Who was Cassidy Baker?
The following research regarding the mystery of this lady’s complex life has proved to be very challenging!
No census returns found, no birth recorded, no workhouse or online poor law records, was she married? Only the UK Lunacy Patients Admissions Register 1846-1912 could give us her name Cassidy Baker, or Cassie Mildred Baker and the date she was admitted to Horton Asylum which was 24th February 1909. The date of her death was 9 months later on 29th November. Her approximate age of 40 years is shown on Uk and Ireland Find a Grave Index.
There were two further Lunacy records with the name of Cassie Baker. One admittance to Wells Asylum Somerset 1904 for a period of 7 months and another in Bristol Asylum 1906 for 5 months. Is this Cassidy?
Newspaper reports were found of a lady Nurse suffering memory loss. A criminal charge in the UK Calendar of Prisoners 1868-1929, again a Nurse.
The death certificate was the turning point of the research. After which, records found in the unindexed part of Ancestry the London Poor Law and settlements for Wandsworth, held information on Cassidy’s transfer to Horton Asylum.
Now I will proceed with the story I feel is the true Cassidy Baker.
Caroline Elizabeth Trull was born in the first quarter of 1858 in Worcester. She was the daughter of Thomas Henry Trull who was the son of James and Eliza Trull, and Caroline, possible daughter of John Green, a Waterman, and Sarah.
She was baptised at St Peter the Great, Worcester on the 21 March 1858.
Thomas was a gardener born 1828 in Bristol, the family moving to Worcester before the 1841 census. Caroline was born 1830 in Gloucester and her family had also moved to Worcester.
Thomas and Caroline were married at St Peter the Great in 1855 situated south of the city of Worcester and east of the River Severn.
Their first child was Sarah Martha born in 1856, her birth registered in Cardiff, Sarah taking Caroline’s mother’s name and Martha after Thomas’ younger sister.
Next came Caroline Elizabeth born in 1858, named after her mother and Thomas’ mother Eliza.
Their third child was Thomas James born in 1864 in Bristol named after his father Thomas and James after Thomas’ father and brother.
Sarah was baptised on 9 November 1855 at the parish church of Wenvoe, a village between Cardiff and Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Caroline was baptised on 21 March 1858 at St Peter the Great Worcester. Family residing near Cardiff. Bovelstone? Possibly a village called Bonvilston, 4 miles east of Cowbridge.
Thomas was baptised on 12 February 1865 in St Michael the Archangel on the Mount, Bristol. Residing in Southwell Street.
We can see by the baptisms the family have moved around possibly for Thomas’ work. Extensive search using a combination of spelling of Trull and similar sounding names, plus the addresses of the baptisms. I haven’t been able to locate them in the 1861 census.
In the 1871 Census the family have been found with the name being transcribed as Scull. Living at 13 Charlotte Street Bedminster, Bristol.
Thomas, Head 43, a Gardener, Caroline 41 a Dressmaker, Sarah 14, Caroline 13 and Thomas are noted as Scholars.
The 1881 census finds Thomas 54 formerly a gardener, Caroline 51, Sarah 24 a Staymaker and Thomas James 16 a Telegraph Messenger. They have moved to number 3 Old Charlotte Street. Caroline is no longer living at home or is away visiting. I am unable to locate her. She states later on in her admission notes that she was working as a nurse when she was 17 years old.
Whilst searching for Caroline I came across a newspaper article from 1885. A very sad story of Eliza Clifford a 7-year-old girl dying of burns. A Miss Caroline Trull tried to save the child by wrapping her in her shawl. Given that Caroline states she worked away from home is this Caroline’s mother and not Caroline herself?.
15 January 1885, Bristol Mercury.
On 8 January 1888, Caroline Elizabeth Trull daughter of Thomas a Gardener married Louis Baker a carman, son of William Baker a Labourer at All Saints Church, Paddington.
Caroline is recorded age 26, Louis 22. We now know that Caroline was 30. She was living at 62 Star Street, a comfortable part of Paddington, and Louis was living at 15a South Wharf Street, a few streets away near the Grand Union Canal, a poorer area according to Booth’s maps. The witnesses were Thomas and Alice Baker, Louis’ older brother and his wife. Caroline confirms this date and place of her marriage in the admissions record.
Louis Baker was born in the third quarter of 1867 and was registered as Lewis Baker, in Williton Registration District, Taunton, Somerset. He was baptised on 20 October 1867,his parents were William Baker a Labourer and Janetta (Jane) at Cutcombe church in Minehead, Somerset.
The 1891 census shows Louis Baker aged 25, a brick carter, his birthplace Somerset, his wife Caroline 29, whose birthplace was Worcestershire. They were living at 97 Cirencester Street Paddington. One of four families in the building. According to Booth’s Maps it was a poor area, 18s-21s pay a week.
