Saturday, September 6, 2014

Psychics and the BOLTONs

I recently mentioned how an 1890s Yokohama murder had given me some hints about the social circles of David and Louisa Jackson. For today’s post,  a psychic’s report taught me more about one of Thomas Jackson’s brother-in-laws: Charles James Bolton (1829-1917), a ship’s captain in the employ of Jardine Matheson. I was alerted to the article in an email from Mark Sherbrooke, written in response to my post about the Lombard Street & London Bankers. Bolton’s second wife, Julia Mitchell, gave an account of the death of her stepson to the Journal of the Ontario Society for Psychical Research. Volume XVI, 1913. Pages 3-6.

A bit of background on a few names might be helpful:
·       Eleanor Mildred SIDGWICK, wife of Henry SIDGWICK, was an ardent feminist and an activist for the higher education of women. She and her husband had no children, and she died February 10, 1936. SOURCE: Probate to Rt. Hon. Gerald William Earl of Balfour.

Eleanor Mildred Sidgwick

·       Henry SIDGWICK was a philosopher and economist who founded Newnham College in Cambridge in 1875, a college for women. He and his wife were both active in and founders of the Society for Psychical Research. Many prominent members of society participated.
·       Captain Charles James Bolton married Julia Eliza Mitchell in 1885. His first wife was Louisa Caroline Dare., a sister of Amelia Lydia Dare (wife of Sir Thomas Jackson). According to Sir Thomas Jackson’s daughter Amy Lloyd’s recollections, Louisa had died at sea in 1870, and her son Charles George Bolton was the only child to survive. Bolton sr. had commanded Jardine Matheson & Co.'s crack opium schooner, and when steam came, the Glenartney. He also had many other business interests on the side. Based on his marriage documents in the Jardine Matheson Archives, it would seem that he had not only a business relationship, but also a friendship with William Keswick:
An envelope containing a marriage settlement agreed between Charles James Bolton of Hong Kong, master mariner, commander of the S.S. 'Reiver'; Louisa Caroline Dare of Singapore, spinster; and William Keswick and Edward Whittall, whereby, in light of the intended marriage between Bolton and Dare, Bolton assigns his leases, stocks and shares, and various other interests to Keswick and Whittall in trust, 22 February 1864. On the back of the document is an indenture between Bolton and Keswick, whereby Bolton releases Keswick and Whittall, deceased, from the responsibilities assigned by the previous indenture and indemnifies them against all claims and demands arising with regard to that agreement, 5 December 1901.
There is a mention of Bolton sr's. diary in the following article. It would be a real coup to find that.
·       Charles George Bolton’s probate: BOLTON Charles George of H.M. ship "Benbow" lieutenant in the Royal Navy died 28 October 1900 at the infirmary Greenock Renfrewshire Administration (with Will) London 1 February to Charles James Bolton esquire Effects £129 17s. Resworn August 1901 £2926 2s. 5d. At the time of his death, he was 34 years old, and unmarried. There are no surviving members of this branch of the DARE family.

NOTE: Thanks to the research by Mark Sherbrooke, I have also updated my earlier post on Crowdsourcing and the Dares,  my annotated transcription of Thomas Jackson’s funeral, and several facts about the DAREs in the family tree at Rootsweb.  

Case L 1194.
THE following case of an apparition, seen on the first day of what proved to be the fatal illness of the person represented by it, was recently communicated to Mrs. Sidgwick by a friend of hers, who was acquainted with the percipient, Mrs. Bolton, and Mrs. Bolton then kindly sent us an account of her experience. The first account was written by her husband and signed by herself, and the corroborative statements of her servants, to whom she mentioned what she had seen at the time, are embodied in it, as follows:
December 7th, 1912.
Oct. 7, [1900] Sunday. When in church at the afternoon service, when the last hymn was being sung, I distinctly saw my step-son standing outside the pew looking in my face. I stopped singing, feeling very upset, and sat down. On looking again I saw the face again, but looking drawn and white.
On returning to the house I called the maid who always waited upon him, and I said, "Sarah, I feel Master Charles is ill; he will die," and I burst into tears. The maid said, "I think, madam, you cannot be well."
(This statement as to what my mistress said to me is quite correct.

I also spoke to E. Webb, the cook, and said, "I saw Master Charles in church, and I saw his coffin by the chancel steps."
(This statement is quite correct.

