Tag Archives: marriage

When the Skeletons Finally Come Out of the Closet “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”

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When the Skeletons Finally Come Out of the Closet “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”

My grandmother on the maternal side was Gladys Ethelyn Griffin Crittenden. She was born and grew up in Laconia, Belnap New Hampshire. She married my Grandfather George Crittenden in 1917 in Montreal and had my mother in 1929. She died at the age of 39 and no mention of her daughter was mentioned in her obit.

The Gazette
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
15 Apr 1935, Mon  •  Page 7

When I was a child I heard whispers that I am sure children were not supposed to hear. I knew my Grandfather had a few women that were not my Grandmothers, but one was not supposed to talk about things like that. For years I wondered why the name Cecile was said with a horrified face.

One day at a 10 am Church service I was sitting with my grandmother in our usual pew when someone with heavy perfume tapped my grandmother on the shoulder. My grandmother quickly looked at me in horror and her lips became pursed. The strange woman waved to me and my grandmother clutched my hand very quickly and told me not to speak to her.

Well, I thought, here we are in a place of God and my grandmother is not being too neighbourly. The church service ended and we left quickly. It did not stop the lady and she followed quickly behind us. In fact, she followed us all the way home, and into the verandah where she sat down on one of the chairs. My grandmother instructed me to go into the kitchen while she talked to this woman.

The woman quickly vanished after my grandmother spoke to her and I don’t think I ever saw her again. My grandfather had just passed away in Seattle and apparently it had something to do with that. My grandmother said she wanted money and expected to be in the will as she was “Cecile”. I never found out who “Cecile” really was until today. I just assumed that she was one of my grandfather’s former girlfriends.

My mother from the ages of 14-18 was in the Ste Agathe Sanitarium because she had tuberculosis and had one lung removed. I heard the stories many times about my Grandfather’s wife that had burned all my mother’s things and sold her piano because she had convinced my grandfather that my mother was coming back. But was that true? When my mother was released she never did go back to Park Extension in Montreal, and instead went to Cowansville, Quebec to work at Bruck Mills.

Apparently my mother not coming home and being an only child caused a rift between my grandfather and Cecile and the marriage went south. Really south.There was no uniform federal divorce law in Canada until 1968 and this was the very early 50s. Instead, there was a patch-work of divorce laws in the different provinces, depending on the laws in force in each province at the time it joined Confederation. In Quebec, the Civil Code of Lower Canada declared that “Marriage can only be dissolved by the natural death of one of the parties; while both live it is indissoluble”.

The English Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 provided that a husband could sue on grounds of adultery alone, but a wife would have to allege adultery together with other grounds.The only way for an individual to get divorced in the provinces where there was no divorce law—as well as in cases where the domicile of the parties was unclear—was to apply to the federal Parliament for a private bill of divorce. These bills were primarily handled by the Senate of Canada where a special committee would undertake an investigation of a request for a divorce. If the committee found that the request had merit, the marriage would be dissolved by an Act of Parliament.

So today, I found out that my Grandfather had to apply to Parliament for a divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
30 Jun 1953, Tue  •  Page 24

Of George Arthur Crittenden, of Montreal, Quebec; praying for the passage of an Act to dissolve his marriage with Cecile David Crittenden. 1953 November

MONDAY, 7th December, 1953. The Standing Committee on Divorce beg leave to make their one hundred and twentieth Report, as follows:- 1. With respect to the petition of George Arthur Crittenden, of the city of Montreal, in the province of Quebec, clerk, for an Act to dissolve his marriage with Cecile David Crittenden, the Committee find that the requirements of the Rules of the Senate have been complied with in all material respects. 2. The Committee recommend the passage of an Act to dissolve the said marriage. All which is respectfully submitted. W. M. ASELTINE, Acting Chairman.

Crittenden. George Arthur Petition, 40; reported, 125; adopted, 136. Bill (N-4)-lst, 2nd and/3rd, 153-154. Passage by Corns., 245. Message, 246. R.A., 279. Ch. 161.

So I am assuming it was easier for a man to get a divorce from his wife in those days and since adultery was the only way to get a divorce– the woman had to suck it up.

So, maybe the story was all wrong from the beginning and I am starting to give Cecile the benefit of the doubt even though she was not kind to my mother. Maybe she did have an agreement with my grandfather that he said: ‘ If I get this divorce using you as the ‘ bad guy” I will leave you something in my will”.

