Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Trove Tuesday – Married for 65 years

In fact, they made it to 66 years!

Yesterday, I had a very excited phone call from my Mum. She and Dad had been to the Sunday meeting of the Terang & District Historical Society.
When they arrived, Mum was pointed to sit on a couch next to another lady, Betty.

As they chatted, they realised they were related – 2nd cousins – their grandmothers were sisters.

Not just any sister of Mum’s grandmother (Sara Henrietta STONEHOUSE) either, but the sister that my Mum was named after: Mary Janet STONEHOUSE.

Mum commented on the longevity in the Stonehouse family – Mary Janet lived to be 92, her sister Jane Elizabeth was 85 and Mum’s grandmother Sara was 80. 
Betty (on the right) is 89 years old – doesn’t she look great?
(Yes, Mum, you look great too, but you are not 89!!)

Mary Janet was born in Victoria in January 1857 and lived until after the end of WWII, dying in June of 1949. 
What amazing changes she would have seen!

This prompted me to look up the local newspaper of the time to see if there was any comment regarding Mary Janet living to such a great age.

I found an article about her and her husband, Hugh McCONNELL celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.
Seems her husband was also long-lived – living to be 92, and celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary shortly before his death.

The Mrs Edward Long mentioned in this article is Mum’s grandmother Sara Henrietta, the baby of the family, born in 1873 when Mary Janet was 16 years old.

What a small world!

From Trove: Camperdown Chronicle Tue 8 Jan 1946 p2

Couple's 65th Anniversary Of Marriage

Mr. and Mrs. Hugh McConnell, of "Raloo" Kolora, celebrated the 65th anniversary of their marriage at their home last week. The marriage took place at Warrnambool on January 3, 1881. 
Mr. McConnell who is the youngest and the only surviving member of a family of ten, came to Australia at the age of 16, with his parents from Larne, Northern Ireland, 72 years ago. They travelled on the sailing ship, "Great Britain," which took three months to make the voyage. 
Mrs. McConnell is a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Stonehouse of Laang, Victoria, and with her sister, Mrs. Edward Long, of Beeac, are the only surviving members of a family of 11. 
Mrs. McConnell is aged 89, has good eyesight and is a splendid knitter. 
Mr. McConnell is a keen gardener and attends to the spacious garden at his home. 
Nine surviving members of the family of 12, with Mrs Long, were present at the celebration. 
The couple have 30 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.

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