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The Nineteenth Century:
Subscription for the relief of the Cumming children, 1852
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A rather sombre appeal for financial help was published in "The Derby Mercury" in late January, 1852 following the tragic death of James Cumming and his son, also called James.

"To The Benevolent
By the melancholy death of Mr. CUMMING, of Buxton, Surgeon, who (with his eldest Son, a boy of 11 years old) was accidentally drowned at Matlock, on Friday last, his Widow and Seven little children are left totally destitute. It is proposed to raise by subscription a Sum of Money, to be applied to their relief at the discretion of the Rev. R.P. HULL BROWN, S. SMITHERS, Esq., and W. H. ROBERTSON, Esq., M.D.[1]"

James Cumming senior was well known in the locality as he had been baptised at Matlock and had been brought up at the Old Bath Hotel in Matlock Bath, so had many friends in the village.


Subscriptions received by 28 January[1]


Subscriptions already received:
Amongst the non Matlock names listed were included the following. Those marked with a * are either known to be or are assumed to be relatives of the deceased and have been identified as such by David L. Bates. Those marked ** are also probably connected with the family in some way.

(Selection only)
His Grace the Duke of Devonshire
Her Grace the Duchess of Roxburghe
Wm. Evans, Esq., M.P.
The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop Spencer
The Rev. R P Hull Brown, M.A.
Sir Joseph Paxton
W H Robertson, Esq., M.D.*
Sidney Smithers, Esq.

Mrs. Pickford*
Mrs. Godwin*

Miss Atherton, Manchester*

Rev. H Hodgson*

D. Fox, Esq.**

Mr. Brian Bates*

Mrs. Swann*
Misses Swann*

Matlock District

Peter Arkwright, Esq.
John Arkwright, Esq.
Frederic Arkwright, Esq.
Alfred Arkwright, Esq.
James R Wigram, Esq.
Miss Colville
John Clowes, Esq.
James Arkwright, Esq.
Miss Arkwright
J C Arkwright, Esq.
Colonel Clowes
Augustus Arkwright, Esq.
Mr. Cantrell
Mrs. Colonel Leacroft
Rev. W R Melville
Rev. W G Barker
Peter Walthall, Esq., Darley
James Milnes, Esq.
Mr. J Allen
Mr. Hodgkinson (Hotel)
Mrs. Wragge (Rowsley)
Mr. Vallance (Museum)
H. V., by Mr. Vallance
Mr. G W Saxton
Mrs. and Miss Higgs
Miss Faulkes
J Gibbs Barker, Esq.
Charles Clarke, Esq.
Miss Evans, Cromford-bridge
Miss Carrill Worsley
Messrs. Bemrose and Son
John Smedley,, Esq., Lea
John Wathey, Esq., Dethick
Mr. Close, Nottingham
Mr. Mout, Surgeon, Wirksworth
J. Hurst, Esq., Clapham
Mr. Greaves, Old Bath Hotel
J C Newbold, Esq
Smaller Sums

Received at the Mercury Office:
Archibald Fox, Esq.**

Miss Clay

£- s. d.
100- 0- 0
10- 0- 0
20- 0- 0
5- 0- 0
5- 0- 0
5- 0- 0
5- 0- 0
5- 0- 0

5- 0- 0
5- 0- 0

5- 0- 0

2- 2- 0

1- 1- 0

1- 0- 0

1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0



5- 0- 0
5- 0- 0
2- 0- 0
2- 0- 0
2- 0- 0
2- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
5- 0- 0
5- 0- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
2- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
2- 2- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 1- 0
7-10 6


1- 1- 0

1- 0- 0

There were collections in Ashbourne, Chesterfield and Sheffield and more money was received via the newspaper than the selection shown[1].
The sum collected at this stage was £389 9s 6d[2]


Subscriptions received by 4 February[2]

A second list was published a week after the first one and included:


Rev. Dr. Robertson, Brighton**
From the Benevolent Fund of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association, per Dr. Heygate

Mr. Symonds, Matlock
S. Evans, Esq.