Quebec has been slow on giving civil rights to married women: until 1954, a married woman was legally listed as “incapable of contracting”, together with minors, “interdicted persons”, “persons insane or suffering a temporary derangement of intellect … or who by reason of weakness of understanding are unable to give a valid consent”, and “persons who are affected by civil degradation”

The removal of the married woman from this list, however, did little to improve her legal situation, due to marriage laws which restricted her rights and gave the husband legal authority over her: legal incapacity was still the general rule until 1964. A woman did not have equal rights with her husband regarding children until 1977.

So why else would she have turned up after he had passed away 20 years later– had not something been promised to her for a facility in the divorce. After all- she was labelled the bad guy in family stories.

I guess we will never know now, but now I know the rest of the story.

Park Extension Montreal

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Did you know?

It has been argued that one of the explanations for the current high rates of cohabitation in Quebec is that the traditionally strong social control of the church and the Catholic doctrine over people’s private relations and sexual morality, resulting in conservative marriage legislation and resistance to legal change, has led the population to rebel against traditional and conservative social values and avoid marriage altogether. Since 1995, the majority of births in Quebec are outside of marriage; as of 2015, 63% of births were outside of marriage.

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Get me to the My Future Wife On Time — Larry Clark

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Get me to the My Future Wife On Time — Larry Clark

By Larry Clark

The year was 1958 and it proved to be quite a year. I had received my wings in Winnipeg, Oct57 and was awaiting assignment to the CF100 OTU (operational training unit) but they were backed up and there was no opening until 11 Jan 58. I was given rather boring duties, which allowed me to go on leave over Christmas/New Years in CP. (Think Ashton, where Beth lived). 

The previous Christmas I had given Beth a ring that we decided to consider as an engagement ring. It had been an inexpensive ring centred with an emerald, set between 2 zircons but I had the jeweller replace the zircons with diamonds (raised his eyebrows-perhaps the diamonds were no more expensive than the zircons?). There was no getting down on one knee-that came a year later-in front of the Godfather, aka Eagle beak, aka Mr. Perfect in every way, aka “The Greatest” (we loved him!)-which brings us to 1957/58 and the new Year’s Ball at Uplands Mess. I then drove back to Cold Lake AB in time for my course which I successfully completed on the 22 May 58.

That day, I placed a call to Beth, via the base switchboard, to the long-distance operator, to (I believe a Smiths Falls exchange) to the party line that served the Ormrod’s residence (next door to the Slades). I had never done this before but I felt the circumstances were such that the Ormrod’s wouldn’t mind (Slades had availed themselves of this on occasion). The other option would have been the Ashton General Store but that would have been too complicated involving a call-back. Everything seemed to go like clockwork, although there was the necessary wait for Beth to get the message and come to the phone (giving ample time for other party-liners to gain access.

“Hello Beth”; no reply?, the long distance operator came on the line; “she can hear you and she said Hello back,-can you not hear her”-“no”, I said.

Thus, the conversation proceeded-we decided to continue the call with LD operator relaying the conversation-can’t remember the exact words and could well be that neither of us could hear the other-but this is my recollection.

Operator: “go ahead sir”.

Me: “Beth, we have to get married right away, as soon as we can!”

Operator (making strange noises) relayed the message.

Me: “I have passed the course and am being posted to France at the end of June, so we need to get married before then.”

The conversation continued for some time in a rather light-hearted fashion (which included the operator-having made her day!)

I was given leave, including extra embarkation leave but time was still a critical consideration and we (Remi Saulnier in his MG, my pilot** and I in my Ford) set out almost immediately for Carleton Place. There was a slight delay while Ray picked up his car from the garage where he had had them perform a tune up. 

Before we reached Vermillion (100 miles of gravel in those days), it became obvious that Ray’s car was under-performing but he did manage to make it to Lloydminster and a mechanic. He was rather perturbed that the previous mechanic had to the wrong settings and the valves had been burned. Aware of our schedule, he re-set the valves and said that it was only a temporary fix and the valves would need to be re-ground soonest. We made it as far as Regina and stayed overnight in a motel.

Left Regina at 12 noon, stopping only for food and fuel, making it onto the ferry at the Sault, with Ray’s car becoming more and more cantankerous and at that point, refused to start in order to get off. I managed to push it off and we got it going with the intention of finding a garage that could repair the vehicle- 10/11 o’clock on a Sunday night. 

