We received an email from a relative wanting to tell their family story which we always tell them it’s their story to tell so no permission required from us …
I really admire the work that you do. My 2nd great grandmother was admitted to hartwood. Lair 289, Unfortunately her voice was never really heard. I’m happy to tell you her story
Hortense was born Horthansia Vervoort on 23rd January 1892 to Joannes Baptisa vervoort and Joanne Maria Mertens, she was the youngest to 6 siblings and her father died when she was 7 years old. Whilst living in Antwerp she grew up on a farm. I have also included a photo of her.
Hortence married Julius van megroot on 21st December 1913 where we believe she was happy at first..
Hortence became a Belgian Refugee and travelled fromAntwerp to Glasgow when Germany invaded Belgium in 1914. Prior to arriving in Glasgow in march 1915, 7 months pregnant- she was alone. Julius was Belgian soldier presently in France. Hortense didn’t have any family in Glasgow and spoke barely any English..
Hortense gave birth to a baby boy on 9th June 1915
Hortence was admitted to Renfrew District Asylum on 22 June 1915 after the birth of her baby boy Albert, her diagnosis being "person of an unsound mind" she was transferred to Lanark District Asylum on 6th January 1916 and remained there till her death on 7th March 1919
It was stated that she would remain at the Asylum for eternity as per her admission notes for Renfrew on the basis of being suicidal and dangerous to others
Whilst admitted her husband, Julius never went to see her, the only visitors she had were the Belgian charities offering such comfort and money. It was our understanding that she was suffering from post natal depression and just needed a friend.
It was described that she took little or no interest in her infant, refuses nourishment and is anxious about her husband who is in Belgian fighting at the front:
It was believed at the time Julius was having an affair with a German woman, and she believed he had abandoned her.
Since being at the asylum it was observed that she is extremely emotional, crying out and weeping hysterically. With the doctors unable to understand her she spent days on end confined to her bed where she developed several bed sores.
Hortense eventually died 7th March from disseminated tuberculosis after nearly 3 years since being admitted.
Upon her death Julius and her son Albert who would have been approaching 4 moved to Canada.
With kind regards Charlotte