John Cosgrove was my great grandfather’s younger brother. While my great grandfather was born in County Longford, Ireland, by the time John was born the family had come to Scotland. He was born on 7 May 1878 at 18 Furnace Row, Newmains, Lanarkshire. His father Peter Cosgrove was a furnace labourer and may have been busy working the day the birth was registered as that job went to his mother Catherine Mullervy (there are many variations of the spelling of that name on different documents.) Catherine used a cross ‘her mark’ in lieu of a signature.
John was one of at least ten children.
- Patrick Born 1863
- Anne Born 1867
- James Born 1869
- Francis Born 1871
- Peter Born 1874
- Catherine Born 1875
- Michael Born 1876
- Elizabeth Born 1880
- Joseph Born 1883
The reason I have chosen to write about John today is not so much about his life but about the circumstances of his death which I only discovered very recently when looking through the British Newspaper Archive.
I had known that he died at quite a young age in 1917 leaving behind a wife and four children. He married Mary Lynch in 1908 in St Brigid’s RC Church in Newmains. Twins Peter and Mary Ann were born in 1909, Catherine in 1910, Patrick in 1912, Elizabeth in 1914 and Thomas on Christmas Eve 1915. Catherine and Elizabeth both died in infancy. His death would have been particularly hard on Mary with such a young family to look after and having already lost two babies. The circumstances surrounding John’s death are quite horrific.
I cannot imagine the agony those two poor men suffered. The report shows that they did not die instantly but were taken to the Royal Infirmary which in those days would have been a fair journey. I have no way of knowing if Mary got to see him before he died.
The report mentions a ‘slip’ at the furnaces. Certainly the circumstances merited further investigation as a fatal accident enquiry was held in respect of their deaths.
John died on 5 July 1917 and was buried on 7 July 1917 in Cambusnethan Cemetery.
Mary remarried on 27 December 1918 in the same church where she and John were married.