February 27, 2010

Sepia Saturday - More Joe Plewis

Oh, dear. Sepia Saturday's got me hooked. Genealogy is a true passion of mine, one that's been obsessing me since I first got my computer and discovered Ancestry.com.
 
I do have pictures of ancestors that go further back than Joseph Plewis. I have a hilarious one of his father and I have one of his mother-in-law that must date from around 1860 because she's dressed like Mary Todd Lincoln. But she's CREEPY.  But Joseph Plewis born 1853 is the oldest ancestor I have information on so you'll have to bear with me again this week.

Here's a picture of my Great Great Grandfather circa 1893 when he was with the fire brigade and working on his facial hair.

Here's a much later picture, probably around 1922-23 of Joe and his lovely wife Harriet. Family lore has it that after Queen Victoria died in 1901, Harriet wore black for the rest of her days, that is, except for special occasions when she was feeling especially frivolous and wore a really nice shade of eggplant. If you are able to zoom into the picture, I now am in possession of the brooch Harriet is wearing at her neck. (Sorry for the blue in the picture - it was very dark).

Joe's dad Edward Plewis, spent most of his life as a farm labourer in and around the village of Hoo, mostly as labourer at Mackay's Court Farm. Joe's youngest sister Elizabeth married a chap named James Mugeridge Bridger, (sometimes he used the Bridger, sometimes not). Anyway, at some point, Elizabeth became the lady of the house at Mackay's Court Farm, where her father had worked for so many years and her sister had worked as a nursemaid.

Mackay's Court Farm is the location of the next two photos. They show the celebration of Joe and Harriet's Diamond Wedding in 1932.

Here's Joe with Harriet on the left - maybe she's wearing aubergine today - and his daughter Ada on the right. My own grandfather (from the other side of the family) managed to get in the picture between them.

Here they are again sitting with their sisters.

I've seen the guest book for this special occasion. It's great to read because not only does it contain the names of the dignitaries that attended, it has the childish scrawl of the aunts and uncles that I can only remember as old folks. My grandfather signed my mother's name on her behalf. She was three and a half and what she remembers about this party is getting stuck under the barn!

Here's Joe, at age 87, at the dedication of the fire engine that was to bear his name and carry his flag-draped coffin to his own funeral.  I think that's a bishop.

An aside - one of Joe's nieces, I think her name name was Nance, lived on a nice old farm called Shakespeare Farm on the Hoo peninsula. My mother remembers visiting it and loved it. She remembered the views over the River Medway and she rembered the porcelain toilet hand-painted with violets. When I Googled it I found that it was one of the largest landfill sites in England. Nice view though.


And that's all she wrote. But maybe if you twist my arm I'll remember something else.

For other Sepia Saturday participants please click here.

19 comments:

Martin H. said...

Fascinating post. The photographs are wonderful. The hand-painted violets on the loo will stick in my mind.

So nice to have Harriet's broach. A treasured connection.

Poetikat said...

Ooh Hazel, these are terrific photos. I can't help but think of Churchill when I see your great-great grandfather in that hat.

Do you remember the "Aubergine" campaign Eaton's put on a while back to save their sinking ship?

I laughed at your description of Harriet's mourning Queen Victoria. They both must have been formidable (in a good way) women, eh?

Kat

Mel said...

What a lovely post and such great photos! You are lucky to have both the broach and the photo linked to it. I have an old piece of jewelry and would give anything to see a photo of my great aunt wearing it. By the way, my mother is named Harriett, after her grandmother.

Vicki Lane said...

What wonderful pictures and stories to go with them!

Laura in Paris said...

..$*&£££@### I am twisting your arm to get more!

The Silver Fox said...

I'm with "Laura in Paris." Add me to the list of arm-twisters!

Betsy said...

Wonderful...love all the info you have with the pictures! and...we WANT to see the 'creepy' one...really! No fair teasing us like that! ha.

Barry said...

Wonderful photos and a very interesting story.

It's is amazing what a fashion trend-setter Queen Victoria was. I was reading recently on another blog that White wedding dresses only came universally into fashion after
Victoria wore one at her wedding. And Victoria, of course, only wore black after her husband's death.

subby said...

Wonderful journey through your family history here. I'm just starting out on mine and the Ancestry site came highly recommended :)

willow said...

I was hooked on Ancestry.com from the minute I got my first PC, as well! It's addictive, isn't it? You have some fabulous photos. I especially like the one of the blessing of the fire engine!

Valerie said...

I only just heard about Ancestry.com. Must investigate. I loved your pictures, and how marvellous that you have the brooch in your possession.

LadyCat said...

These are great photos. They all look so elegant in their finery. I love that you have her broach. That's so special!

Stephanie said...

That's quite a tribute to have a fire engine named after your gg grandfather. Laughed at your Mary Todd Lincoln description!

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Great photos, but poor Harriett who always seemed to be in mourning! I like the way you had so many to share so simply!

PS Ancenstry.com goes only so far before they start to charge $$

John Hayes said...

Your great great grandfather was a distinguished man with some distinguished facial hair. & how intertesting that Harriet wore black following Queen Victoria's death!

The Silver Fox said...

"[S]he's dressed like Mary Todd Lincoln. But she's CREEPY."

I always thought Mary Todd Lincoln was a bit creepy, herself!

Megan said...

I'm starting to repeat myself with my "wow! fabulous!" comments on all the posts today, but, well, they are!

Laughed at the "aubergine" bit. Thanks for sharing these!

Alan Burnett said...

Wonderful, wonderful post. There is so much information, so much life, so much history in those photographs. A magnificent addition to our Sepia Saturday endeavor.

lettuce said...

we're benefitting from your obsession! I could go the same way if only I had a little more time...

these are great memories and trails through history, and what photos!

its the little details like the toilet that bring it to life too, isn't it?