We located a suitable  garage, parked the MG with a note explaining the situation and that to expect a call on the Monday morning. We both got into my car and continued the journey, arriving in Carleton Place at 6 in the morning; just a little tired after 42 hours without sleep-the last 4 hoursI resorted to smoking in order to keep myself awake-to keep each other awake.

Arriving, found that wedding plans were finalized for the coming Saturday; the garage in the Sault was called and arrangements were made for his car to be repaired; arrange, arrange, arrange, all week- Beth-a hurry-up passport; Beth-innoculations; Beth/Larry packing, etc. My mother, (bless her heart) helped with the packing but I didn’t know the extent until after the honeymoon. 

Of course, when we got home from our honeymoon, everyone was excited to hear about the trip (Nova Scotia and Connecticut). After skirting the subject a couple of times, my mother finally asked if we had any problem with our clothing; to which I replied, perplexedly . “no, why do you ask?” She said, “Well, we sewed up all the openings in your pyjamas!” 

I’ll leave this story at that-the voyage to Europe may come later.

**There had been a mock “marriage ceremony” in Cold Lake where we had crewed up together and we would continue to fly together for the most part while we were on squadron**

My 1956 Ford with Ormrod’s house in the background!

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What is Expected of a Husband — Ottawa Citizen 1913 :)

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What is Expected of a Husband — Ottawa Citizen 1913 :)

June 1913

The other day The Citizen published what were thought to be valuable pointers for the June bride. In answer to it a suffragette reader writes as follows:

We think it is unfair, in these davs of equal suffrage, to demand so much of a woman. What we would like to know is. What is expected of the groom?

To which the editor replied:

Well, Jones is supposed to love, honor and keep his bride and pay the freight. It is his duty to labor early and late to provide for the household. He is the family meal ticket, if he has to beg, borrow or steal the wherewithal to settle with the landlord, the grocer and the butcher.

At a wedding ceremony the bride crowds tbe limelight, while the groom is an inconsequential individual who is openly congratulated and sometimes secretly pitied. After marriage the groom is expected to love his wife and earn a living without losing his equilibrium.

He should know that to retain the affection and respect of his dear little wifey it is necessary to groan inwardly if supper is late and the dinner dishes arent washed. He should hide his chagrin if the steak is burned as hard as a concrete pavement. He should smile and look pleasant if wifey spends ail his money on dresses and overlooks such trifles as paying household bills.

UK to Canada Genealogy: British Man deserts wife in Canada 1913

He should beam in radiance if his partner confesses she never learned how to sew or knit. He should order a big box of creams if his bride has an attack of “nerves” and threatens to go home to mother. He should bow down and worship the idol of his eye if the pie crust is as tough as sole leather and the cake turns into molasses or proves unyielding to anything softer than a pick axe.

He should he forgiving and gentle; stern when occasion demands it and as tender-hearted as a chicken when he sees the wind blowing the other way. The main thing, however, is to come across with ample funds to run the house and a little change on the side for spending money. It is an unpardonable sin to act up stingy and play close to the cushion.

Give a bride all the money she wants, stay home at night occasionally and treat yourself like a general nuisance that is a fairly safe prescription for a successful husband, including the new-fledged variety known as a groom. He can best cultivate his own happiness by constant courtesy and attention to the charming creature he has made his bride.

File:Dorothy Dix - All Marriage is a Leap Into the Dark, 1913.jpg

Marriage is a mutual affair. As a successful concern it should be run on the policy of toleration and moderation, reciprocity and co-operation. But the groom should always remember to be Johnny-on-the-spot the same as he was in courting days. With these few remarks we beg to be excused from discussing the subject until next June.

and then……….


CLIPPED FROM
The Winnipeg Tribune
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
12 Oct 1914, Mon  •  Page 1

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Did You Know that Thousands Of People In Quebec were Reported Not Legally Wed? 1922

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Did You Know that Thousands Of People In Quebec were Reported Not Legally Wed? 1922

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January 1922

Because of a law passed in the year of 1829. Providing that only clergymen who were British subjects may perform marriage ceremonies in the Province of Quebec, was never amended, thousands of people in this province who were married in good faith before clergymen, are not legally wedded.

