Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Wednesday’s Child – May Francis nee Pearson

(Florence) May with her mother and a brother

17 February 1875 was a Wednesday and the birth day (in Geelong, Victoria) of my great grandmother Florence May PEARSON (1875 – 1947) known as May.

I’ve written about her parents a couple of times before, especially her father FrederickAugustus PEARSON (1848 – 1884).

May was just nine years old when her father died. She was the eldest of his six children, her youngest brother not yet one year old at the time his father died.

May, c1893-5
At age 14, her mother died and the children were then raised by their maternal grandfather, Frederick Augustus ROWDEN (1826 – 1919) and his third wife – he was widowed twice, and lived to the amazing age of 93 years.

May married relatively late for her time, at the age of 30 to William Collier FRANCIS (1864 – 1946) who was 41 years old. Coincidentally, he was also born on a Wednesday.

They had five children, my grandmother was the middle child.

May died just a little more than a year after her husband at the age of 72 in Oakleigh, Victoria.

Dad was barely 10 when she died but remembers the following:
 I remember Oakleigh had a lot of land around the house. Much later it was subdivided into 6 x ¼ acre building blocks.
They had poultry and produced eggs. She grew small plots of lucerne and oats to put through a "huge" cutting machine in the large barn for green feed. She also had large veggie garden and berries (gooseberries and never liked them) and many others. (Her daughters, my Gren and her sister were avid veggie gardeners too)
a beautiful lady
She always wore an apron and dark clothes - maybe this was after her husband died. In later years, she spent a lot of time close to the wood stove burning what looked like incense to help her breathing. (She was asthmatic - something passed on to many descendants)
At the time, Oakleigh was quite rural as I remember walking across vacant land to get fresh milk from the dairy. It was always good to drink the warm milk when bringing the billy home.
A highlight of most days was following the bakers cart , the iceman and butcher not only to get a sample but to collect the horse manure for her veggie garden. I never followed the night man!

May and William Francis in their later years,
yes, she was a tall lady! ...and not wearing 
dark clothes here, as my Dad remembers

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