Tag Archives: Vera Pearl Adams

A Curious Marriage 101 Years Ago Today

I am the caretaker of a bit of ephemera for whom there are no direct descendants living today, the wedding book of my great grand aunt Vera Pearl Adams and her husband Perce Chadwick.

Aunt Pearl, as she was called, and Perce had one son, Charles, who passed away in 2008, leaving no descendants. I’ve blogged about Charles before – he was the family member who contributed most to creating my genealogy addiction and he shared many family stories that would now be lost to time. I never knew his dad, as Perce died when Charles was just about ten years old. Aunt Pearl never remarried.

Charles share many family photos when he was living and, after he died, the remaining mementos were passed down to me. I treasure this little wedding book:

1916 Wedding Book

It is in pristine condition and looks more like it is one year old rather than 101 years old.

“Percy” and Pearl married 21 June 1916

I treasure the book because of the guests who signed it:

Wedding Guests

The first two names are Mrs. Nellie Adams, my 2X great grandmother and Aunt Pearl’s mother, and Annie M. Adams, my great grandmother!

Jumping back a few more pages into the guest list, I found:

More Guests

N.J. Adams was Nelson Adams, brother of my 2X great grandfather, Calvin Adams and Chas. E. Adams is my great grandfather, Pearl’s sister. This one little book contains the signatures of ancestors who were gone long before I was around.

I also have the newspaper clippings announcing Perce’s and Pearl’s marriage, but I have to admit I never paid much attention to them, other than skimming them over.

Today, I actually took a good look at what they said and took another look at a letter inside the wedding book and discovered a rather different (odd?) wedding story.

I do remember Charles telling me that his parents both had family responsibilities in terms of caring for elder relatives and that they had eloped. I didn’t see the eloping as any big thing – Perce was 31 and Pearl was 28 when they married – so they were definitely of legal age. I also knew they married in Calais, which is where they lived anyway so they didn’t “elope” very far.

Here is the rest of the story:

Pearl’s Wedding Announcement

Some of Those Who Have Lately Taken On
The Bonds of Wedded Life.


Cards announcing the marriage of
Miss Pearl Adams and Percy Chad-
wick, recently issued, came as a genu-
ine surprise to their friends on the St.
Croix. Although they had been en-
gaged for an extended period, none
but two intimate friends knew of their
wedding day. Miss Pearl is the daugh-
ter of Calvin Adams. She is well known
in musical circles, being a fine
pianist, and is a popular member of the
“13” club. Mr. Chadwick is well known
in business circles, having been con-
nected with the Eastern Steamship
Co. He is now located in Boston.
The Courier extends congratulations.

So far, all looks like nothing out of the ordinary, right? Look at this second announcement:

Second Announcement

Mrs. Percy Chadwick, nee Pearl
Adams, was “at home” to her friends
Tuesday afternoon, the twelfth of
March, at the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Charles Adams, Calais Avenue. Al-
though the storm was severe, many
ventured to pay their respects to the
bride, who wore a gown of sand col-
ored crepe meteor embroidered with
silver and pastel shades. The din-
ing room was pretty in green and
white and refreshments were serv-
ed by Mrs. Stephen Chadwick, Mrs.
Herbert Gardner, Miss Kitty McKay,
Mrs. Harold Murchie and Mrs. Jack
Fraser. The wedding presents were
numerous and beautiful.

Note the highlighted in red date – 12th of March (likely 1917)- but they actually married 21 June 1916. They didn’t tell anyone for nine months and, no, Pearl was not expecting a child.

I am starting to think their families really expected each to devote their lives to caring for the elders.

After finding this, I took another look at the letter that my 2X great grandmother, Nellie Adams, Pearl’s mother, wrote to Perce. Pearl kept the letter for the rest of her life.

From Nellie to Perce, 26th (March?) 1916

Tuesday 26th

Dear Perce!-
You see by the way
I am starting in that it must
be all right. But I cant find
it in my heart to say to (sic) much
against the whole thing for
you certenly  have had up
hill work of it and I would
be the last one to make it
any harder for you both. To
be sure I am mean enough
to want Pearl and it seams (sic)
as though when I would think
of her leaving me that I could
not stand it. I tryed not to think
of it. But you see that was selfish
and that is what I am. so it makes it
all the harder. I had so few and I wanted
them. But Perce I can truly say that I
dont know of anyone, I would rather
give her up to. for I think I know
you well enough to believe you will
always be kind to her. That is all
I can ask of you. Pearl is a good girl
but one that is hard to get aquainted
with. I think you relize  that, and
also know it. You are pretty well
aquainted with her or at least had
aught to be. But you will have to
live with her to know her worth-
She had been so kind & (parhant?) with
me right at my side, day and night,
knew eney moves I made, and so
willing to do for me. I know she will
be the same to you. I was taken right
off my feet when she told me, for
I never had a thought of such a
thing. I knew in all reason you
wouldent  wate  for ever but was in hope
you would put it off as long as
possible, which you did.
In regard to her Father There
is no one of earth would suit
him. She tryed hard enough
for a good meny years, but
will will live him right
out of the whole thing I am
glad to know she has someone
that will make up
for all she has lost him which
I have fath enough to belive you
will do. I think she misses you very
much, altho she dosent say so but
knowing her as I do, that is what
I think. she has been so buizy
since you left that she hasent
had time to think. Annie & Cha’s
asked her to go to the pictures to night she
said she wooldent know how
to act, but I guess it will come
to her. We are enjoying Vernon
just now he is hyst – the same
as ever, happy as can be, we are
so glad to have him home again
if it is for a short time. There
is something doing eney minute
when he is around. In speaking
of yor (brother?) and sister I am (sorry?)
for them for I think it will be
hard for them both. Steve said
they was very lonesom and I know
they must be. Yor brother is an old
(?) and when one is old
changes comes to them it is hard to stand.
Mrs. Phinney has been very sick. Steve said
I am going down to see them right away.
I know well enough they will feel
dreadfull when they find out what
yer tow things have done. I wooldent
want to be the one to tell them
There Pearl and Annie have just come
in and it is only nine ochock so you
see they are keeping good howers.
We had a nice Xmas all of us
the only thing we lacked was you.
but we hope you had a nice
time and no (dout?) did.
There they are talking so fast and
making so much fuss I cant tell
what I am writing about so will
close wishing you Happy and proferes
New Year. I reamin as before your
friend and also
Mrs. A—-

