David Pickersgill Smithson – the full story

David Pickersgill Smithson is found in the Birth Index Q1 1883 Tadcaster 9c 807. He was born in Ledsham in Yorkshire the son of William Robert Smithson and Isabella Wilson. His siblings were Ann Emma Smithson (1876 – 1959) and John William Smithson (1878 – 1945). He is found with his parents in the 1891 census at Thorpe Willoughby and the 1901 census at 5 Fishers Court, High Skellgate, Ripon.

Up to yesterday this was all that was known about him. He wasn’t to be found on the 1911 census nor on any marriage records. I had looked at the death indexes and there appeared to be only one record that seemed to fit. This was for a David Smithson age 40 Q1 1924 Wharfedale 9a 215. I took a punt on it and ordered the certificate hoping that the informant may be a known relative.

This David Smithson died on 5 January 1924 at the West Riding Asylum at Menston. As it turned out, the informant was unknown but in the Occupation field it was noted “of 7 Water Skellgate, Ripon U.D., a general labourer”. A quick check of the 1908 electoral register for Ripon showed that his brother John William Smithson had an interest in 7 Water Skellgate. This confirmed that the death certificate did indeed belong to David Pickersgill Smithson.

It was then just a case of finding the admittance register entry which tells us that he was admitted on 30 June 1906, within 6 months of his mothers death. He is recorded as dying at the asylum. He is actually on the 1911 census, recorded only by his initials.

A sad outcome and not the one I’d hoped for. David was buried in Buckle Lane cemetery at the asylum on 10 January 1924.

Thanks to the Friends Of High Royd’s Memorial Garden and Mark Davis for their help.

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