Remedial legislation, it is understood will be put through the Legislature this session to deal with the matter.  In 1829 Quebec was known as Lower Canada and was governed or the Constitutional Act of  1791. When Confederation came in no change was made in the statute regarding marriages,  Since that time nobody had over bothered about the matter, until a few days ago when matters ware brought to a head by a Unitarian clergyman in Montreal being refused a register in 1922 because he “was not a British subject”.

Quebec was immediately communicated with and the situation is now to be dealt with by the Government. The official who refused the Unitarian clergyman said that they did – so on instruction from Charles Lanctot registrating assistant attorney general of the province was obliged to interpret the law from a legal stand point. The law applies to Protestants as well as Roman Catholics.

 

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Beckwith Pioneer Couple Were Married on Green Knoll in a Swamp

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The wedding ceremony was so brief, so simple, and the words uttered in such a rushed way that there was some doubt in the minds of the lovers as to whether they were really married. But Reverend Buchanan had informed them that they were married, so they were. As they got back on to their horses the husband spoke to his wife that perhaps they had better go to Carleton Place and see someone who was an ordained minister, but the young woman said no, that it was just as binding “in law and before God.”  Her husband joking replied that it was his new wife’s desire to further conserve that five-dollar bill that prompted her not to acquiesce to the danger of parting with a fee to another preacher.

 

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The Engagement of Rosanna Ouelette

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The Engagement of Rosanna Ouelette

 

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One spring when Rosanna was just 14 two young shantymen both husky lads, came to the Ouelette door and asked for a drink of water. One was French, the other English and both were about 18 years of age. The lads lingered long at the Ouelette door. It was evident that the English youth had taken a shine to the pretty French rural girl. Pa and Ma Ouelette were in the fields. The young men announced they were on their way to join a raft to Quebec. The English lad told her through his friend, that he was going to write to her. Becoming afraid, the girl said “No, no. he mustn’t!” A month later when the girl went to the post office for the family mail, the postmistress told her that there was a letter for her from Quebec.

The girl opened the letter and it was in English. She could not read it and in desperation she told the whole story to the postmistress and asked her to read it in confidence. The lady read the letter and then she told the girl that Richard Holden had written to say that he loved her and wanted to marry her. He would come back that fall and claim her.

At the girl’s request, the postmistress wrote back to Richard Holden that he had better stay away as their dog was wicked, and her father was worse. She said she couldn’t marry anyone for years yet and anyway she didn’t know him. That letter must have scared Richard, as the girl did not hear from him for over two years. Then he wrote to say that he still loved her and would call the next year and ask for her hand in marriage. The girl did not answer the letter.

As promised Richard appeared at the Oulette home a year later. He sought out Mr. Oulette and formally presented his case. As the news was known to Pa Oulette he nearly took a fit. He summoned Rosanna and the whole story came out. There was much talk and finally Rosanna admitted she wasn’t averse to marrying her seldom seen lover.

 

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Prior to all this Richard had told his family history and presented good credentials of character and that he belonged to Chichester. Mr. Ouelette told the young man to return the next day. That night there was a family council. Mr. Ouelette declared that as the girl was now 17 she could get married if she wished, but his mind was made up that she must stay at home till she was 20.

She was too young to start housekeeping. She must spend the next three years learning housekeeping and the duties of a wife. Mr. Ouelette said the marriage could be carried out at any time, but only under the conditions named. The next day both Richard and Rosanna agreed. Then Pa announced that the wedding would be the finest wedding ever pulled off within many miles from La Passe. He said that as he only had one daughter it was his duty to see that she received a send-off befitting the fact. In passing it may be mentioned that Pa Ouelette was the richest farmer in the La Passse district. The story of the wedding is next.

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.

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The Wedding of Stanley Alexander Jackson and Margaret Elizabeth Forbes

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 15- Code Family– Love and Runaway Marriages

Odd Ironic Wedding Stories –Or it was Almost Lonely Valley

Marriage Records Lanark County, Ontario, Canada– Names Names Names

Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?

Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan

Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!

Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

Slander You Say in Hopetown? Divorce in Rosetta?

Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce

The Wedding of Rosanna Ouellette

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The Wedding of Rosanna Ouellette
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And now we come to the story of the marriage of Rosanna Ouellette to Richard Holden in 1841, at La Passe, across from Portage du Port. That story, now told by 102-year-old Mrs. Holden, is a great one. It tells of the finest and most romantic wedding likely ever held in the Ottawa Valley.

