Category Archives: Menzies Family

Newark Evening News- September 23, 1890

I did have reservations about posting these transcriptions. My new long lost cousin sent me these this week and it’s been kind of an up in the air decision for me. I’ve been pretty open about what happened between William W Love and his wife Jennie Menzies though. I’ve come a long way and I feel a special connection to the Menzies family. So that’s why I decided that the story should be told and my family who read this blog would be interested in seeing the articles also. This is nothing you can’t find in the paper if you search it yourself, so who am I to censor the blog when I never have before?

Note: I did not transcribe these articles from the original. They were initially transcribed by Grace Leonard who has been working on the Love genealogy off and on for many years.

Newark Evening News; Tuesday, September 23, 1890; Page 1;

THE FALL PROVED FATAL

Mrs. Love died yesterday from the effects of her injuries

Mrs. W W Love, who was found in an unconscious condition at the foot of the cellar stairs in her house at Caldwell on Saturday, September 13, died yesterday afternoon from the effects of the injuries she received. Dr. Peck, of Caldwell, who has attended her since the accident occured, notified County Physician Wrightson of her death. The case has given rise to grave suspicions, as a short time before the woman fell a disturbance took place at the house, and it is believed that some one threw her downstairs in a quarrel.

The woman was badly cut about the head and her body was bruised. She improved rapidly until Thursday, but on that day inflammation set in and she continued to grow worse until yesterday, when she died, without saying a word to any one about the cause of her accident.

The family have lived in Caldwell over five years, previous to which time they lived in Newark, where the husband kept a large grocery store.

Jane Menzies-Love, from Llewellyn's photographs.

Newark Evening News; Wednesday, September 24, 1890; Page 1;

MRS. LOVE’S DEATH

An Inquest in the case to be held today

An inquest in the case of Mrs. Wm. H. W. W. Love, of Caldwell, who died from injuries received at her home recently, will be held at the Courthouse this afternoon. Detectives Volk and O’Connor, of the Prosecutor’s office, have been investigating the case, but could find no direct evidence that the woman had been pushed or thrown down the cellar stairs by her husband, as there was no one in the house when she received her injuries except Love and herself.

County Physician Wrightson examined the body yesterday afternoon and found that the woman had died from a fractured skull and concussion of the brain.

More articles coming this Saturday and Sunday.

Why I Blog

This Monday, I posted my Mystery Monday post on Duncan Walker’s family. When I first started posting Mystery Mondays, it was with the hope that some day I used the right keywords for a Google search to send answers my way. Maybe I’d get lucky and someone would be able to discern a place or the time period of a photo to help me.

This week, more then I expected happened. At some point last week, I received some blog comments from Grace Leonard (Hi Grace!). I quickly shot off an email to her because she’s connected to me through the Love/Menzies line and I just loooove that line (pun intended). Plus it’s so rare that I get people actually researching the same lines as me, I couldn’t let her comments go unanswered!

It turns out Grace is a little more familiar with the Love line then I am! In fact, she could identify Duncan Walker and his family! Oh gosh, it felt like Christmas! According to Grace and the dearly missed Everett Leonard, Duncan Walker married William Wallace Love‘s sister Martha! Now all I have to do is find the documentation to back it up!

Grace also let me know that it isn’t easy to get Jane Menzies-Love‘s death certificate. It’s getting harder and harder to get information about this woman and the circumstances surrounding her death! I’m thinking ordering the 1890 Essex County, NJ deaths microfilm from the Family History Center might be the best bet.  I’m chomping at the bit to get going on my New Jersey research and I think I might overcome my shyness to finally go in and order my first microfilm!

Also, a few changes:

As of yesterday I turned off the captcha filter on the website. I didn’t realize how much people hated it! No one complained to me about it here but if this makes it easier for people to enjoy my blog, then it’s a change I’m more than happy to make! I also turned off the requirement for an email address. Emails are never published on the blog, but they are viewable to me in the administrative side. I was only utilizing that to get back to people who were seeking family information. So if you’re looking for information, be sure to leave your email or look in the sidebar for my email!

Hopefully this blog will be easier to navigate in the coming months when my site redesign is finished. If I have to pull some late nights I’m determined to finish this once and for all! It’s driving me bonkers! I’ve mainly been focusing on the content, but now that I’m into a rhythm, I think it’s time to finally make that design I’ve wanted from the beginning!

