Saturday, 16 March 2013

Vale Isabella O'Toole

Fearless Females no.11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family.

Unfortunately there are a few - the women who died in childbirth, the one struck down by Spanish flu within a week of her son returning from WWI, the one murdered by her husband who then killed himself. But the one who I think of most often is Isabella O'Toole.

Isabella was the only daughter of Laurence O'Toole and his wife Anne Groves O'Toole ni Leonard. The family were living at 102 Kent Street, The Rocks. The house was small, two rooms in total, and the door opened straight onto the street. Isabella ran out of the house and into the path of a fully loaded dray was about six weeks short of her third birthday. She was run over by the front wheel of the dray, the driver being at the back checking the load and letting the horse move foreward, something against regulations. He came back to the front, saw Isabella and picked her up. The inquest report doesn't say if she was killed instantly or not. She was interred in the Old Sydney Burial Ground in Devonshire street.

Isabella was the first child of Laurence and Anne (Anne had an older son by her first husband). All the other boys came after, but they all seem to have grown up knowing of her. She was not forgotten, nor was her death buried with her little body. Her brothers John and James both named daughters after her.

Report on Inquest for Isabella O'Toole, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April 1858, page 8

No comments:

Post a Comment