Thursday, April 25, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday / Finding Maggie's Fork

     Maggie Power was my great grandmother.   She was born in Farmington, New York five days before Christmas of 1883.  She died a brief 25 years later.  Her father Philip Power, born at Cullencastle, County Waterford, had come to America as a young man Her mother, Mary Gunn, of Ballygologue, County Kerry also immigrated as a young woman.  (More about Mary Gunn--  Was Great, Great Grandma a She Devil? ) Mary and Philip met here in New York and were married at the Catholic Church in Palmyra.  Margaret, or Maggie as she was always known, was their first child.

    In 1902, Maggie married a local boy named Carlton Warner.  Their son, Lloyd arrived the following year.  Maggie gave birth to another son named Carl in May of 1906.  Little Carl was not healthy and failed to thrive, living only six months.  Maggie probably didn't know it, but at the time of Carl’s death she was already pregnant with another son Lawrence Warner was born June 10, 1907.  Tragedy struck again three months later when Lloyd contracted scarlet fever.  The child died from a weakened heart caused by the disease just a year after his brother Carl had died.  In less than a year and a half Maggie would be gone too.

     The newspapers are silent as to how she contracted the blood poisoning that would result in her death, but after battling the disease for two weeks she lost her struggle, leaving 18 month old Lawrence motherless and Carlton a widower.  Her funeral was held from the same church she was married in, her burial is open to question.  

      Her husband Carlton was a Protestant son of English immigrants, and I get the feeling there was some trouble on that score.  Her obituary in one newspaper says she was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Clifton Springs, another names the Catholic cemetery in Palmyra.  Maggie’s death certificate states she was buried in Brookside cemetery in Shortsville, which was not a Catholic cemetery.  Her headstone, next to Carlton's, is indeed in Brookside, though it bears a telling inscription; Erected by Philip & Mary Power --Margaret Power wife of Carlton Warner -- Died Feb. 20, 1909 -- Aged 25 years.  Granted, it is common in Ireland to word an inscription in this manner and I may be reading too much into it, but I would love to have been a fly on the wall when that marriage was announced.

     After Maggie's death, Carlton and Lawrence moved to his parent’s home. Carlton remarried, but Lawrence never lived with
Maggie's fork
his father again, remaining with his grandparents; he never had a photograph of his mother or any mementos. That changed in 1978.  That year Maggie’s youngest brother Philip Jr. passed away and the property where he and Maggie and their siblings had grown up was to be sold.  In the attic of the old house was found a silver spoon, engraved on it was the name Maggie.  As you can imagine, my grandfather Lawrence cherished it, and on his passing it came to me.  As the post title says, it’s a treasure.


  1. So much sadness in this story. The bright spot is finding Maggie's fork. What a treasure!

  2. It is very sad, I've often felt sorry for Grandpa Lawrence. Losing so much so young. At least we have the little remembrance of Maggie now. Thanks for reading and commenting.