8 December 1900


"We understated an unfortunate accident that occurred to Mr and Mrs J L CUNLIFFE of the Prince of Wales Hotel, Ashton, after the ball at the Reform Club had been concluded.

"It appears from out information that they were driving home together in a cab and on nearing the Red Lion, Hooley Hill, Mr CUNLIFFE put his head out to speak to the driver, but found that no-one was on the box and the cab was proceeding at a fairly good speed.

"Grasping the situation, he opened the door and jumped out, ostensibly for the purpose of stopping the driverless horse, but in doing so, he fell and got badly knocked about.

"Mrs CUNLIFFE, seeing that her husband was in difficulties, also jumped out and she likewise came to grief, getting a couple of black eyes.

"Some time after the accident, the driver came along, for he had fallen off the box lower down the road and after some distance found the cab and horse had also come to grief, the shafts being broken and the horse badly bruised. We trust Mr and Mrs CUNLIFFE will soon recover from the effects of such an unfortunate occurrence.

"Many of our readers will remember Mr Charles BATTY, son of our townsman, Mr Robert BATTY of 80 Abermarle-street, Ashton, who left England for America eleven years ago.

"Mr BATTY has ever since been wandering the States as leader or conductor of the principal opera companies on the road and has played in all the large cities and towns and before the elite of America

"For the last two years, he has held a good position at the Knickerbocker Theatre, New York. He has now retired to his father’s house to settle down to his profession of a violinist.

The Silver Wedding of Mr and Mrs W ROBERTS was held at Victoria-street Mission Hall. Around one hundred friends and relatives enjoyed a sandwich tea, after which Mrs F DEARSLEY sang ‘Flight of Ages’. The couple were congratulated by Mr W R PEPLOW.
Ashton's Board of Guardians decided that inmates of the town's workhouses could enjoy a drink of beer with their Christmas dinner. The proposal was passed by twelve votes to eight.

There was a serious fire at the Britannia Mill in Mossley. "The flames spread with alarming rapidity and it was with much difficulty that the work people (v. pc –ed) were able to to get out of the room, some having to run without their clothes, while others managed to carry their clothes in their hands. The mill is fireproof (obviously not! – ed) but is not supplied with sprinklers."

The fire was eventually doused, but not without several narrow escapes. Ben ROBERTS had a badly cut arm that severed an artery, while a minder called Daniel CLAYTON and manager, Mr ASHCROFT were seriously injured.

Cut Her Throat and Drowned Herself
The body of Ann RAINFORD aged 59 was found in the canal by men going to work along the towing path near Cooper’s Mill. Pulling her from the water, not only was she drowned, but her throat had been cut.

The deceased had recently returned from America and was living apart from her husband, lodging in Old-road and Town-lane, Dukinfield. During the weekend, she had been seen with a shawl covering her head and neck which she refused to remove. It seems she had already attempted to cut her throat and had even tried to patch things up with sticking plaster before finishing herself in the water.

Elizabeth PYATT of 54 Town-lane gave evidence. She had known Mrs RAINFORD all her life, she said. She had been married three times, the last to Richard RAINFORD who used to keep a stall on Ashton Market.

When the latter was questioned by police, he disowned the marriage, saying that the deceased had a husband named OGDEN still living. At least he was the previous June when he had gone to America, adding that Mrs RAINFORD had spent the summer there.

Constable MOTTERSHEAD said "she had been left her husband OGDEN twenty years and she went through the form of marriage with RAINFORD."

Coroner: "If there is a certificate in existance of the marriage with RAINFORD, I think I shall rely on that. It does not matter to me whether the marriage is legal or not. There is a marriage register and she appears as the wife of RAINFORD and she must be buried as the wife of RAINFORD."

His verdict was suicide while in a state of temporary insanity.

All in all, a very strange tale, not least because Mrs RAINFORD had two daughters yet living in America. One was the daughter-in-law of a Mr MORGAN of Bolton who also gave evidence. It would be interesting to know if any of her relatives still out there.

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