Caroline’s parents were still living at 3 Old Charlotte Street Bedminster. With daughter Sarah single Staymaker.
On 1 March 1892 sadly Thomas Trull died.
I am unable to find Caroline in the 1901 census with the names and range of ages she had previously used. However, I can find a possible Louis living with a lady he called his wife, namely Emma 24 from Felixstowe. They were living in Ranelagh Road by the Grand Union canal, the road is now called Lords Hill Road, this joins Cirencester Street where he was previously living with Caroline.
The 1901 entry for Louis Baker
There is an entry in the 1904 London Electoral Register 1832-1965; which shows Louis Baker living at 13 Bloomfield Mews, Paddington. Brother Thomas and wife Alice are living at no 8.
1904 is the year where Caroline’s story starts to highlight her mental illness.
There is an admittance for a Cassie Baker to Wells Asylum in Somerset. On searching the newspaper records on Find My Past I found an article on Cassie Baker with the headline ……
Woman’s loss of Memory.
The transcription reads as follows –
It states a young lady on entering the waiting room of the Somerset to Dorset station, Wells on Wednesday evening just before 6 o’clock, discovered a middle aged respectably dressed woman on the floor. The station master Mr Norman and a passing Dr Lauder Smith attended. She was immediately removed to the Cottage Hospital. On regaining consciousness, the authorities were surprised to find she had a loss of memory and could give no explanation as to where she had come from or going to.
On her clothing and on a quantity of clean linen in her basket was the name C Baker. A curious feature of the case is that no letters or writing of any kind were found on her to throw light on the matter. The woman was carrying an umbrella presumably bought at 6 Union Street, Bristol. In appearance the woman resembled a nurse. On the Friday she recovered sufficiently to give a disjointed account of herself.
She stated that she was a widow and her husband died in India some years ago. She was a nurse and had also been to South Africa. She alleged her home was in Bayswater and she had 3 children.
The hospital authorities say this statement is open to criticism, so the aid of the press has been enlisted.
The description circulated is as follows:- Fair, with light brown hair, about 5ft 5in in height. Wearing a cloak of black tweed spotted with white with 4 pearl buttons. Black coat and skirt piped with satin. Lace boot, black picture hat and paste buckle. Articles she wore were a small gold brooch, silver Genova watch, a bunch of charms. A gold wedding ring, chaste gold keeper, gold ring with diamonds and earrings. She had a purse containing a two-shilling piece and some coppers.
The woman has since been identified as Mrs Cassie Baker, and her mother Mrs Trull resident at 14 Lansdown Road Bedminster. Bristol. When found in the waiting room Mrs Baker was on her way to take charge of a nursing case at Glastonbury but the hospital authorities have been unable to ascertain whether there is any truth in this statement. On Monday Mrs Baker was certified as insane and later in the day was removed to the Asylum.
7 April 1904 Wells Journal
UK lunacy Patients Admission Register 1868-1912
Reading the article, it leads me to think: did she forget she was Caroline or did she choose this name or was it maybe a pet name.
I will now refer to her as Cassie.
Cassie’s statements have been researched. There are no children found in the GRO with Baker and mother Trull. I searched for a nurse maybe in South Africa during the Boer War but there are no lists of nurses to be found online. I cannot find a Lansdown Road in Bedminster, the nearest is in Clifton Bristol, this on current Google maps.
Cassie was admitted to Wells Asylum on the 4th of April 1904 and discharged on the 19th of November 1904, having ‘improved according to the register’.
Where she went after this is a mystery but on 12 March 1906 there is an entry for a Cassy Baker being admitted to the Bristol Asylum. This is speculation. She was discharged 5 months later on 4th August 1906. Although likely I cannot find any information online to confirm this.
UK Lunacy Patients Admission Register 1868-1912
In the first quarter of 1908 Cassie’s mother Caroline died in Bristol.
I have found a possible death for her husband Louis Baker in GRO.
With the death of her mother and possible demise of her estranged husband, Cassie has another episode of mental health that brings her to the attention of the criminal courts and newspapers.
Sadly, in October 1908 Cassie is up before the judge for attempted suicide. She was acquitted.
Wells Journal 22nd Oct 1908
Uk Calendar of Prisoners, 1868-1929.
Cassie says she had undergone surgeries for Cancer and was taking Laudanum for the pain. She also says she was discharged from Bristol hospital on the day in question.
Laudanum, Tincture of Opium, was an over-the-counter Opiate used for pain and constipation. Also known as mother’s little helper. It’s possible Cassie had an addiction.
Unfortunately, after Cassie was discharged from the trial late October, I am unable to locate her until 4 months later.
