Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 9 ~ A Necessary Marriage

[ This post originally was written for Digging Down East
 on May 25, 2011
 for Wedding Wednesday]

When this couple "had to" get married around the turn of the century, it took a trip to New Hampshire to tie the knot. The whole episode was hushed up all around, and there were doubts over the years about whether it had really taken place. One small proof existed, however, and she was my grandmother.

You see, Mark Leighton and Alice Lovell were cousins. Mark's mother Lillian and Alice's mother Louisa were sisters.

The 1900 Portland, Maine, Census shows that they lived together at 221 Sherwood St., in the East Deering neighborhood of Portland.

"Lillian Leighton, Head of Household, age 35
Maude Leighton, age 17
Mark Leighton, age 14
Mattie Crilley (Lillian's mother), age 56
Alice Lovell, age 16"

Five years later, in 1905, Mark was 19 and Alice was 20, and Alice was pregnant. The child, my grandmother, was born January 5, 1906.

I am fortunate to have in my possession the original "Certificate of Marriage," and have been able to corroborate it with another record of the marriage, from New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947.

Both Mark and Alice went on to re-marry, Mark in 1921 and Alice in 1909. Both of them had large families their second time around. My grandmother, Mattie Louise Leighton (1906-1987), was left to be raised by her maiden aunt Pauline. Because she was older than her step-siblings, they assumed/were told she was their aunt.

A bittersweet wedding tale to be sure.

Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

1 comment:

  1. I hope she was happy with her aunt. It is a sad story. I think that kind of thing happened often back then.