A local heroine: what do you know?

Sometimes, something just comes out of left field and takes you by surprise. So it is with this clipping, sent to me 30 minutes ago by reader Graeme Clarke. I had no idea about this incredible lady and her fascinating history. Come on folks, it’s a wet bank holiday monday: what do you know?

Graeme, to whom I owe great thanks, had this to say:


Thought you might be interested in this, from the Walsall Observer January 13, 1917.

I have tried to confirm that she was on the Titanic but without success,


Graeme Clarke

From the Walsall Observer, January 13th, 1917. Clip kindly supplied by Graeme Clarke.

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6 Responses to A local heroine: what do you know?

  1. kate Goodall says:

    Fascinating stuff. I’m guessing you’ll be pedalling over to the cemetery this afternoon?

  2. Clive says:

    What a story, amazing, and on our doorstep, brave lady lost in time, not anymore its on the blog for all to see.

  3. Andy Dennis says:

    Not many Ruth Elizabeth’s to the pound; like shooting fish in a barrel, I thought. Complacently!

    A search on Ancestry revealed just one Ruth Elizabeth Taylor. In 1901 she was a hospital patient at Lincoln, age 30 (fits age 47 in 1917), born Walsall Wood. Married. If she was wounded at Tegula Heights (12-27 Feb 1900) or sometime after in the Boer Wars, she could have been shipped home for treatment and convalescence, before returning to action in 1902.

    I then searched for Ruth Elizabeth without a surname and found in 1871 a Ruth E Whitehouse age 2 with parents Elijah (blacksmith) and Georgina and older siblings at Walsall Wood. They were easy enough to find in 1881, but no Ruth. Could have been in service or was traing to be a nurse?

    I have found no other trace of Ruth Whitehouse, including registered birth, except marriage in 1891 to a Charles Taylor at Burton on Trent. The reporter may have recalled the later wedding to Amos Bagley and simply assumed her maiden name was Taylor? Just about hangs together, but it’s far from solid. The entry of marriage (ref 1891 Jul-Sep Burton Upon Trent 6b 505) should give father’s name; if Elijah Whitehouse (deceased) I think the connection would be reliable enough. This applies equally to marriage to Amos Bagley (ref 1915 Jan-Mar Lichfield 6b 629).

    In 1911 Amos Bagley, coal miner, was at Brownhills with wife Emily (late Marklew, formerly Whitehouse, but different parents from Ruth) and six children. Emily died in 1914.

    It appears that Ruth died at Birmingham General Hospital on 4 Jan 1917 (GRO matches). Amos married again in August 1917 to a Lily Heath. He died in 1942. This from a tree on Ancestry, but references not cited.

    I cannot find a relevant Ruth Taylor in the 1911 Census. From the news article it appears she might have been on active service abroad at that time and only returned to England in 1914, then diverted to France. The battle of Mons began on 23 Aug 1914; where she suffered her injuries?

    From this angle, the Titanic story looks unlikely. Anyway, there is no mention in the passenger and crew lists I can find.

    More questions than answers, but a start nonetheless.

  4. Pingback: Dabbling in Heroine « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  5. Paul Forf says:

    According to Ruth’s marriage to Amos in the Ogley Hay register, she was a widow, 45, no occupation was given, residing (prior to marriage) in Bowen Park, London. She signs the register as Ruth E Taylor and puts Elijah TAYLOR (deceased) as father. I couldn’t trace a Bowen Park in London, there is a Bower Park in Romford.

  6. Andy Dennis says:

    Thanks, Paul. Curiouser and curiouser!

    It seems we can be sure of very little. We do know that Ruth Elizabeth Bagley died in 1917 aged 47 (GRO). From this we can infer that she was born about 1869-70. We also know that she married Amos Bagley in 1915 (GRO). We now know the entry of marriage says she was a widow of 45 and her father was Elijah Taylor. The news article, which is apparently at least part bogus, says she was born of humble parentage at Walsall Wood. I suspect use of “humble” was a journalistic device. In 1901 a Ruth Taylor, 31, married, born Walsall Wood was a patient at a hospital in Lincoln. Surely, there were not two people of same name, age and place of birth?! Unfortunately, this gives no information about family.

    I cannot find a record of birth, baptism, previous marriage, or of an Elijah Taylor with any connection to Walsall Wood. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but for Ruth to be missed by 4 out of 5 censuses (1871, 1881, 1891, 1911) is very unusual.

    The only Ruth that fits the few details we can be sure of and with a father named Elijah for whom I can find any record was born Whitehouse. It appears Elijah’s mother was Elizabeth.

    That’s all folks!

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