Harry Higgins is my third cousin, thrice removed and son of Joseph Higgins and Sarah Boyes.
Harry was born in 1888 in Barnsley but moved to Mexborough, with his family, in the 1890s. Harry’s grandfather, James Higgins, was involved in a fatal mining accident in 1881 in Swaithe Main Colliery, Worsbrough, Barnsley. Harry’s brother, Wilfred, was a casualty of World War One.
Harry married twice. His first wife, Annie Gomersal, who he married in 1909, died in tragic circumstances as detailed below in a newspaper article published shortly after her death. Annie had only given birth four months prior to her death, so it is perhaps reasonable to assume that she suffered from postnatal depression.
MEXBOROUGH AND SWINTON TIMES, SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 1912
DENABY WOMAN POISONS HERSELF.
Husband’s Sad Discovery.
Coroner and the Sale of Poisons.
Mr. F. Allen, the Doncaster Coroner, held an inquest at Denaby Main Hotel on Wednesday night, on Annie Higgins (22), wife of Harry Higgins, collier, of 20, Blyth street, who died as a result of taking carbolic acid the night previous. Deceased was confined twelve months ago, and had since been in a poor state of health.
Deceased sent somebody to the chemist for two bottles of carbolic acid and some liniment, with the explanation that she intended to disinfect. Shortly afterwards she went upstairs and found deceased lying on the bed insensible, with the bottle at her side.
Higgins said his wife had an attack of influenza lately, and had also complained of pains in the head.
Dr. Feroze, of Denaby, said deceased was covered with burns about the face, mouth, chest and eyes. Death was due to carbolic acid poisoning.
The Coroner said the law in regard to the sale of poisons was a very unsatisfactory state of affairs. They had a condition of affairs where a child could go to a chemist’s shop and buy poison without any precaution whatever. It was dangerous and something ought to be done.
A verdict of “Death during temporary insanity,” was returned.