Mary Clegg Rusden (1835-1867)
Ambrotype taken in 1860
Victorian Photograph Collection of Jennifer Carnell


Quarter plate ruby ambrotype by an unknown photographer.

Mary Clegg McClure was born in Nantwich, Cheshire in 1835, the daughter of Andrew and Alice McClure.

In the 1851 census, when she was sixteen years old, Mary was living at 4 Mill Street, Nantwich with her mother (who was the owner of houses and in receipt of interest for her income), and her siblings. Her sisters were called Sarah (age 19), Alice Ann (age 14), Harriet (age 11), and Elizabeth (age 7). Her brother Andrew was age nine. Also in the household was a governess called Emily Triggs, Rachel Tomlinson (a 14 year old visitor), Mary Latham (an 18 year old servant) and Emily Hampson (a 14 year old servant).

In 1855 Mary married a Brazil merchant (later described as a South American and colonial merchant) from Falmouth, Cornwall called Richard Dunn Rusden (1827-1897). On the night of the 1861 census Mary was visiting her mother at 97 Hospital Street, Nantwich. Mary was now the mother of two sons, Richard J. N. Rusden age four (born 1856) and Athelstan John Richard Rusden age three. Both boys were born in Manchester. Also in the house were her brother Edward W. McClure (a solicitor age 32), sister Sarah (a schoolmistress age 28), sister Alice (a schoolmistress age 22), and her eighteen year old sister Harriet.


Sadly, Mary died when she was only thirty two years old in Salford in 1867.

Althought it was not legal at that time to marry the sister of a deceased wife, her widower then married her younger sister Alice Ann and they went on to have children including, strangely, a second son called Richard (Richard Edgecombe Rusden).

In 1881 Mary's son Athelstan was a young artist living in London lodgings and in 1901 he was in lodgings in Broughton, Lancashire, working as an artist and illustrator. He illustrated a number of books and magazines as Athelstan D. Rusden. Mary's other son Richard James Nelson Rusden became a cotton manufacturer in Didsbury.

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