my Great Aunt.
I didn’t know that my Grandfather had a sister or a step mother until 2 separate things brought this information to light.
The first was a photo that I got from my Uncle Doug. It was of his father (Gordon Elliott) and his older brother (Walter Russell). They were both in Toronto Maple Leaf sweaters and on the back it said “A few months before they got a Step-Mother”
So the research started, and I found that on 29 Jun 1910 in Lanark County, Ontario Robert Rutledge, widower married Georgina Gifford, Spinster. Both are listed as Methodist.
I don’t know if it was a happy marriage but from what I found out later, it was probably in the beginning, but in the end, not so much.
It wasn’t til a few years later, when I was visiting my Auntie Verna (only sister of my Dad) that she told me that she was named after her father’s sister. I was confused because as far as I knew, Grandpa didn’t have a sister. But my Aunt was positive and she said that somewhere, she had the plaque from her coffin. She hoped to one day find it and give it to me as she said she knew that I would cherish it.
Auntie Verna told me that the daughter had died very young and that things in the marriage didn’t go well after that. At some point in time, Georgina left and lived somewhere else, but I don’t think they ever divorced. I have letters from my Great-Grandfather where he talks about Mother coming for a visit and this was in the mid 1940’s. I haven’t been able to find out when she died or where she is buried — this is on my bucket list.
But the child. My Great-Aunt Verna Eileen Hope Rutledge. After some searching, I found her death certificate. She was born on April 6th, 1911 less than a year after her parents marriage. She died of whooping cough on May 12, 1912 at the age of 1 year, 1 month and six days.
I wonder who she would have been like. Would she have married, had children, would her parents marriage have been better if she had lived. What effect did her death have on my Grandfather and his brother. To think that the lost not only their Mother but also a sister at such young ages.
I don’t know if she was remembered much before, but she will always be remembered by me, for after my Auntie Verna’s death, I received the coffin plaque of my Great Aunt. It has been framed and will always have a special place in my home where she will be remembered.
May she always Rest in Peace