Unknown Cityscape

Yes I am still incapable of posting without the use of a picture. :)

Finding Helen

I decided to take a break from my Mays family this weekend. I love them, but they’re migraines waiting to happen. Researching the Mays family gives me the same feeling I get after I’ve taken a dose of Benadryl. Like I’ve got a head full of fog.

When I got started, I just typed in Helen Menzies at FamilySearch. She’s one I have information on but I still wasn’t able to find her after she left the family house between the 1841 and 1851 England censuses. I know from William Menzies letter that Helen/Ellen was married to a man named Charles, who traveled, and she had more than one son.

I found this record on FamilySearch and it matches beautifully!

What I like about this record:

  1. I like that it shows the use of the name Ellen. Helen seems to have gone by that name on a day to day basis in her adult years.
  2. I like the husband’s name of Charles. For some reason the Scott also sounds familiar but none of my records show anything for that so I’m not going to put stock in that one.
  3. Liverpool, England as the place of marriage. The Menzies family spent a lot of years in Liverpool. It makes perfect sense that Helen would have been married there.
  4. Father listed as John Menzies. Helen’s father is John Menzies! It would be more extraordinary if John had a more unique name but I like that John matches.
  5. Birth year of 1833. I have Helen’s birth year to be around 1832 because of her entry in the 1841 England census.

What I don’t like about this record:

  1. I don’t like that the mother isn’t listed. I indexed British marriage records for FamilySearch though, so I know that they don’t show the mother on the record. What they do show is Father and father’s occupation. If I look at the microfilm and find Sawyer listed as John’s occupation, I’ll be 100% convinced.
  2. I don’t like the date of 1853. Helen isn’t living with her parents in the 1851 census, so where was she?

The next obvious step was to look at the 1861 census which would have been the first after Helen and Charles’ wedding.

What I like about this record:

  1. Helen’s birth year and birthplace. I have a Christening record for Helen in Morton by Thornhill, Dumfries, Scotland. So this fits perfectly.
  2. Jane as the name of the oldest daughter. As per the Scottish naming patterns I posted about previously, this fits perfectly. Helen’s mother’s name was Jane Ferris-Menzies.
  3. James as the name of the oldest son. If you look at the marriage record above. James Scott is listed as Charles’ father. This also fits in with the naming pattern.
  4. John as the name of the second son. Again, the naming pattern fits. John was Helen’s father.
  5. Believe it or not, I like that Charles isn’t listed on this census. I know that sounds weird but from William’s letter, I got the impression that Charles was away from home for business a lot. In 1863 he was away from home when one of his sons passed away. So his absence fits in with what I know about the family. It would also make sense if the 29 year old John Scott is Charles’ brother and is living with the family while Charles is gone.
  6. Living in a suburb of Liverpool. Again in William’s letter, he mentions that Helen lives in Liverpool and he wants to visit her or have her come to him.

What I don’t like about this record:

  1. There isn’t anything I don’t like about this record. It’s all very helpful!

Another thing about this census record, it shows that Helen’s 2 older children were born in Liverpool and her youngest in Scotland. The 29 year old John Scott is also listed as being born in Scotland. If he is really Charles’ family, then this would make sense on why they followed the Scottish naming patterns so closely.

Menzies News

The last time I posted about the Menzies family, I didn’t know anything about the members of the family who stayed in England. Only a few snippets I had from some letters between siblings, William and Jane. Using clues from those letters and a marriage record from the FamilySearch records, I think I’m getting somewhere with mapping out William’s life.

On FamilySearch I found a Liverpool marriage record between a William Menzies and Ellen Patterson. At first I was thinking it wasn’t much help, because how could I be sure it’s my guy. Then I remembered the Love-Menzies Family Outline. It has a bunch of Menzies information written at the bottom. At the bottom were a bunch of Walkers and Pattersons. Sure if the wife married in, the Patterson name would be lost. It’s a little too coincidental for me though! I haven’t marked anything down yet, but I’ve made note of the marriage record. My next step was to search the 1861 England Census to see if I could find my William with a wife named Ellen.

Here’s the entry I found in the 1861 census. These are the things I like about it.

  • The age is close and the birthplace is a match.
  • William’s occupation is Mechanical Dentist. Since his sibling was a druggist, I don’t think a dentist is a far stretch for his occupation. Still shaky, but not a big red flag.
  • The children’s names and ages. Both Ellen and William are family names (even matches the maybe wife).
  • This family is living in Derby, England. William’s Letter seems to be postmarked as being written in Derby.

