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Charlotte Matilda Blake Thornley Stoker

B. 28 June 1818 at Sligo, Ireland

D. 15 March 1901 at Dublin, Ireland

 

 

Charlotte Stoker, A Family Perspective

 

Charlotte’s life story is as remarkable as any of her children’s. Descended from the Blakes of Galway and the O’Donnell lords, one of the oldest families in Ireland, Charlotte’s ancestry has been traced as far back as 561 AD. She grew up in a piously Protestant family of comfortable though certainly not luxurious means in Sligo, in the northwest of Ireland. Her young life was marked by tragedy, as she was born in the wake of a famine, which repeated with greater severity when she was four years old. In 1832, at age fourteen, she lived through a truly horrific cholera epidemic that killed more than half of the population of Sligo. Her hellish stories of apparently walking dead, living mistakenly buried with the dead in mass graves, and seemingly biblical devastation are generally considered to have been a significant influence on Bram’s Dracula.

 

The experiences of Charlotte’s young life certainly influenced the adult she would become. Charlotte Stoker was nineteen years younger than her husband Abraham; her own parents’ ages reflected a similar divide of 20 years. Although he was old enough to be her father, Abraham must have had enormous respect for Charlotte. As a married woman, Charlotte, her property, and her seven children, legally belonged to Abraham, but her voice was her own. Her children’s accounts portray her as the family’s driving force and suggest a sense of awe at her energy, intellect, and will. Her high expectations for her children doubtlessly encouraged their many accomplishments, and she is known to have been one of Bram’s trusted writing critics. Moreover, her active involvement in and contribution to the advancement of civic and social concerns—she was involved in crafting an address to Queen Victoria from the Queen’s Institute for the Training and Employment of Educated Women—also likely initiated her family’s further involvement in Dublin’s high society and culture. 

 

Abraham and Charlotte were a member and associate member, respectively, of The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, where Charlotte once memorably presented her published paper On the Necessity of a State Provision for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb of Ireland. (Read here...) With her work as an advocate for the disenfranchised, Charlotte gained the respect of many of Dublin’s gentlemen of note, including Dr. William Wilde, father of Oscar Wilde and husband to Jane Francesca “Speranza” Wilde. The Wilde family would become lifelong friends of Bram, and did much to introduce him to the society of artists and writers in which he would begin to make his own mark as early as his college days at Trinity. 

 

After Abraham retired, he, Charlotte, and their daughters lived for a time in France, Switzerland, and Italy. Charlotte remained abroad for a few years after Abraham’s death (in 1876) before returning to live in Dublin. She died at her home on Rathgar Road in 1901 and was buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery in a grave marked with this memorial:

 

In memory of

ABRAHAM STOKER

who died in Italy Oct 12 1876 Aged 77

and lies in Cava de Tirrini

 

CHARLOTTE M. B. STOKER his wife

who died in Dublin on March 15 1901

in her 83rd year and is buried here

 

Here also lies EMILY, the most beloved wife 

of SIR WILLIAM THORNLEY STOKER

who died Nov 19 1910 aged 67 years

And the above 

SIR WILLIAM THORNLEY STOKER,  Bart.

who died 1st June 1912

aged 67

                                                                                                                      W. Parker Stoker 2018