[From The Manx Quarterly, #15]
Died January 1st, 1915.
On New Year's Day, death claimed Mr George Ridgway Cookson, of Hillsdene, Douglas, a member of the Manx Bar of many years standing, and for about thirty years Chief Clerk in the Rolls Office, Isle of Man. Mr Cookson, who was 59 years old, and a bachelor, had been more or less in ill-health since 1912, and in the early part of last August he became seriously indisposed. Over three months age he entered Noble's Isle of Man Hospital as a private patent, and at that institution received constant and assiduous attention and treatment from the medical and nursing staffs. It soon, however, became apparent that his malady, which was internal of character, must end fatally, and he gradually sank. For same time before death he was in a semi-conscious condition, but at intervals he was able to recognise and greet cheerfully his friends. Mr G. R. Cookson was the eldest son of the late George Cookson, M.D. (Edinburgh), who half-a-century ago had an extensive medical practice in Douglas and district, and who was held in great respect and esteem by Manx people. Mr G. R. Cookson's mother was one of the daughters of the late Mr Thomas Harrison, J.P., of Woodbourne, and was a sister to the late Mr Ridgway Harrison, for many years H.M. Seneschal and Crown Receiver for the Isle of Man, and for some time Water Bailiff and Receiver-General. Educated first at the Ramsey Grammar School, and subsequently at a school conducted by Dr Sparrow, in Ludlow, Shropshire, Mr G. R. Cookson had for one of his schoolfellows at the later establishment Mr Stanley Weyman, the writer of numerous historical novels of great distinction. In 1872 Mr Cookson was entered a student for the Manx Bar, and was articled to his uncle, the late Mr Ridgway but his articles were subsequently transferred to the late Mr Alfred Walter Adams (afterwards Clerk of the Rolls), of the firm of Adams and Dickinson and the remainder of his career as a student was under the guidance of that famous law firm. In 1877 he was admitted to the Manx Bar, but after a brief period of practice in Douglas he proceeded to the United States, where he remained far about two years. He returned to Douglas in the early 'eighties, and shortly afterwards was appointed to the Chief Clerkship in the Rolls Office. In those days the late Sir Alured Dumbell was Clerk of the Rolls, and by that distinguished judge, as by his successors in office, Mr Cookson was highly respected and esteemed. Mr Cookson. also held the appointment of Southern Deemster's Clerk, and some years ago he was offered by the House of Keys the post of Secretary to the House, but he did not accept the office. For many years he was Isle of Man agent for the long-established Sun Fire Insurance Company, and at the time of his death he was local director of the company. Two years ago he resigned the agency and was succeeded by Mr Douglas H. Rothwell. Of retiring disposition and of somewhat brusque general manner, Mr Cookson was a most kindly gentleman at heart, and he did considerable good by stealth. By his intimates he was regarded with deep affection, and indeed all who knew him well thought highly of him, and received the news of his death with deep regret. He had an abundant fund of quiet humour, and being an excellent raconteur, he was wont, when in the mood, to tell some excellent stories,many of them against himself. Mr Cookson's two sisters who resided at Brighton, came to Douglas some weeks before their brother's death and attended upon him during the days of his gradual sinking. He had three brothers Herbert,, who is in San Francisco; Wilfrid, in Prince George. British Columbia: ; and Cecil is Victoria, B.C.
Owing to the early publication of Manx weekly newspapers last week, there was no medium available in the Island for public notification of the death of Mr Cookson or for announcement of the funeral; nevertheless a very considerable gathering took place on Monday morning in connection with the obsequies. Among those who attended to pay the last tribute of respect were the Clerk of the Rolls, Deemster Callow, the Speaker of the House of Keys, the High-Bailiff of Douglas and Castletown (Mr J. S. Gell), Dr Richardson, Messrs Edwyn Kneen, J. A. Barthelemy, Jas. Kissack, R. Whiteside, J. Royston, W. Lay, R. F. Douglas, F. Nivholson, P. Gell, W. H. Okell, R. D. Farrant, T. Browns, W. F. Dickinson, J. Cubbon, J. H. Clarke, R. D. Gelling, F. J. Johnson, W. A. Stovenson, Jas. Hartley, John Cannell, J. E. Quayle, J. King (Rolls Office), J. E. Douglas, W. R. Kay, E. T. Kissack, J. H. Aitken, L. S. Kneale, Jas. Burman, F. M. LaMothe, R. E. Allen, D. F. Putt, C. B. Nelson, A. Robertson, E. C. Kneen, R. G. Johnson, and G. S. Johnson.
The principal mourners were, Mr Arthur Murray Crellin, Ballachurry, Andreas; Mr W. A. Stevenson, J.P., Castletown ; General H. W. Stevenson, Castleton, Mr S. H. Wilson, Farm Hill; Mr D. Rothwell and Mr A. A. Whiteside.
The cortege included a large number private carriages, including one sent by Miss Harris, of Marathon, an old friend of the family.
Wreaths and other floral tokens: remembrance were received from "His sorrowing brothers and sisters"; Wm. Nanson and Miss Fanny R. Harrison London (cousins); the Clerk of the Rolls and Mrs Kneen ; Dr and Mrs Richardson, Mrs Rowlandson and her grandson; Madge and Jim Frazer; Messrs W. F. Dickinson and John Cubbon ; Messrs A. A. Whiteside and D. H. Rothwell ; the Misses Moore, Cronkbourne; and Mr and Mrs G. W. S. Cox.
The Rev W. A. Rushworth, M.A., vicar of Braddann, conducted the service for the burial of the dead, in the Parish Church and at the graveside. Internment was at Kirk Braddan Cemetery.
Died January 2nd, 1915.
Having attained to the ripe old age of ninety years, Mrs Jane Callister, of 16 Queen's - terrace, Douglas, a much respected lady, died on Jan. 2nd. She was the widow of the late Mr Daniel Callister, who formerly carried on business in Castle-street, Douglas, as a master blacksmith and ironmonger, and who built considerable house property in the town during the early 'sixties. Mr Daniel Callister held for several years the position of foreman of the setting Quest of Onchan. Mrs Callister, prior to her marriage with Mr Callister, was a Miss Kelly, and she came of a well-known family of farmers in Onchan. ger father was the late Mr William Kelly, of Ballachrink, and it may be mentioned that her people were remarkable for longevity. A brother, the late Mr Thomas Kelly, formerly of Barroose, Lonan, died recently at the age of 95; while one of her sisters, the late Mrs Thomas Cain, attained to the age of over 80 years, and another, the late Mrs Cowin, of Ballachrink, was nearly 80 years old at the time of her death. Mrs Callister leaves three sons Mr William Callister, formerly Receiver of Dock and Town Dues in connection with the port of Liverpool, now retired, and resident at Oxton, Birkenhead; Mr R. D. Callister, retired bank manager, Douglas; and Mr H. Callister, retired marine engineer, of Douglas. and one daughter. The funeral took place on Tuesday, internment being at Onchan Churchyard.