Mary Ann Dutton nee Dillon aka Edwards is my 3x Great-grandmother
In 1858 Mary was 28 years old at the time of her daughter’s birth; her maiden name was listed as Dillon.[i] By 1859 it appeared that Mary was struggling to care for her daughter. The newspapers reported the following incident:-
“on Sunday evening her husband, after having given her £3 in notes, tried to get the money back from her for the purpose of spending it in drink, which she resisting caused the brawl in the street”.[ii]
Three years later Mary herself seems to have fallen under the demon drink herself as she is convicted as a drunkard and fined 5s.[iii]
Then it would appear that she became employed by Mrs Canovan who ran a house of ill repute.[iv]
Things do not appear to have gotten easier for Mary as the following incident also reported in the papers indicate:
“A woman named Mary Ann Dutton afforded the visitors at the central police court yesterday considerable amusement. She was plaintiff in a case of illegal detention of property, and defendant in abusive language case. On being asked several times whether she had any questions to put, she replied—" Yes, sir," and immediately poured forth a volume of words with such rapidity and in such a loud tone of voice that everybody in court was convulsed with laughter. For the offence of making use of abusive language the bench imposed a penalty of 10s, with the alternative of 48 hours contemplation in goal, upon hearing which decision the woman folded her arms across her breast, looked defiantly around the court, and with determination expressed on every feature of her countenance, exclaimed loudly—" I'll do it", and walked into what is facetiously termed the reception room”.[v]
The following year her precious child Kate, now known as Catherine is taken away by the authorities and it becomes apparent that Mary’s father has left them, whether by choice or design has not yet been determined.
Soon after her daughter is taken way Mary marries again to John Edwards, a fisherman. Was it love? Was it someone she met at work?
Mary married John Edwards at the age of 39.[vi] Three years later she died in 1871.[vii] There were no recorded offspring for this marriage.
Mary seems to be a strong woman trying to cope with the circumstances of her life in an environment that was not very supportive of single women. I would love to know more about her life and why she made the choices she did – if indeed there was any real choice. Her daughter Kate grew up and lived a successful life raising many healthy children, but she never spoke of her past or what had happened.
I am intrigued by the newspaper quote
“upon hearing which decision the woman folded her arms across her breast, looked defiantly around the court”.[viii]
There seems to be more to the story than we will ever know. What a privilege it would be to sit down to dinner with her and share stories.
WikiTree Link Mary Ann Dillon's family tree on WikiTree (@WikiTreeOfficial)
[i] Birth Certificate Kate Dutton born 21 December 1857, Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria Australia. 2541/1858
[vi] Marriage Certificate of Mary Ann Dutton & John Edwards married 15 October 1868. Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria Australia. 4619/1868
[vii] Death Certificate of Mary Edwards died 2 October 1871 Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria Australia. 8391/1871
[viii] CURRENT TOPICS. (1867, September 7). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1926), p. 2. Retrieved December 10, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147773272