Alice was Harry’s mother, my mother’s grandmother. She married Charles Dennison, but we’ll get to that in a moment. We’re going back to her childhood, in narrative for the purpose of making sense of it.
Alice was the second child born to James Farnham and Catherine Warne, in Digby, Nova Scotia, in 1860. Her brother Charles Ernest was eight years old when she was born. Her father, James, was thirty-three, and her mother, Catherine, or Katie, was also thirty-three.
When Alice was five years old and her brother Charles was thirteen, their brother Thomas was born, in Digby, on 22Feb1865. Their parents were thirty-eight. When Alice was nine years old, her brother Charles seventeen, and her brother Thomas four, their sister Alvea was born, in 1869. Their parents were forty-two.
When Alice was fifteen years old her mother died, at the age of forty-eight, shortly after Christmas, on 9Jan1875. Charles was twenty-three, Thomas was nearly ten, and Alvea was not yet six. One would imagine that Alice would be in charge of raising her two younger siblings while her father worked as a Caulker. At least from January to December.
Alice’s father, Charles, remarried 24Dec1875, a spinster who was 30 years old, Elizabeth Robinson, in Weymouth, Nova Scotia. Now Alice has been caring for her two younger siblings and now has a rather young step-mother who has not been married nor had children.
On 16Oct1880, at age twenty, Alice Jane Farnham married Charles Dennison, age thirty-one, in Digby, Nova Scotia. She was a Baptist, and he in the Church of England. One would assume, though there is no record, that the four years between her father’s remarriage and her own marriage were spent either working in her father’s household or as a domestic in another household.
What about Alice’s grandparents? James Farnham’s father, Will, who worked as a ship’s carpenter, died at the age of eighty, two years before his first wife, Catherine, in 1873. His mother, Maria, preceded his father, on6May1868, at age seventy. Alice’s paternal grandparents died when she was eight and thirteen, before her mother died. There is a great muddle of confusion as to who her maternal grandparents were at this point in my research.
Alice married at age twenty. According to the 1881 census Alice and Charles lived with her father James and his family, and a Mary E. Everett, who was the same age as her brother Thomas. In the 1891 census Charles and Alice no longer lived with James. Thomas, age twenty-six, and his wife, Mary, age twenty-three now lived with James and Elizabeth. Thomas was employed as a printer.
In the 1871 census Alice’s brother Charles, age nineteen, was still living at home, four years before their mother’s death. In 1881 he no longer lived there.
Skipping ahead to the 1891 census, Alice is twenty-nine, her husband Charles Dennison is thirty-nine, working as a labourer in Digby, Nova Scotia. They have three children, Effie, age seven, Harry, age three, and Catherine, age one, and several children have died as babies during this time.
Between the 1891 and 1901 census Alice has four more living children. On 31Mar1901 Bernard is eight years, Gladys is seven, Alva is five, and Jeanette, or Nettie as she would be called, is nine months old. The older children are eighteen, thirteen, and eleven.
There is a lodger living in the house, a single male almost two years younger than Alice, whom she married 4Aug1904, when she is forty-four years old. When Alice remarries Effie is twenty-two, Harry is nearly seventeen, Catherine nearly fifteen, Bernard is twelve, Gladys, ten, Alva eight, and Jeanette is four years old. All are believed to be living at home.
There is yet to be found a death record for Charles Dennison. I know of no story of his death. My grandfather referred to the three younger girls as his ‘half-sisters’, which implies that Charles was not living in the home at the time of their births. There is still that mystery to solve.
My mother and her siblings were the first Dennisons to grow to adulthood with both of their parents. Both of their parents lost their fathers at a young age, and (so far) one grandmother lost her mother at a tender age. My grandparents raised their family during two World Wars and The Great Depression, but they did it together.
If you know anything about Alice or her parents, James Farnham and Catherine Warne, or siblings, Charles Ernest Farnham and Maria Gertrude Wyman, Thomas Farnham and Mary Davies, and Alvea M. Woodward (George) of Roxbury, Massachusetts or grandparents I would love to hear from you. Also James’ second wife Elizabeth Robinson Farnham, Alice’s step-mother.