Nammie, as Nellie was known to her family, wrote a heartfelt letter to her new son-in-law, who by the announcement was living and working in Boston, and I guess it was the closest thing to a welcome into the family that he was going to receive.

Notice that the guest book contained many signatures, both male and female, but there was no mention of the father of the bride, Calvin Adams. I know that Calvin, who died in January 1921, was blind for a number of years before his death. I imagine that Pearl cared for him for much of that time, as her mother was also getting up in years.

Sometime after Calvin died, Nammie went to live in Massachusetts with Pearl, Perce and their son, Charles until she  died in December 1927.

I wonder how many suitors Pearl lost because of her parents’ expectations? I don’t know if it is coincidental or on purpose, but Pearl, by all accounts, did the same thing to her son. She died in 1973, with Charles losing at least one fiancee that I know of. He cared for Aunt Pearl during her entire widowhood, which lasted about forty years.

I only knew Aunt Pearl very slightly:

Me, coloring, with Aunt Pearl in the background, c1958

but Charles was a wonderful man. We corresponded for years and I always thought was too bad that he never married his fiancee and had a family.


More on the Calais, Maine Class of 1905

Yesterday, I shared a picture of the Calais High School Class of 1905 from Calais, Washington County, Maine. The only person known to me was my great grandaunt, Vera Pearl Adams Chadwick, seated in the center row to the right of the young man in the center.

There is a great website for those with Calais roots – my mother, grandparents, great grandparents and a great great grandmother were all born there – www.calaisalumni.org. I shared this picture with them, along with a copy of the program, which listed the names of the graduates.

I decided to see if I could find out who any of the other faces belonged to. Along the way, I figured that there were only 16 of them. I might as well try to find any descendants, who could help identify their relatives.

One more young lady had been identified by a grandniece. The petite young lady, third from the right, in the back row is Laura Ethel McKusick.

Since there were only five young men in this class and one of them, Harold Hale Murchie, became Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court, I decided to start with him.

HaroldHMurchieHarold Murchie at Dartmouth College

Comparing this photo to the group photo, Harold Murchie is the young man at the right end of the center row. Next, I looked for Harold Hitchings Burbank, who became a Harvard Professor of Economics. Here is a Dartmouth College photo of him:

HaroldHBurbankHarold Hitchings Burbank at Dartmouth College

This one was a little tougher. However, Harold Burbank was the class salutatorian and my Aunt Pearl earned honors. If seating placement had anything to do with class standings, then Harold Burbank, as the young man with the highest scholastic average, would be seated in the center of the center row. Also, as I compared the college photo with the class picture, Harold had a wide nose and ears that were tight to his head. He also had a roundness to his face. The hair is a lot shorter in college, but based on the ears and the nose and general shape of his face, I believe that Harold Burbank is, indeed, the young man in the center of the picture.

I had no luck finding photos of any of the other people, but if Harold and Pearl are in the center row, then the valedictorian should also be in there. That leads me to believe that Helen Eary Fox is the young lady to the left of Harold Burbank in the center row.

Next, I hoped that I could find descendants of these students and that they might have a photo or two to share. That will not be, as I discovered. I was actually quite surprised to find that eleven of these young people have no direct descendants living today – Vera Pearl Adams, Ellen Douglas Bates, Harold Hitchings Burbank, Howard Kenneth Dyer, Luella May Grover, Virginia Harrison Hume, Robert Harrison Kirkpatrick, Ida Woods McCoy, Ralph Bernard McGinn, Ella Jane McVay and Ethel Pearla Rourke.

Of the remaining five, Helen Eary Fox, Grace McCullough, and Florence Louise Randall each had children and they might have descendants living today. I just couldn’t pick up a trail after 1940. That leaves only two, Laura Ethel McKusick and Harold Hale Murchie who have proven descendants living in 2014.

School Days, Calais, Maine 1905

1905 must be my lucky year. I found another photo, this of the high school graduating class of Calais High School, Maine among items I inherited from my cousin, Charles Chadwick. This, just a few days after my post about the elementary school class pictures in Hobart, Oklahoma in 1905, 1906, and 1907.

CalaisME1905GraduatesCalais Academy Class of 1905

This photograph is actually quite large – perhaps 12 inches by 18 inches. I no longer have the photo because I mailed it back to its proper home – Calais, Maine – which has a Calais High School Alumni  site documenting as many Calais High School/Calais Academy graduates as they can find.

Only two young ladies have been identified in the unmarked photo. Vera Pearl Adams who married Perce Chadwick is seated in the center row, third from the left. Ethel Laura McKusick is the petite young lady standing in the back row, also third from the left.

I even have a copy of the program with the names of the sixteen graduates, but that hasn’t helped:

1905CalaisHSGradProgramCalais Academy Class of 1905

Plus, one of them, Harold Hale Murchie, became Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court. I found two photos of Harold on line, one when he was a toddler and the other in his later years. Neither has helped identify him from among the five males in the senior class. I think he may be the young man in the center of the picture, but I am not sure.

I have been drawn in by all of these faces and I’m going to see if I can put any more of these names to these graduates!