It will be recalled that in the story of Rosanna Ouellette’s courtship, Pa Ouellette permitted his daughter to marry at 17, but stipulated that she was to stay at home till she was 20. And now about the wedding. Pa Ouellette, being fairly well off and having only one daughter, decided that her wedding was to be a “bang-up” one. First off, Mrs. Ouellette had the girl measured at La Passe for her wedding dress. Then the measurements were sent to a Montreal dressmaker with instructions that a  blue silk dress (and outfit to match) be prepared. White shoes and white silk stockings were ordered.

Then at home the preparations were begun in earnest. First of all, invitations were sent far and wide to relatives and friends of the family. The invitations were sent as far north as the Pembroke district, and south as far as Bytown. They were sent over into Quebec province and over 200 guests were invited. Arrangement were made with neighbours to host the guests from far away. Pa Ouellette put up sheds in which to house and feed guests also.

The boy and girls of the neighbourhood became a committee on decorations. From the house to the little frame church was at least a mile. It was decided to decorate this mile of road with cedar and small balsam trees. The trees were to be made pretty with coloured ribbons, which were brought from Bytown. The church was also to be decorated. These plans were carried out to the letter. Pa Ouellette hired three women of the neighbourhood to cook and serve meals so that Ms Ouellette could enjoy the festivities.

For the vehicle (wagon) which was to carry the bridal pair, a team of fawn coloured horses were borrowed. When the wedding day came on Aug. 9, this team was decorated with wild and garden flowers. The wagon was also decorated with flowers.

Finally came the wedding day. It was clear and warm. The bridal procession left the Ouellette house at 8 a.m. Most of the people walked on foot behind the bridal pair. There were over 150 persons in the procession. At the front of the procession was a local fiddler who made appropriate music. In the procession also were two good neighbourhood singers (men), who sang solo in the church and led the general singing which marked the return journey.

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After the wedding all went to the home of the bride, where a fine banquet was served. Pa Ouellette had killed chickens, turkeys and a fine big hog. The table, to use the old expression, fairly groaned with good things. After dinner the guests began to dance in the barn on a floor especially put in by Pa Ouellette.

In different spots outside, enthusiasm prevailed. Supper came and then the dancing was resumed till dark.. At daylight the neighbours went home. The outside guests went to their lodgings. The next night everybody was back for more dancing. To make a long story short, the celebration was kept up nightly for a whole week. Then the outside guests began to depart to their homes, having duly voted the wedding of Rosanne Ouellette to have been the finest they had ever heard of.

One guest said to Mr. Ouellette: “I am afraid this will cost you something Mr. Ouellette.”  “Ah,” said the fond parent, shrugging his shoulders, “what if it does? What are a few hundred dollars, when you have only one daughter?” “Certainement”, said the guest. “C’est Vrai.” We trust we have given a proper picture of what took place, for it was certainly some wedding that was talked about for years in the Ottawa Valley.

After things had quieted down the newly married bride and groom went to the Holden home over in *Chichester, where for three weeks the pair were the guests of Mrs. Holden, the mother of the groom. These three weeks proved another long round of dances and general festivities. When, at the end Rosanne returned to her parental roof to stay there for three years, as per her father’s stipulation, she was a mighty tired bride.

In another article, all being well it will tell how in 1851 Mrs. Holden went to a farm of their own in a valley near Trout Lake near the back of Chichester. They say that the Lake valley was one of the most lonesome places in Canada. The experiences of the 20-year-old  bride in her log cabin there formed an intensely interesting story better than the stories told. That comes on Monday.

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Chichester is a township municipality and village in the Canadian province of Quebec, located within the Pontiac Regional County Municipality. The township had a population of 368 in the Canada 2011 Census.

Chichester is located along the north shores of the Ottawa River across from Chapeau on Allumette Island.

Its settlements include Chichester and Nichabau. Nichabau, also known as Nicabeau or Nichabong, is a scenic hamlet located northwest of Chichester in what used to be referred to as Poupore’s Limits. It is noted for its great number of square log homes.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.

  1. relatedreading

The Engagement of Rosanna Ouelette

The Wedding of Stanley Alexander Jackson and Margaret Elizabeth Forbes

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 15- Code Family– Love and Runaway Marriages

Odd Ironic Wedding Stories –Or it was Almost Lonely Valley

Marriage Records Lanark County, Ontario, Canada– Names Names Names

Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?

Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan

Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!

Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

Slander You Say in Hopetown? Divorce in Rosetta?

Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce

 

Odd Ironic Wedding Stories –Or it was Almost Lonely Valley

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Odd Ironic Wedding Stories –Or it was Almost Lonely Valley

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Story 1

A ceremony very unusual, at least in these modern days, took place in the Roman Catholic church in Perth on Sunday last. It was the public apology and penance of a young couple who, in defiance of the laws of the church, became wedded before a Protestant minister in the latter part of the season of Lent.

The Rev. Father most severely denounced them and their marriage some time previously, so had forbidden them entrance into the church and all communication with their fellow-Catholics, until they had undergone the trying ordeal of an open and public penance.

The young couple, as was natural, felt keenly their position before the large congregation present, but unflinchingly performed their imposed penance to the letter. After it was over they received the congratulations of their pastor and of their host of friends present
to witness the recantation.

The bride, the groom, the best-man and the bridesmaid,  and all members of the Catholic church, were all made to undergo the same punishment, and to renew the marriage ceremony in accordance with the tides of their Church.

Story 2
A contract marriage took place at Fresno, CaL, recently, the bride being
under age and unable to obtain the consent of her parents. John Hoffman
the man, is 26 years of age and Florence Rice, the girl, 15 years and 6
months. They agreed to take each other as man and wife, entering upon
that relation at once. If she so desires,the woman’s contract may be voided
when she attains majority.

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Some Dating Rules

“Instead of that attention and consolation which her forlorn situation demands, the finger of scorn is…ever ready to be pointed at the antiquated virgin.”

“By preserving a dignified reserve in conduct, a forbearing silence on the subject of her wrongs…fulfilling as usual the daily routine of Christian and domestic duties, calm and unruffled — she will, at all events, strengthen her own virtues and elevate her own character. By such conduct she will also secure the respect and esteem of all around her, and possibly in time regain the heart of her husband.”

“A sensible woman, to preserve the peace and secure the affections of her husband, will often sacrifice her own inclinations to his.”

“Any unnatural performance of this act is apt to impair the health of the female, and many women have been seriously injured and rendered miserable for life by the beastliness of their husbands in this respect.”

As O’neill says, it was considered “in a man’s nature to go searching for a new version of the girl you used to be before you bore him seven children and made the comforts of his home the envy of the neighbourhood.”

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

relatedreading

Marriage Records Lanark County, Ontario, Canada– Names Names Names

Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?

Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan

Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!

Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

Slander You Say in Hopetown? Divorce in Rosetta?

Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce

Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?

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Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?

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(stock photo of a “happy” wedding)

On Friday I wrote two stories about local women and their dilemmas coping with life in early Lanark County. When I was reading Glenn Lockwood’s book on Beckwith this weekend he wrote that it was basically religious social control that attempted to shield women from scorn in that early society.

Local women were controlled to such a point that young women such as Dorah Smith from Carleton Place, who arrived in Canada as a orphan had to obtain a guardian to give their consent before she could marry. Home became the centre of virtue and the proper life for women and it was a matter of fact that one must be married by twenty-one, and expected to begin having children immediately. Those that did not marry were regarded as social failures and treated with pity and contempt.

I have published many Perth Courier ads that were in newspapers of engagements gone sour, not only because they found their future partner undesirable, but more so that their future partner might be a little lighter in the purse. This factor might guarantee their quality of life might go down a notch or two, and that might be not advantageous to either party. Seeing passion, lust and love were way down on the food chain one has to wonder how happy some were in marriage.

It was duty first, owning land and happiness later, and children were not exempt in these rules. Disobedient son?  You might want to think once or twice about that as another brother might inherit what was supposed to be coming your way. What you owned became a status symbol, and homes and property remained in the family for generations. It was important until about the mid 1900s that property remain in the family. In fact,  land could not be sold or mortgaged unless it was within the family.

I often thought it was strange that when my Grandfather died he had strong stipulations in his will and my father continued the same tradition. When my Dad died neither my sister or I could only share his estate until she turned 31. Disputes between siblings separated families. Between 1828 and 1851 only a fraction of wills left property to the wife, and wills that left property to their wives would only remain valid as long as they remained unmarried.

