“How was your visit with Claire?”
“Fine, Mother. We had a good time.”
“Paignton’s a long way from Penzance, just to go for a few days. Is she married yet? Where did you stay?”
“No, she’s not, and I stayed with her at her boarding house.”
“What did you do? I hope you didn’t get into any trouble.”
“No, Mother, we didn’t. We did the usual, walked on the beach, shopped at Rossiters, had tea, talked, went to the Paignton Picture House.”
My sister smiled. She knew whom I had met in Paignton and why. And she wasn’t telling.
#CarrotRanchChallenge #99WordStories #Secrets #HighamFamilyHistory #AppletonFamilyHistory #Marriage #GeneologicalResearch #MargaretGHanna
Geneological research can yield surprises.
Whenever I searched for information about my maternal Great Aunt Dorothy Appleton, Ancestry insisted on finding two marriages between the same two people, slightly more than a year apart. Finally, curiosity overcame parsimony, and I sent off for copies of the marriage certificates.
Here’s what they revealed:
20 October, 1917: Dorothy Appleton (spinster) married Alfred Harold Kerswell (farrier) at the Wesleyan Church, Paignton, Devon. Dorothy’s residence: 18 Regent Square, Penzance; Harold’s residence: Smith Street, Dartmouth. Witnesses: A.F. Holford, F. Richards.
26 December, 1918: Dorothy Appleton (spinster) married Alfred Harold Kerswell (mechanic) at St. Mary’s Church, Penzance, Cornwall. Dorothy’s residence: 18 Regent Square, Penzance; Harold’s residence: Church Street, Dartmouth. Witnesses: Amelia Appleton (mother), Clive Wright (sister).
Here’s what I think happened:
The Appletons were Church of England; the Kerswells (or at least Harold) were Wesleyans. Adherents to the Church of England thought Wesleyans were apostates; heaven forbid one of their daughters should marry a Wesleyan!
Perhaps Dorothy’s mother, Amelia, was appalled that her daughter was “walking out” with such a man. Perhaps she forbade the marriage for that very reason.
Love found a way.
I think Dorothy secretly married Harold against her mother’s wishes in 1917, then continued to pass herself off as a “spinster” living at her mother’s residence in Penzance. Harold continued living in Dartmouth, supposedly a bachelor.
Did Harold “convert” to Church of England? I don’t know. But 14 months later, Dorothy and Harold were (re)married in St. Mary’s (Church of England) with Dorothy’s mother as one of the witnesses. Something happened in those 14 months that prompted Amelia to give her blessing. Dorothy and Harold now could live together openly as husband and wife.