Here is what I don’t like about it:

  • The wife is missing from this census. William is listed as being married. So his wife could be away from home, or maybe she passed away. I’m unsure. The reason I don’t like this is that in William’s Letter, he gives his wife’s love to his family. The letter is dated 1863. So while it’s not out of the realm of possibility, it doesn’t exactly help prove anything either. So this really does nothing for the FamilySearch record or the census record. I’m still left with no real evidence about William.
  • Overall, this is just vague enough to keep me from adding it to my records. I’ve saved the image and made note of this family in my OneNote Notebook to come back to later.
  • The family disappears in 1871. I can’t seem to find them anywhere in 1871. Does this mean William finally made it to America like he hoped? Or maybe he moved somewhere else. Could he have moved to London and that’s where this family comes into play?

Here is a fun fact that has nothing to do with proving anything:

  • When I’m searching in these British towns, I always do a quick Google Maps search of the area to see if the surname comes up anywhere. I figure it’s worth a shot and fun to boot. In Thornhill, I did find a Menzies listed as living there still. In Derby, all I found were the Menzies Hotels chain. I tried to find more about the chain but I didn’t see anything about how and when the business was established.

So this is where I’m at with the Menzies clan right now. I’m holding off on doing any heavy duty research until I’ve finished adding everything back into my good family file. Once I’ve done that I’ll probably order some of the microfilms from the Family History Center to get a little clarification on some of the Menzies children.

William’s Letter #2

After much debate with myself, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a second letter, but the second page of the first letter. I say that because of the context and because there wasn’t an address at the top of this one. So there ya go! Please note that I’m transcribing this as it is written. So spelling and grammar aren’t my fault! :)

click for full size image

Dear Jean, We have our troubles hear as well as you have in America all our troubles seems to come at once. I am very sorry to inform you, that Sister Ellen lost one of her little Boys last Saturday afternoon he died of Dropsey brought on by Scarlet Fever. Sister Ellen is in a sore way about him. There was no person at home but herself. Charles is in Alexandra Egypt and expects to stop there if he can get work he will be very much put about when he receives the news of the loss of his son. I would have gone down to Liverpool if I could off been spared Ellen was to bury him last Tuesday. I want her to come and spend a few weeks with me has soon as the wether gets warmer. I hope she will it will do her good I have forgotten to state in Alex letter that I shall be most happy to receive poor George. Lickeness, God Bless him I sincerely hope he is alive I will make Brothers Jamesh ?? as soon as I have time tell him to write a few lines to me when he as time you will please give mine and my wifes & childrens love to my mother and all my brothers and sisters and receive the same yourself. I will send you and mother a nice present before long you will excuse this short letter has I am afraid of its being over weight. Write soon again and believe me to remain your ever affectionate and loving Brother

W Menzies

William’s Letter #1

I was writing up a post about William Menzies. When I tried to find the entry where I transcribed his letter, I couldn’t find it! It’s here somewhere, but for some reason it’s disappeared and it’s not tagged with the Menzies surname. Don’t worry, I’m going to fix issues like these when I redo the site (which is still ongoing, code is so consuming but I love learning it). In the meantime, I’m going to devote this entry to William’s letter so it’s easy to find. Then I’m going next door to play with the dogs because I think I need a dose of cute.

click image for full size

Depot St Rosehill  (? Could be wrong)

Derby Jan 15 /63

My Dear Sister Jean,

I now avail myself of the present opportunity of answering your very affectionate and ever welcome letter, and at the same time thanking your for sending me the lock of poor Margrets hair which I intend having put in a broch. I am very sorry to hear such bad news from my Dear Friends in America and feel very much for my poor Mother. I wish I was there to comfort her in all her trouble. I expect to come and see you all some day has I am quite sure I will never stay in England all my life as I am quite tired of it, I want to come and see you, and I will never be satisfied until I do come if it is only for a visit for a few weeks. I am happy to learn that Brother John has been doing so very well has to aquire property and will be most happy to hear of his arrival amoungst you all in New York. I supose he is not married yet, let me know if your next if soon is the case

That’s where the letter ends. There’s possibly another page to the letter. This is just a photocopy given to me by my Aunt Diane. There are several more letters also. Possibly more than I have. I’ll post the second letter tomorrow!

