There are many and various examples of Love in our family tree. This week's story is about the type of love that lasts forever.
The love of Annie Maria BRIDGES' life was George DUREY.
She was 22 when they married at East Ashford in August of 1880. He was only 19. Their marriage registration says they were living at the same address at the time, and their first child, Olive, was born in January 1881.
You know how people say "your father will have a stroke when he finds out"? Annie's father died of apoplexy in October 1880. Probably just an unfortunate coincidence.
At any rate, one of the most amazing heirlooms to come down the decades to me is the blouse Annie wore on her wedding day. It is black, intricately hand-stitched, and remarkably small for someone who was probably 3 months pregnant. Somehow, it has made it's way to me in remarkably good condition (thanks Aunt Jan), an absolute treasure.
The happy couple spent the first several years of their marriage in Ashford, Kent. They had six children, although Maud Mary died when she was only 2 years old. Annie's widowed mother came to live with them.
Then life got real. Annie's mother passed away in 1890, the same year that Annie Alice (Nannie) was born. Her mother would have been a great help with the children, but suddenly Annie was on her own during the days that George was at work.
Perhaps something was going wrong with George's job, too, because they decided to make a change and immigrate to the US. I have seen (but don't have permission to publish) a photo of the family, from about 1893. This was likely the portrait taken to leave behind with the loved ones in England. Annie looks pinched and severe. Stressed out, I'm sure, about the upcoming move.
No matter, she had married George for better or for worse. They made the best of it, packing their belongings into seven suitcases and heading for the docks at Southampton. They boarded a ship called the "New York" and arrived in the US via Ellis Island in 1895. George had an aunt living in Michigan, and they settled there for a few years. Annie had her seventh child, Frances, while they were in Vicksburg, Michigan.
By 1901, the family had moved north to Warwick, Ontario, Canada. George was finding work as a labourer wherever he could. There is second photo from the unpublishable collection showing him as a member of a roadbuilding crew in Burriss, Ontario. They were in Rainy River by 1911, and the children started to find husbands and wives. May was the first to marry in 1910, then George Frederick in 1914 and Nannie in 1916. They and their spouses moved to Manitoba. Frances and then Olive married in Ontario. Charles never married, but went away to war.
Sometime between 1916 and 1921, Annie Marie and George moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their house was just down the road from Nannie and her husband. Charles returned to Canada after the war and lived with Annie and George for a while. He later moved back down to the US - Reno and San Francisco. The rest of the children started families, and Annie and George settled into contented grandparenthood. Photos from this era show them happier and more relaxed.
George was the first the go, in January of 1936. Annie was, as always, not far behind. She passed away in June of the same year, and they are buried together at Brookside Cemetary in Winnipeg, Manitoba.