Catch up on the full story of last weeks NEWS...........
*Kate and Michael Lyons -
What was the story behind Kate and Michael's troubles? Was Michael really the bad boy?
The most likely marriage is in 1876 at Sheffield when a Michael Lyons married a Kate Manion. Michael Lyons was the son of Bridget Lyons, he had at least two other brothers; Martin and Patrick.
We were told in last week’s NEWS that Michael was in gaol for an assault on Kate. This assault had begun on Sunday 22nd January 1888, when Kate had returned home around 9.30 in the morning. Michael had immediately got hold of her and told her “out you go”, as he flung her onto the street.
It appears that this scenario was a regular occurrence and Kate was ashamed that the neighbours regularly saw her being thrown out of her home onto the street. With this in mind she stayed away until later that day and returned at nightfall. On entering the house she begged Michael to behave himself, at which he took hold of her head and hit it against the wall. He allowed her to go upstairs, but said he would do worse to her tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning came and around 7.50 am he dragged her out of the bed and said that he would kick her. Kate again begged him not to, this time for the sake of the children. But her kicked her repeatedly in the back with his heavy boots and then went to work. Kate managed to alert a neighbour and Dr Palmer was called to attend to her injuries. She received 12 stitches to her head.
At the trial a witness who lived next door named Miranda Wild stated that she had heard loud shouting at around 8am that day. Dr Palmer confirmed her injuries and told that he had attended Kate since, but had never thought that her life was in danger. He did confirm Michael’s claims that Kate was often worse for drink. P.C Byrnes also agreed that Kate was addicted to drink and that she neglected her home.
Michael claimed that Kate was regularly drunk, she spent the rent money on drink and had even pawned the clothes of the bed to pay for her vice. He said that she neglected the home.
The Bench found Michael guilty and sentenced him to 3 months hard labour, he was sent to Derby Gaol.
And so, by March Kate found herself being evicted and had again been assaulted this time by the rent collector.
In May 1888 Michael had been released from prison and was residing with his mother Bridget Lyons on Springwell Road at Whittington, Chesterfield. Kate could obviously not control herself and had arrived at the house wanting a fight with her husband. P.C Byrne had attended the scene and found Kate to be in a drunken state using bad language. She had attempted to break the windows at the house. Superintendent Carline also added that Kate had been previously convicted in October 1887.
Bridget told how Kate arrived at her back door and punched it and “threatened her life”, with this is mind she did want Kate prosecuted to keep the peace. Kate replied that Bridget had waved a poker at her. The Bench agreed with Bridget and bound Kate over for the sum of £5 to keep the peace. She was told that if she returned to the court she would be going to gaol; to which Kate replied “I’d sooner go there than live with my husband. I’ll earn my own living and live like a lady”.
Kate did stand true to her word and a few weeks later she applied to the courts for a judicial separation from her husband Michael Lyons. She was also requesting that he maintain her and the child she had living with her. The eldest child was 9 years old and two of the children were living with Michael. Kate stated that she had been married for 12/13 years. Kate claimed that Michael, when in work could earn 30s per week. Michael however told how he earns 4s 1 1/2d per day and worked three or four days a week. He was agreeable to the separation.
The Bench granted the separation and ordered Michael to pay Kate 8s per week to his wife. And so that was the end of the marriage of Kate and Michael Lyons.
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I have tried to fill in the gaps and find out the fuller story of the Lyons family. The family should be together on the 1881 census, but they are not recorded in Chesterfield. There is a family in Sandal, Normanton, Yorkshire which does look like it may well be them –
v Michael Lyons aged 28, coke burner born Ireland,
v Catherine wife aged 24 born Chesterfield,
v Thomas aged 4 born Chesterfield,
v Mary aged 3 born Yorkshire,
v Michael aged 1 born Normanton, Yorkshire,
v Patrick brother of Michael aged 19 coke labourer born Ireland.
The ages of the children don’t fit in with the information given at the court hearings; confirmation would require a birth certificate or baptism register entry. The details do tie in with an entry 10 years later, on the 1891 census for Unstone, Derbyshire where the following information is given –
v Michael Lyons aged 37 married coke burner born Ireland,
v Michael T son aged 11 born Normanton, Yorkshire,
v John W son aged 9 born Normanton,
v Thos son aged 4 born Whittington, Derbyshire.
These facts do fit in with the trial details, Kate is not living with the family and all the children are now living with Michael. What became of the two older children; Thomas born c.1877 and Mary born c.1888? The use of the name Thomas and the references to only three children does indicate that they had sadly died, but again this would need to be proved by certificates of death.
Taking the information given in the 1881 census, then Kate may well be “Catherine Manion born 1855, daughter of Thomas and Ann Manion”.
On the 1861 census the family are living on Soresby Street in Chesterfield. Catherine is the youngest of 7 children. Thomas her father is aged 60 years old and works as an upholsterer. Ann her mother is 47 years old. Both were born in Ireland.
Thomas Manion died in 1865 and the family move to Angel Yard where Catherine is living with Ann her mother, who is the head of the household in 1871. Catherine is employed as a general servant she is 15 years old.
What happened to Kate after she gained her separation from Michael? I have found no definite record in the census returns for a Kate Lyons, no death or no marriage. Did she leave England altogether? Did she simply change her name and go off and lead a new life?
As for Michael, again I have no definite after 1891. His mother Bridget died in 1902 aged 67 years old. On the 1891 and 1901 census she is recorded as being born in Galway, Ireland along with her two other sons; Martin and Patrick Lyons.
The research into this family has been achieved using newspaper articles, census and registration indexes. To ascertain that these details are correct copies of the registration certificates at least would need to be purchased.
If anyone knows any more of the lives of Kate and Michael then please do let us know in the comments section.
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