Mystery Monday: The London Strangler

The article you see to your right was given to me by my Aunt Diane. Basically, her box of good stuff and my boxes of good stuff came from the same place! So she had a bunch of stuff that she gave me copies of when I first started researching heavily. In fact I think all of my Menzies documents were in her box.

Basically the article states (you can click it to view it full size), ‘Lady’ Menzies and her daughter were found dead in their home one morning. There’s even a bolded part that says “Airports and seaports got the descriptions of a middle-aged man and a handsome bearded young man with pierced ears”. To be honest this sounds right out of a modern paper!

Mystery #1: When does the article take place?

This was actually my first big challenge in genealogy. Trying to figure out when this way. Until I figured that out I wouldn’t be able to figure out who the article was talking about. After a lot of searching in various Newspaper databases, I found over 20 printings of this event. It took place in February of 1954! All the articles were a little different but they all gave mostly the same information.

Mystery #2: Who is ‘Lady’ Menzies?

The victims from the article are at first listed as ‘Lady’ Menzies and her daughter (Mrs Isobel Victoria Chesney). Over the next few days, papers are printing a little bit more. It turns out Mrs. Mary Menzies was the owner of an “old people’s home”. She was known by the name ‘Lady’ Menzies by everyone. She styled herself as Lady because her husband, the late Thomas C Menzies claimed he was the 10th baronet of the clan Menzies. However, peerage officials made an official announcement that despite Thomas’ claims, the title had become extinct. Mrs Menzies daughter, Isobel led quite an adventurous life. Depending on which article you read, police sorted through 3,000 to 4,000 “love letters” to get clues as to what happened. The letters dated back to 1934.

Mystery #3: Did they ever catch the killer?

Yes they did, and it’s a doozy folks! Once I found out the year and month of their murders, I was able to follow up pretty quickly. It turns out Isobel’s husband, Ronald Chesney was the culprit. Police believe Mr Chesney killed his wife to “get her 10,000 pound ($28,000) legacy and marry a pretty German sweetheart”. Five days after the murders Mr Chesney shot himself dead in Cologne, Germany after his girlfriend refused him. Apparently, she wasn’t impressed by his actions. That’s when the crazy details really started coming out. Ronald J Chesney was actually, John Donald Merrett. He was even tried for the murder of his mother in 1927! The jury gave a verdict of “not proven” in that case. Ronald/John was even the subject of a TIME Magazine article in March of 1954!

So what’s the mystery here?

Really the mystery I have is how this family is related to my Menzies family. I have a great clue in Thomas C Menzies and his claim. At first I was worried that the daughter, Isobel, was the Bell Brodie that was sending letters to Jane T Menzies. I quickly realized it was a completely different person. It should be noted that this Isobel Menzies lived in London and Bell Brodie lived in London, just in the 1860’s. So that could still be part of my connection. Also, do we really have that connection to Castle Menzies or did I inherit Thomas Menzies wishful thinking?

Sources

There were many, many news articles on this event. If you really want to have fun, try to NOT find this story in a newspaper of your choice! I’ll list just the ones I have copies of:

  1. 12 Feb 1954. Police Seek Stranglers. The Frederick (Maryland) News.
  2. 12 Feb 1954. Scotland Yard Investigates Double Murday. Ames (Iowa) Daily Tribune.
  3. 12 Feb 1954. British Claimant to Title and Daughter Slain. Bedford (Penn) Gazette.
  4. 12 Feb 1954. Strangler Kills 2 Women in London. Joplin (MO) Globe.
  5. 14 Feb 1954. Love Letters Sifted for Murder Clues. The Daily Independent (Kannapolis, NC).
  6. 15 Feb 1954. 3,000 Letters Received by Slain Woman. Fergus Falls (Minn) Daily Journal.
  7. 17 Feb 1954. Smuggler Added to Bizarre Murder List. News-Tribune (Fort Pierce, FL).
  8. 25 Mar 1954. Two Deaths Said Murders. Fergus Falls (Minn) Daily Journal.
  9. Mar 1954. Not Proven. TIME Magazine. Retrieved online (Nov 2007, Sep 2010): link.

Mystery Monday is an ongoing series I do on the blog, it is also now a GeneaBloggers daily blogging theme option! So let’s hear those mysteries!

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