19 May 2015

The Day I Drank the Gin

In a nearby town, just a spit from the ocean, there is an elegant restaurant called "Butlers at the Mansion".  The restaurant is in what was c 1914 a stately home, in it's time visited by the likes of Bing Crosby, John Wayne and the King of Siam. We go there for our anniversary dinners.

The name reminds me of the days when my grandparents, Herbie and Sadie Mavor, went to Old Orchard Beach, Maine for their summer holidays.  Grampa would drive and they always took Granny's sister Stella with them. They would always get their same rooms at the "Butler House", a once beautiful old rooming house just up from the ocean and boardwalk. Grampa liked to do his own cooking, so they got a suite of rooms with a kitchen and a bedroom.


When I was 9 years old they took me with them.  I had a wonderful time being spoiled by my grandparents and great aunt.  Another girl my age was staying there with her grandparents too (in-laws of my grandmother's other sister Bessie), and we had fun playing in the ocean, eating hot caramel popcorn, and trying our hand at skee ball on the boardwalk. I collected all my tickets so I could get good prizes before leaving for home.

At the Butler House, summer 1959


Besides doing his own cooking, Grampa also liked to bring his own drinking water from home whenever he went anywhere. "Verdun has the best water" he would tell you. He would keep some in a bottle in the fridge. He also liked his gin.  Knowing nothing about booze I mistook the gin for water and poured myself a glass.  I was so thirsty I gulped down half of it before I realized this wasn't water!  I was at the sink spitting for a good half hour, then had some ginger ale and crackers to try and take the yucky taste away.  
I never could drink gin, or stand the smell!

After lunch Granny would read and have a nap, Aunt Stella would visit with friends, and Grampa would take me to the boardwalk to go on the rides, or play skee ball.  Then later all four of us would go for a swim in the ocean. 

It was a special time with my grandparents that I would always treasure.

Herbert James Mavor b1893
married 1919 to
Sarah Myrtle (Sadie) King, b1894
my enate grandparents.

Stella Pearl King b1900 (sister of Sadie)

14 May 2015

The Day Susanna and John Celebrated the Gold

2 Jan 1916

On January 2, 1916 Susanna and John Porter celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary at Jefferson Meadows, New Hampshire. Susanna and John had moved to New Hampshire from Kirkdale, Quebec in 1902.  Attending the celebrations were 8 of their 11 children, along with 18 of their 19 grandchildren:

Mary Jane (Porter) King, daughter from Montreal
Richard Porter, son from Montreal
William John Porter (and wife), son from Dixville Notch, NH
Ernest George Porter (and wife), son from Dixville Notch, NH
Salome (Porter) Hepworth (and family), daughter from Kirkdale, Quebec
Pearl (Porter) Lowe (and children), daughter from Gorham, NH
Lilas (Porter) Keyser (and husband), daughter from Newport, VT
Cora Porter, daughter from Holderness, NH

A guest of honour was Sarah (Johnston) Placey, sister and bridesmaid of the bride and the only other person who had been at the wedding in 1866. A couple of close friends also attended, including Mrs. Stevens of Whitefield NH, formerly of Kirkdale and old friend of Susanna's.

The couple made so many friends in their 14 years in the Meadows, they all sent their wishes and said if John (age 75) wasn't so feeble, they would have another party for them the next day!

Gifts from the family included a lovely china dinner set decorated with a gold band, a Morris chair¹, and a purse of gold.  They also received many gold pieces from friends at the Meadows and in Canada.

Since January 2 was a Sunday the celebrations were subdued, unlike that of their wedding day 50 years ago.  Aunt Salome writes of what she heard tell about that day in 1866:

"After a beautiful afternoon ceremony at the Kirkdale Anglican Church, 20 carriages followed the wedding party to the home of the bride's parents, William and Mary Johnston. There a hearty dinner was served, followed by music and dancing until after 3 am!!"

It was a wonderful gathering of family and friends, and a chance for the siblings who lived far from each other to catch up on the news.

Susanna Johnston, b1846 to Mary Johnston and William Johnston
Married  1 January 1866 to
John Porter, b1840 to Margaret Manley and William Porter
My enate 2x great grandparents

¹ A Morris chair is a wooden chair with cushions, and is the precursor to the Lazyboy - the hinged back could be raised or lowered to several positions.    

3 May 2015

The Day Sarah got Fined.

"On Wednesday February 20th, 1884, Henry Crawford, painter of Totnes, Devon was summoned to the Totnes Guildhall (court and prison) by the Urban Sanitary Authority for keeping an unlicensed common lodging-house. The defendant's wife (Sarah) appeared and produced a medical certificate stating that the defendant was not in a fit state of health to appear. 

Totnes Guildhall
James Clark, Inspector of Nuisances, deposed to visit the defendant's house on High Street on 26th January, and in the kitchen saw four men of the travelling class. The room was used in common by the four. He had known for some time that travelers of the lower order were taken into the house. He spoke to the four men and they all said they had paid 4d (4 pence) each night for their bed there.  Two of them had slept there for three nights and the other two for one night.

High Street, Totnes
Mr Clark spoke to the defendant and his wife and Mrs Crawford said she did not consider she was keeping a common lodging-house by taking in that class of people. Mrs Crawford in defense said the people she took in were respectable middle class working people.

The Bench fined the defendant 10s, and 10s 6d costs, and advised Mrs Crawford to have the house registered as a common lodging-house.

Mrs Crawford said she should not do so, as she did not take in common lodgers."

-The Western Times, Thursday, February 21, 1884

Sarah Nichols (b 1824 to Samuel Nichols and Sarah Frost)
- the sister of my 2x Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Nichols.
Sarah Nichols married Henry Robert Crawford, 1846.
You will hear more about Sarah, she has a few stories to tell.

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