Saturday, 6 April 2019

When Mr Mease of Hutton Rudby lost his arm, November 1860

We had always known that Joseph Mellanby Mease (1827-1928) lost an arm in an accident at the corn mill on Hutton bank, but I have at last found a newspaper article that carried an account of the accident at the time:-

York Herald. 1 December 1860
Mr Mease, of Hutton Rudby, was accidentally caught, a few days ago, by a part of the machinery of his mill, and his arm fearfully mangled and crushed.  He extricated himself and stopped the machinery.  Allowing no one to go home to tell his wife of the accident, he calmly concealed the arm, and walked home himself, afraid the shock to his partner would be as serious as the accident to himself.  He walked into the house in his usual calm manner, took down a book, and commenced reading it for a minute or two, and then gradually broke the matter to his wife.  By-and-bye surgical assistance was procured, and Mr Mease bore up with the greatest magnanimity, his wife aiding him with that fortitude and resignation he had sought.  The arm, we regret to say, had to be amputated.
Joseph Mellanby Mease was a well-educated and well-read man, born into a Stokesley family in 1827 and baptised there on 24 October 1827.  According to a report on his 100th birthday in the Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail, he went to school in Doncaster and would tell lively recollections of his stage coach rides to school.

He married Harriett Wilkinson on 29 March 1854 in the parish church of Whitfield in Derbyshire, where Harriett was living at Norfolk Street.  She was the daughter of Joseph Wilkinson, a cotton mill manager.

Joseph was then working as chief clerk at the Lake Chemical Works in Jarrow (they were owned by a member of his family), and it was in Jarrow that their only child, Jane Ellen (always known as Jenny) was born.

Joseph, Harriett and Jenny came to Hutton Rudby in 1858, for Joseph to work as manager of the corn mill that stood half way up Hutton Bank.  Then he lost his right arm in the accident at the mill.

Many adjustments must have been made.  Here, for example, is the left-handed moustache cup that he used:-

He seems to have retired temporarily - in the 1861 Census he describes himself as a farmer of 23 acres.  He and his wife and daughter were living at Mill House, later to be named Leven Valley, a house on the Rudby side of the River Leven.  Joseph and Harriett lived there for the rest of their long lives.

By 1871 he was the Registrar of births and deaths for Hutton Rudby and an Inspector of Nuisances, or Sanitary Inspector, for Stokesley Rural Council, retiring at last when in his eighties.

His wife Harriett ran a school, assisted by her daughter Jenny.  (Mrs Mease’s school is mentioned in the Hutton School log book in 1879.)

Joseph Mellanby Mease and his wife Harriett
In this photograph you can see Joseph and Harriett together in old age.

When the Northern Echo celebrated its jubilee in 1920, Joseph was one of the three or four people who could prove that they had taken the paper from its first number, and he was presented with a silver teapot.

Harriett died at the age of 92 in 1924.

In his last years Joseph became famous as the village's centenarian, as these notes from a clipping in Miss Winifred Blair's green album show:-
Newspaper clipping from 15 October 1927:  
Centenarian as Stone Layer – Hutton Rudby G.O.M. likes Bright Villages – New £3,500 Hall – 
Hutton Rudby’s grand old man, Mr J M Mease, who recently celebrated his hundredth birthday, on Saturday laid one of the foundation stones of the new village hall.
In view of his great age, however, it was not felt fit that he should be subjected to the excitement of a public ceremony, and he performed his part in the function with his usual cheerfulness a couple of hours before the larger gathering, with a silver mallet with which he was presented by the architects.
He said that he had always been in favour of brightening village life and was thankful that he had been spared to see the start of a village hall  
Joseph Mellanby Mease
He attributed his great age to an open-air life, plenty of sleep and always having been abstemious.  He never smoked until he was over 80, and after that had a cigarette after supper every night.

He died at the beginning of January 1928.  His daughter Jenny lived afterwards in Rose Cottage, Enterpen.

The Mease family

From the research notes I made a good few years ago (which can be found on this post):-

Joseph Mellanby Mease (1827-1928) was the son of Thomas Mease (1792-1862) and the great-grandson of Solomon Mease (1731-1801).  

Born in Great Ayton, Solomon married Jane Humphrey and had four children.  He was the son of a weaver and trained as a weaver himself.  Solomon inherited money and his wife brought him a good portion, but in the words of his son John, his “love for cards and drink was such that he was sold up in a few years”.  He joined the army and served as a sergeant in the American Wars.  

Solomon’s son John Mease (1767-1849) was a grocer in Stokesley.  He married Isabella Turnbull, and they had 5 children:  Thomas, Isabella, John, Rachel and Mary.  His very interesting diary contains many references to the religious problems of the day and to Methodism.

John Mease junior introduced handloom weaving of Table Cloths and Napkins in Stokesley in about 1820.  He had a small weaving shed behind his house (in recent times this was Barclays Bank)
1823 Baines' Directory:  "a mill, which Messrs Thomas & John Mease are now erecting, to be worked by the power of steam"
1832:  John Mease bought land and old buildings on Levenside, Stokesley, to build his new mill.  The brothers John & Thomas Mease and Mr Blackett, a Leeds engineer whose son married Thomas’s daughter, built the mill by July 1833.  A new steam engine was installed and a large gasometer for lighting:  gas was piped over to Red House, where Thomas lived.  But the partnership failed, by March1838 the affair was in Chancery, and the Stokesley mill closed. 

Thomas joined with John in the Hutton Rudby venture, where John had bought the former paper mill, and was preparing to install machinery to weave sailcloth.  Their business was seriously affected by a severe depression which began in 1837.  Whites' Directory 1840 states that the flax mill employed 250 hands.  Thomas Pilter, the son of Isabella Mease, ran the mill at this point; he later founded a firm himself and his son became Sir John Pilter of Halifax.  By 1851 the mill is said to have reverted to corn milling.  

Thomas Mease (1792-1862) was a gifted artist, inventive with his hands, a speculator and inventor, and often had to take his family abroad to avoid his creditors.  He lived variously in Stokesley and Hutton Rudby.  His wife, the mother of Joseph Mellanby Mease, was Mary Mellanby of Whitby.