Sunday, 11 December 2016

Black Sheep Sundays: Margaret Grace Caroline (1846-?)

One of the stories I learned over the last few years was that of my great aunt, Margaret Grace Caroline. She didn't get along with her father, and they apparently argued often.

Margaret walked away, alone, from the Caroline farm in Granby, as a young woman -- no one can recall the year, and was never heard from again. The exact timing of her disappearance and the details have been lost to oral history, or not passed down. Was that because of shame? In last half of the 19th century, giving yourself a new name was easily done. No need for anything official. You just arrived in a new town and called yourself by a new name. When she left, was she doing so by pre-arrangement, meeting someone in town? Did she stay in Quebec or go into the United States? Who knows. No trace of Margaret has ever been found. Believe me, I've looked.

Okay, she probably wasn't a black sheep, but clearly, well brought up young women didn't just leave without a word at that time. Did she become a victim of foul play? I think it more likely that she changed her name, and hopefully had adventures in life as a woman ahead of her time. I hope that's not rose-coloured glasses on my part.

And yet, she was in her father's thoughts. When Hugh wrote his will in 1877, he left her $100, as this was the same amount he bequeathed to all six of his daughters. But there is a caveat to his will: if there were any delays in paying the daughters their inheritance, that payment be made by age, oldest to youngest. Margaret was the youngest daughter. In 1877, she would have been 31 years old. Hugh died 18 months after signing his will, which he did with a shaky hand.

Act III, Hugh Edward Caroline, Will signed 21 Nov 1877

How much would that $100 be worth in 2016 dollars? Statistics Canada's inflation calculator goes back only to 1914, and if $100 was paid out in 1914, that would be equivalent to this in 2016.

Did Margaret ever reach out to her brothers and sisters? I wonder what happened to the $100 her father left to Margaret. We'll never know.

The never ending story continues.....

© Margaret Dougherty 2016 All rights reserved

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