On this day Charles wrote his last letter to me.
Oct. 13. My husband heard from Charles that he was on the sick list, and this day he was moved from the "Benbow" to hospital.
Oct. 17. Much against my wish, we went to Boscombe.
Oct. 19. My husband went up to Greenock.
Oct. 24. Decided to go myself to Greenock, notwithstanding my husband's telegram that "there was a decided improvement," and telegraphing me not to come up.
Oct. 25. Doctor said there was no hope, but when [Charles] saw me his face brightened, and taking me by the hand he said, "Oh, mother, mother."
Oct. 30. On this night I felt a strong pressure on my left arm, and I put out my hand, thinking someone was there, but I felt nothing ; but I said, " Charles, are you here?" No answer came, but I felt a further strong pressure.
Oct. 30. On this day he was brought home and placed in the church.
All the dates in this statement are correct, and agree with memo.'s made in [Captain Bolton's] diary of 1900.
(Signed) C. J. BOLTON. Dec. 7th, 1912.

This is a true statement written by my husband for me.

Mrs. Sidgwick went to see Captain and Mrs. Bolton on December 7th, 1912, and gives the following account of her interview:
I saw Captain and Mrs. Bolton at their residence, Booking Hall, Braintree, yesterday. I heard from Mrs. Bolton about her experience, and received from them the account written out by Captain Bolton for his wife and signed by her. She also read me an account written by herself, which she has promised to copy and send me. It contains important points which she also told me in conversation, namely, that the letter written on the Sunday stated that her step-son, Lieutenant Bolton, K.N., had a cold, and that on account of the alarm caused by her vision she telegraphed on the Monday to ask how he was, and received a telegram in reply stating that he had slight influenza. The letter and telegrams have been destroyed. This was the beginning of the illness of which he died. Pneumonia supervened on the influenza, and then the heart failed.
I saw both the servants who signed statements in the account. It will be noticed that one speaks of a coffin at the chancel steps. Mrs. Bolton confirms this, but my impression is that, if she really saw it at the same time as the figure, it must have been much less vivid. I gathered that it was the apparition and the drawn expression of the face when she looked up and saw it again that alarmed her. The coffin actually stood in the church at the chancel steps during the night before it was buried in the churchyard of a neighbouring parish. The house, it may be observed, is quite close to the church.

In reply to a request from Mrs. Sidgwick that Captain Bolton would write his own recollection of what Mrs. Bolton had told him at the time, he wrote to her:

ESSEX, Dec. 10th, 1912.
In answer to your enquiries, I have no recollection of my wife saying anything to me regarding seeing the apparition in church, and I think this can be accounted for. Mr. ____, who was in our pew that afternoon, came in to the house with us to have tea, and remained all the afternoon, and of course she would not say anything before him, and, again, she might have thought I should consider her fanciful and foolish. . . .
I have a distinct remembrance of my wife's distress at that time, and her great anxiety, and that I postponed our visit to Boscombe for a week at her persistent request, although we had the house taken.
You must remember all this took place twelve years ago, and at 84 (my age) memory is not quite at its best.

Mrs. Bolton afterwards wrote a more detailed account from which we- extract the following:

ESSEX, Dec. 13th, 1912.
On October 7th, 1900, on Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in the Bocking Hall pew, and during the last hymn I looked up and my step-son, Lieutenant Bolton, appeared to be standing in front of me, and looking earnestly into my face. I stopped singing and sat down feeling very upset. I looked again and saw his expression had changed and he looked drawn and white. After leaving the church I came into the house and went into the housemaid's room and called my housemaid, Sarah Whybrow (who always waited upon him), and said, "Sarah, Master Charlie is ill. I have seen him and he is going to die." The maid answered, "I think, madam, you are ill." I felt so distressed I burst into uncontrollable tears.
On the next morning by the second post, Oct. 8th, I received a letter from my step-son saying "he had a slight attack of influenza." (It was the last letter he wrote to me.)
On the same day, Oct. 8th, I telegraphed to him to know how he was. The reply was, "slight influenza."
We had previously taken a house in Boscombe for the following Wednesday, 10th, but with difficulty I persuaded my husband to wait a few days here, feeling my son would want me. From the 8th telegrams between my son and me passed, but always he was "getting on." We heard of nothing serious till Saturday, 13th, when we received a telegram to say "Lieut. Bolton has been moved from the 'Benbow' to the hospital in Greenock."
The rest of the account describes the course of the illness, which terminated fatally on Sunday, October 28th, 1900.

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