Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Natural Daughter of Mary Rutter

In his will, William Watson, Esquire, of North Seaton, Northumberland, made certain provisions for a woman named Mary Rutter. He also gave money to Mary's natural daughter, also named Mary Rutter. 

Although he doesn't name her as such, it is obvious that the younger Mary Rutter was William's illegitimate daughter.

I decided to research the Watson family a little after discovering that William's grandson, William John Pearson Watson, was a close friend of my 3x great-grandfather, Adam Storey. 
"I give and bequeath to Mary Rutter the daughter of Mary Rutter of Longhirst an annuity of twenty pounds and to Mary Rutter the natural daughter of the said Mary Rutter an annuity of twenty pounds for the terms of their natural lives..."
Both the original will and the copy share the above mistake. There are too many Mary Rutters mentioned!

William Watson's original will was dated the 24 November 1818, although two codicils were later added following the births of his legitimate children. None of these concerned Mary Rutter.

Mary Rutter gave birth on 28 November 1808, but her baby girl wasn't baptised until 13 October 1809 at Morpeth. Mary was described as a single woman on the baptism, and no father is listed. The baptism does mention that Mary was a native of Cramlington, and her daughter was illegitimate.

Mary was obviously a clever woman. The baby's father was a wealthy and landed man, and it would have been so easy for him to shirk responsibility completely. It was impossible for Mary to name William Watson as the father of her baby as they weren't married, and it can be assumed that he was not present on the day. However Mary had other options and other ways to force William into taking responsibility. Mary gave her daughter the name Mary Watson Rutter.

Mary Watson Rutter's baptism at Morpeth.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.

I can only assume that William Watson and Mary Rutter had a dalliance in early 1808, resulting in Mary's pregnancy and the birth of their daughter in November. 

William Watson married Elizabeth Reed on 24 July 1809 at Warkworth. Naturally, Elizabeth's family were also incredibly wealthy.

William Watson and Elizabeth Reed's marriage at Warkworth.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.
The transcript says June.

Now, Mary Watson Rutter was baptised three months later. Could it be that Mary had her christened with that particular name in the hope that William wouldn't forget about his illegitimate first child? If that were the case, it worked, and Mary Watson Rutter and her mother were both given allowances when William Watson died on 23 March 1830.

Mary Rutter married John Davison on 19 May 1821 at Bothal. She had more children, and eventually died in 1868.

Mary Watson Rutter married Robert Hindhaugh, a carpenter and later inn-keeper, on 16 February 1832 at Bothal. Mary Watson Hindhaugh (née Rutter) died at Bothal on 6 November 1882, and was buried in the little churchyard there four days later.

Robert and Mary Hindhaugh's marriage license. 

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