Married women were barred from making contracts, appearing as witnesses in court, and initiating lawsuits. A wife’s legal personality was subsumed under her husband’s and all her property automatically became her husband’s. Even if she had her own land, her husband received the income from it as she had no legal rights. Similar to the  court case between  Beckwith residents Selina Drummond and her husband, law mostly removed itself from marital relations.

historicalnotes

Bathurst Courier, March, 1838

Notice, my wife Christian McQuarrie having left my bed and board for no just cause I hereby forbid any person from harboring her as I will pay no debits contracted by her on my account.  Daniel McQuarrie

Bathurst Courier, April 13, 1838

Notice, the subscriber forbids any person harboring or trusting his wife Betsey Markey (?) Mankey (?) Minielly, as she has left his bed and board without any just cause.  W. Minnielly, Elmsley

Bathurst Courier, June 1, 1838

 

Notice, Elizabeth Youll, my wife, having left my bed and board without any just cause, I prohibit any person from giving her credit in my name as I will not pay any such debt.  James Youll

Notice, Janet Anderson, my wife, having left my bed and board without any just cause, I prohibit any person from giving her credit in my name as I will not pay any such debt.  Joseph Anderson

Bathurst Courier August 9, 1839

Notice, my wife Bridget Connel Kenny having left my bed and board without any just cause I hereby forbid any person from harboring her on my account as I will pay no debts of her contracting after this date. John Kenny

As my wife Ann Horton McIntyre has left my bed and board for no just cause I hereby forbid any person from harboring her on my account as I will pay no debts contracted by her.  Peter McIntyre

Perth Courier, April 7, 1871

Caution—Whereas my wife, Elizabeth Ann Geary, has left my bed and board without any just cause or provocation, the public will hereby be cautioned against giving her any credit on my account.  George Geary, Bathurst

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

 

 

 

relatedreading

Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan

 

Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!

Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

Slander You Say in Hopetown? Divorce in Rosetta?

Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce

 

 

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A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan

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On the 26th of November 1897 a vigilant detective in Smith’s Falls frustrated a ‘Love’s Young Dream’ and a would be groom landed himself in prison. His lady love was said to be pining at home overseen by what was called a stern parent on the 6th line of Goulburn.

The elopers, Helen Purdy age 17, and married man, with a family no less, James Lenahan, age 37, tried to catch the C.P.R. train from Smiths Falls to Ottawa to get married. How on earth they were going to do that one has to ask themselves–but there were no computers in those days, and a birth certificate, if that, I am sure was suffice.

It seems one of Miss Purdy’s parents seemed to have sense wrong was about to become about and caught them in due time with the help of Smiths Falls baggage man J. Stewart. May I mention that Stewart was also a policeman for Smiths Falls at the time.  So Detective, and baggage man, Stewart soon had captured both of the wood-be elopers. I imagine if we were sitting in a movie theatre right now we would either hear some cheers or boos at this moment in time.

Tears and protests from the couple were in vain while the father went to get the Chief of Police of Smiths Falls  involved. I assume the detective and baggage man did not have enough authority and the Chief took young Lenahan take to jail. Young Miss Purdy was last seen heading off into the sunset with her father in the speeding family carriage and bigamist Lenahan was soon to be tried  by County Magistrate Smith. There was no further word what happened to either, but I assume Lenahan felt the wrath from the judge and his current wife.

The popular image of bigamists involve family men juggling two wives, a few children, and two homes, each family not knowing of the existence of the other. If we do not imagine this kind of “double life”, at the very least, the first impulse is to picture a male villain, a scoundrel. This hardly corresponds to the reality. A systematic study of bigamy cases brought to legal authorities in a number of Canadian local jurisdictions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries reveals that very few of the prosecuted bigamists led a “double life”. Now that must have really been a full time job!!!

One thing is certain: Mrs. Lenahan died in 1925 still married to her adulterous James. Even though James was still alive she was living with her daughter in Montague and had been an invalid for most of her years.  I imagine any of the cheers in a theatre right now watching this film would most certainly turn into boos. For shame!

 

 

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

 

relatedreading

 

James Watson– Bigamy and Shoes

Bigamy–The Story of Ken and Anne and Debby and Cathy and…

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

One Night in Almonte or Was it Carleton Place?

Bigamists? How About the Much Married Woman? One for the Murdoch Mystery Files

I’m so Sick of that Same Old Love — Bigamous Relations in Lanark County

 

 

If you are tracing your family tree visit:

The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Lanark Genealogical Society

Archives Lanark

North Lanark Regional Museum

Middleville Museum

Lanark Museum

Smiths Falls & District Historical Society

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