CHARGE OF BIGAMY

Lucky Death Certificate

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, Wednesday 12th April 1889


 At Blackpool, on Monday, Eliza Ann Hart was charged with committing bigamy by marrying John Auty last May whilst her husband, Thomas Henry Hart, whom she married in June, 1895, at Buxton, was alive.  The case had been adjourned for six months for Hart to bring the death certificate of a man named Atherton, her first husband, who had died in Australia.  Asked if she had it, Hart said the solicitor had, but he would not let her have it without payment.
 The Deputy Town Clerk, who prosecuted, stated that when the defendant married Hart at Buxton in 1895, she described herself as a widow named Eliza Ann Pearson, aged 33, and when she married Auty last year she described herself as Eliza Ann Atherton, aged 31.  (Laughter.)  She married Peter Atherton at Stockport Registry Office in August, 1889, and in 1891 he left her, going to Australia.  In 1892 she heard he was dead and married a man called Pearson, who died in 1894.  In 1895 she married Hart, and soon afterwards heard that her first husband, Atherton, was alive, and he did not die until 1897.  Mr Butterworth, continuing, said she was charged with marrying husband number four whilst husband number three was alive, but she said that when she married husband number three husband number one was alive; therefore she could not be charged with bigamously marrying husband number four.  (Laughter.)
 Evidence having been given of the marriages, Mr Turner, solicitor, who had the death certificate of Peter Atherton, appeared in court and produced it.  It set forth that Peter Atherton died in Melbourn, April 11th, 1897.  -  After this evidence the case was withdrawn, the chairman remarking to Hart, “Mrs Hart, Pearson or whatever your name is, the case is withdrawn”.

As a summary of above artical the following details can be confirmed regarding the various husbands
No.1: Peter Atherton, married Aug 1889, Stockton Registry Office as Eliza Ann FISHER
   Emigrates to Australia in 1891, but does not die until 1897
No.2: William Pearson, married Sep Qtr 1892, Sheffield Registration District
   Dies 1894
No.3: Thomas Henry Hart, married 4 Jun 1895, Buxton, St John Baptist as Eliza Ann PEARSON
   Some of the newspaper articles say on hearing Atherton was still alive she left Hart, but Hart is obviously still alive when she marries Auty
No.4: John Auty, married 14 May 1898, Marton, St Pauls as Eliza Ann ATHERTON

However the line of marriages does not end with the court case
No.5: Joseph Pickles, married 29 Sep 1908, Cholton on Medlock, St Pauls as Eliza Ann AUTY