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Friday, 14 March 2014

Pop Pretty: Part 4, Life Goes On...

My grandfather met Ida Frances Stewart in St. John's. She was the daughter of Thomas Stewart and Mary (Walsh) Stewart. The Stewart family lived on Job Street, then Water Street opposite the train station. They married in 1917 and a year later, Mary Muriel, called Muriel in her family, was born.

A year later, Albert was born but died within a few years. Thomas Bernard was born in 1920, followed by Margaret in 1922,  Angela in 1923, Samuel in 1925 and Robert, 1926. Robert died that same year.

The children were raised living near their cousins, Charlie and Jackie Grills, Mary (Min's) children, (Ida's sister.) They lived on Water Street with their grandparents, Thomas and Mary Stewart initially. Then they bought a railway house, part of a duplex, on Avalon Terrace. Houses were built by the Union of railway workers and sold to union members. There was a lack of suitable housing in St. John's after the great fire of 1892 so various groups stepped up to fill the void for their people. It was a four bedroom house, with a large bathroom, kitchen, pantry, living/dining room and a big basement.

     Back:  Belle Stewart Robson, Ida Stewart Pretty. John Grills, Min Stewart Healey Grills
     Front:  Child Robson, Marg Pretty, Tom Pretty, Muriel Pretty, Charlie Grills

Meanwhile Pop provided a steady income and a good livelihood for his family in the 1920s and into the 1930s when many people were suffering due to the Great Depression. Ida kept the children well dressed and she had nice things in her home, fine china, a fine dining set, a piano among other things. Though Pop spent time away from home due to his job, Ida did a great job with the children. 

Things were going well until Ida got uterine cancer. She kept going as long as she could according to my Aunt Angela (deceased 2013.) When Ida finally took to bed, she died quickly. After their mother's death, the children left home and started out on their own. My father, fifteen when his mother died, eventually moved out as well, after he quit school and got a job. He eventually got a job with the Newfoundland Railway, as did his brother Tom. They worked side by side for their working careers.

My grandfather didn't speak to me about Ida. It must have been a huge loss for him though, having lost so many other people in his life. To my knowledge, he didn't speak about her death with the children either. It wasn't common to talk about things in those days in that family. My mother introduced that concept to my father.

Muriel married Wilfred Sauriol. They had three children, Sandy, John and Vicky.


                                         Wilfred (Babe) and Muriel (Pretty) Sauriol

Tom married Lucy Rossiter. They had four children, Greg, Ann, Donna and Chris.

   Tom holding Chris, Lucy, Ann and Greg Pretty. Missing from photo, Donna Pretty.

Marg married Pat Evans. They had four children, Allison, Brenda, Robert and Douglas.

                        Pat and Marg (Pretty) Evans and oldest daughter, Allison

Angela married Alex Woodford. They had two boys, Donald and Ian.

      Ian, Angela (Pretty) Woodford, Donald

                            Alex Woodford and Donald

Sam married Mary O'Brien. They had two children, Frank and me (Marie.)

           Sam holding Claire Smith, Marie (Pretty) Smith, Frank, Mary (O'Brien) Pretty

                                              Frank's Family, Samantha and Michele
Though she was in her forties when she died, Ida left a tremendous legacy in her children, then grandchildren and into later generations. Pop Pretty lived long enough to see his grandchildren and some great grandchildren were born by the time he died. 

     Tom Pretty, Angela Woodford, Muriel Sauriol, Samuel Pretty. Marg died in the late 1950s.

That young boy left with just two brothers from a large family, has a family that is growing every year, even with great great grandchildren.

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