Miss Walthall, Darley
Miss Harwood, Dale Cottage
A Friend
J. Wass, Esq., Lea

Received at the Mercury Office:
Lady Charles Fox**

£- s. d.
11-13- 0
10- 0- 0

5- 0- 0
5- 0- 0

1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0


1- 0- 0


"An Earnest Appeal" - Subscriptions received by 6 February[3]

Two days later yet another list was printed, this time in "The Morning Post".
The total already donated had reached £587 15s.
Donations could be made at banks in London, Derby, Sheffield, Buxton and Bakewell. They could also be sent or handed to Rev. Hull Brown, Mr. Robertson at Chesterfield Post Office or Mr. Vallance at Matlock [Bath] or at the London solicitors of Vallance and Vallance.

Amongst the well known people of the day was:
Earl Cornwallis
A B Hope, Esq., M.P.
Lady Scudamore
Thos. Hobhouse, Esq., M.P.
The Dowager Countess Granville

Matlock List:
Lady Cotman
Jno. Greaves, Esq.
Edward Radford, Esq.
Y. Z.
Mrs. Hubbersty
Mr. P. Hubbersty
C C Wesley, Esq.
Mr. J Nanson
Thos. Poyser, Esq.
Geo. Hodgkinson, Esq.
Jno. Garton, Esq.
J C Pinching, Esq.
Mrs. Gilbert
Miss Fanny Arkwright
The Misses Howard
A Friend
Rev. R M Jones
Chas Milnes, Esq.
Miss Wilkinson
Rev. C. Evans
Mrs. Goodwin
Major Hurt
Jas Wall, Esq

Small sums
Per Messrs. Vallance and Vallance

£- s. d
100- 0- 0
5- 0- 0
2- 0- 0
1- 1- 0
5- 0- 0


5- 0- 0
5- 0- 0
3- 0- 0
3- 0- 0
2- 2- 0
2- 2- 0
2- 0- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 1- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 0- 0
1- 7- 0

0 10- 0

There were numerous other subscribers listed, but are assumed to be not of Matlock and district so are not included here.


Subscriptions received by 3 March[4]

An article about the subsequent death of Mrs. Cumming, the surgeon's widow, was published in both "The Derby Mercury" and "The Derby Courier". It is reproduced elsewhere on the site.
It included a tactful reminder that the subscription list for "this unfortunate, distressed, and apparently doomed family" was still open, adding that the money would now be used for the education and maintenance of the orphaned children.

Printed below the article was a further list that included:[4]


A. B.
A Friend
F. B. and L. B.
The Rt. Hon. Lord Scarsdale
Rev. W. Cantrell

Matlock District:
Mr. John Rains
Matlock Friends

£- s. d
10- 0
10- 0
10- 0
3- 3- 0
1- 0- 0


10- 0
10- 0


What happened to the children?

From research undertaken by Brian H. Bates and David L. Bates, whose ancestress was a cousin of Mr. Cumming and was the lady who accompanied Mrs. Cumming on her final journey, it is known that three of them were taken in by the St Anne's Society School in London; it is not certain which of the children went to the school but possibly the elder son and the twin daughters. The youngest was only three years old when he was orphaned and he and his slightly older sister were admitted to an orphanage in Wanstead. Perhaps they were too young at the time for the school their elder siblings were educated at.

At least three of the daughters became governesses and two married. The eldest, Elizabeth, went on to marry G B Sinclair, a shipping broker of Berwick on Tweed who received honours from several European countries for his work as their Consul or Vice-Consul. One son returned to Derbyshire but, sadly, did not prosper.

Some of the daughters, namely Alice, Flora and Rebecca, can be found listed amongst the Matlock Strays.

Also see:
Biographies Cumming and, in particular Cumming, James
His baptism | Burials at Matlock
For more on the very sad events that overtook this family see Newspaper Cuttings
Bryan's book[5] gives a full account of the drowning accident, which can be emailed to anyone who is interested in reading it.


 The Old Bath     Boating on the River Derwent, 1914 mentions James and his son


References:

[1] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 28 January, 1852
[2] ibid., Wednesday, 4 February, 1852
[3] "The Morning Post", Friday, 6 February, 1852
[4] "The Derby Mercury", Wednesday, 3 March, 1852
[5] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited


Information above researched, provided by and © Ann Andrews. Intended for personal use only.