Monday, November 21, 2011

Matrilineal Monday - Cinderella and The Evil Step-Mother

Elizabeth Meakin Carpenter Gwyne Roesch, known as Lizzie, a trained nurse, was born in British Columbia, Canada on November 5, 1864 and was Governor Gleason's niece by marriage.  When her husband, George Carpenter, died she married J. Gwyne.  When he died, she married my great grandfather, William Russell Roesch, husband number three, who was now widowed.

Lizzie was certainly not the most sociable person to family.  In fact family stories tell me she was down-right mean, selfish and a snob.  She loved being the center of attention. 

Lizzie enjoyed being the mayor's wife and the privileges that came with it.  She was always impeccably dressed in her finest every day. She loved to entertain as often as she could, it could be friends or organizations, it really didn't matter.  Her guests included the American Legion Axillary that she would delight with an afternoon tea, and of course the ladies from the Eau Gallie Women's club of which she eventually became its' President.

Promptly at 12 noon Lizzie would ring the bell that was attached to the house just outside the kitchen door signaling her husband William, known as Judge, that it was time to come in from the field for lunch.  She also called him Judge.  If there just happened to be a few  friends in the house at the time, it was their hint to leave.

Lizzie didn't like her daughter-in-law, Eva Lena, very much at all.  Why I'll never understand for she was like the sweetest Cinderella.  Lizzie always said mean things to her, accused her of stealing, wrote mean letters to her step-son, William Phillip and daughter-in-law Florence, threatening eviction from the cottage they rented from William's father, the Judge. I have a copy of one of those letters, not nice. 

Eva Lena was always crying. and she was eventually forced out of the house.  Her father at this point in time was very ill and sick and bed.  Eva Lena, known as Aunt Lena, moved in with her brother and sister-in-law.  Here she was very happy and loved by all.  She was loving to her sweet little niece gently rubbing her back until she was asleep, giving her a quarter every week when she was paid from her housekeeping job.  She also cared for and loved her nephew.

When Lizzie's husband William died,  she took all the belongings and sold the house much to the chagrin of her step-son William Phillip. The only item she left William that belonged to his mothers Ada Louise Houston Roesch, was a hurricane lamp without the shade.  Six weeks later she moved from Florida and went to go live with her son in Washington.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder why she was so mean? Perhaps it was like you say, if she wasn't the center of attention she took it out on other people. I'm sure "Cinderella" was much prettier than her, too. I'm glad to hear that Aunt Lena found a loving home to live in after all that drama!

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