Arrival at Wandsworth Union Workhouse
The Reception Order reveals that on 22 February 1909, she was found at Lavender Hill in London once again suffering a loss of memory and brought into Lavender Hill Police station by PC 443, Christopher Megus. The Report says, Cassidy Baker, widow, 40 years old, a Nurse, C of E, and suicidal. Not a danger to others.
C Baker or Cissie Mildred Eastwood, aged 40, height 5’6 inches. A fair complexion with grey eyes, and she was wearing a black skirt, black bodice and jacket trimmed with chiffon and feathers. Open work black stockings, lace shoes. Underwear marked C Baker. She was carrying a copy of St Luke’s Gospel inscribed inside “C Baker”. Portion of visiting card Nurse Eastwood. No Watch, Jewellery or money is mentioned.
On 23 February she is seen by Dr Gosham and is transferred to Horton Asylum on 24 February. Sadly, it states she has ‘No friends’ on the reception order. The Police decide to make special enquiries as she seems like a “mystery woman”
By 8 April 1909, PC Megus, states that enquiries had been made at St Thomas’ hospital, she is not known as being a nurse there.
She is interviewed again on 22 June 1909 after she had moved to Horton Asylum.
The notes read as follows –
She states she is Cassie Mildred Trull and married Victor Louis Baker a medical student at St Thomas’ hospital on 8 January 1888. After the marriage they spent a year in Somerset before going to India. Louis died there, in 1904 Cassie came back to stay with her mother Elizabeth.
Her mother was a widow with a boarding house 11 South Road, Weston- Super- Mare. After a year Cassie says she took a nursing job in Dunster. She then returned to her mother who had moved to Claremont Terrace, Weston-Super-Mare. She stayed for two years then her mother died Cassie was unable to stay on.
She states that her husband’s father was William, and he was a Doctor her mother Elizabeth married in Porlock, Somerset. She has no friends and maybe two brothers. Then says has no living relatives.
Sadly Cassie was to die on 29th November 1909 only 9 months after being admitted to Horton Asylum from Heart Disease. There is no mention of her mental health diagnosis or cancer.
What happened to Cassie’s Family?
Cassie’s sister Sarah remained a spinster working at home as a staymaker in the corset industry. 1901 she is living with her mother, and I assume they are together her until 1908 in Old Charlotte Street. In the 1911 and 1921 census she has moved further down Old Charlotte Street. She died in 1931 and is buried along with her father and mother in Bristol. This contradicts Cassie’s statement that her mother was in Weston- super- mare.
Her brother Thomas travelled widely overseas as a cable operator for the Royal Mail. He married and had a family of his own, died in 1927 in Spain.
Did Sarah and Thomas know what happened to their sister?
Life in Cassie’s mind.
“My name is Cassie; I am the daughter of Elizabeth and Frederick Trull born in Worcester 21st February 1868. I became a nurse at the age of 17. I trained as a nurse in St Thomas hospital for 3 years. I married on 8th Jan 1888 in All Saints, Paddington, to Victor Louis Baker a medical student at St Thomas hospital. He is the son of William a Dr and Elizabeth Baker from somerset. For a year after the marriage, we lived in somerset then in 1889 moved to India, we had 3 children and my husband died there. (Later she says they went to South Africa and she had no children and Louis died there). I came back to England in 1904 and stayed with my mother between my nursing jobs. One was for a few months in Dunster. I also resided in Bayswater London. I have had several operations for cancer and the pain is constant and I need Laudanum to cope with the pain. My mother died in 1908 and I have felt depressed and suicidal. I have no friends or living relatives, maybe two brothers. “
Cassie has proved to be a challenge with her changes of name and then trying to separate fact from fiction. All of which leaves me with many questions. Was she a nurse or a carer with inflated views of herself? The earliest dates of a Nurses register are for 1898 on Ancestry. If she was trained, then……. where? St Thomas hospital had no knowledge of her. Did she live a life of delusion? Was it due to a drug addiction? She gave a false age on her marriage so was she suffering at an early age from a mental health which led to her having a dual personality or just delusional, living in her own fantasy world? Could this be the cause of the assumed break down of her marriage? Maybe she went to South Africa to nurse in the boar War. She was dressed respectfully like a nurse when she was found. She didn’t have the jewellery and any money when she was last found in Lavender Hill unlike when she was found in 1904. She carried a card saying nurse Eastwood did she use this name also? She was obviously religious as she carried the gospel of St Luke when she was found in 1909.
The dates she gives do tie in with her asylum admittances.
As you can see Cassie leaves us with more questions than answers.
Maybe in time more documents can be found to help solve the mystery and a photograph would be amazing.
Cassie has become special to me.