Devereux Hickman. Being husbandless so quickly after marriage must have been absolutely terrible for Adelaide. More so, for at the time of Arthurs illness and subsequent death, Adelaide was carrying his unborn baby.
Adelaide gave birth to a baby girl Catherine Arthur Mary Violet on 29th August 1888, just 75 days after Arthur’s death. Perhaps unusual to give a baby a male middle name, it absolutely honoured her parents. Catherine, after Arthur’s mother and Arthur after the baby’s deceased father. As tragic as this is, Adelaide was surrounded by a large family whom I’m sure fully supported her through this crisis. Catherine later dropped the name Catherine and called herself Mary Violet.
Adelaide is reported to have had a tiny waist, at nineteen inches. However, she was positively fat by comparison to her five sisters all with seventeen or eighteen inch waists.
Living as a single mother at Calderglen House with her child, parents and siblings, it is alleged that Adelaide became bored and asked to be allowed to work in the dairy, which was permitted. Here, she had a chance to mingle with the servants, that perhaps gave her a taste of a more normal lifestyle.
By 1900, at 41 years old, she had met another man. Little Mary Violet was now almost a teenager and was of an age to understand a mother could be happy by remarrying. So, on 26th April 1900 Adelaide married again to Welsh minister Samuel Morgans. They married at St George’s , Hanover Square, London. They decided to settle in Worcestershire, England and in 1903, Rachel Cochrane Morgans was born, a sister for Catherine, whom by then was 15.
By 1911, the family was living at Claverdon, Stratford Upon Avon, with their children’s nanny, Mary Ellen Clark. As well as the permanent nanny, there were four other full time servants living with them, including a cook and maids. Adelaide was clearly intent on continuing to live a grand lifestyle, despite being away from her parents. Tragedy again unfolded on 10th April 1911, when 48 year old minister Samuel, died after a short illness, co-incidently the same peritonitis blood poisoning. Adelaide was on her own with two children in England. Taking her £615 inheritance, she moved home to Camberwell, London. She never married again.
I next found 61 year old Adelaide on 9th August 1921, returning on ship called “Delta” from Shanghai, China. On the passenger list was daughter Rachel, now 21. What an adventure this must have been! Their address is listed on another passenger list as St Giles, Camberwell, London. Adelaide died on Christmas day 1947, at Farnham, England.
Becoming engrossed in this story, I wanted to know more about the children’s lives. I was unable to find what became of Rachel but Gordon Cook told me recently, “Rachel married Arthur Galletti at Bellary, Madras, India, in 1932.” Other daughter Mary Violet (Catherine) died in December 1974 in Surrey after a long life. She married twice, once in 1912 to Captain Charles Alverley Grazebrook and had child, Diana and following divorce, wed again in 1919 to a military aviator, Eugene Courteney Perrin. A similar fate to her mother’s marriage occurred shortly after Mary Violet wed Eugene, when he was killed very quickly after the wedding in 1921, in India. Diana’s children live to this day in Devon, England.