Mary Jane Merrick

Mary Jane Merrick

Mary Jane Merrick

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Mary Jane Merrick (19 May, 1837 - 19 May, 1873) was the mother of a well known 19th century historical figure called Joseph Carey Merrick or John Merrick, better known as The Elephant Man.

There are not many known facts about Mary Jane Merrick. She was born Mary Jane Potterton in Evington. According to family accounts, she was "crippled". This did not prevent her marriage to Joseph Rockley Merrick on 29 December, 1861.

Their eldest son Joseph was born on 5 August, 1862 in Leicester. Their younger son William Arthur Merrick was born on 8 January, 1866, followed by their daughter Marion Eliza Merrick on 28 September, 1867. William contracted scarlet fever and died on 21 December, 1870. Marion Eliza had been disabled since birth but would survive until 19 March, 1891, dying from a seizure.

Mary Jane herself died from bronchial pneumonia on 19 May 1873. Her husband was re-married to Emma Wood Antill on 3 December, 1874. Emma soon convinced her new husband to send the deformed Joseph away.

The Elephant Man, a film first released on 3 October, 1980 , features her son "John" speaking high of her. "She has a face of an angel" by his words. John is depicted looking at a small picture of his mother very often in the film.


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