Tragedy and New Hope
Life has its tragedies and triumphs. Today I came across something I had written about my grandmother, Louisa Ellen Wright. I thought I would share it here.
Louisa Wright was born in London, England in 1884. She worked as a servant for some wealthy families, one was named Stokes. Lady Stokes entertained royalty from other countries - with their fine clothing and diamond jewelry. Louisa worked in the kitchen, but the girls who served the tables would leave the door open a crack so that the kitchen help (like Louisa) could enjoy the spectacle too.
Later, she too was employed serving the food, but she was never taught to bake. It was her husband, Richard who taught her to do farm chores like milking, churning butter and baking bread and pastries after they were married. Back in London, bread and milk were delivered to the homes.
Louisa was engaged to marry Wally, a merchant sailor on the "SS Montezuma", but on his last voyage before their marriage he drowned when the boat capsized while returning to the ship late one night. Louisa’s life was shattered! Wally had signed everything over to Louisa because of their impending marriage, but she refused to accept it, sending everything to his widowed mother.
Someone suggested she correspond with Richard Ing, an acquaintance of theirs who now lived in Canada. Their courtship took place by mail. (This was long before the internet!) He proposed marriage and she accepted! She traveled half way around the world to marry a man she had probably never met. That takes courage!
On her voyage to Canada in 1913, the Salvation Army band on shore played "God be with you 'til we meet again", and the passengers on the ship could hear the people singing as the ship moved out of hearing range. The Titanic disaster of the previous year was probably on everyone’s mind.
After the ship docked, Louisa traveled west on the Canadian Pacific Railroad. North of Lake Superior, the tracks were blocked by a landslide, which took several hours to clear away. Richard and some friends had traveled by horse and wagon from Altario, Alberta to Macklin, Saskatchewan, which was the closest point on the railroad. They waited for hours for the train to come. It finally arrived at midnight, so Richard Samuel Ing and Louisa Ellen Wright were married at midnight at the minister’s house in Macklin.
The next day they traveled to Altario, and then to Richard’s homestead. Louisa moved from a stately home in England to a homesteader’s shack on the bald prairie of Alberta, to begin her married life.
They had a wonderful marriage and 6 children, all of whom married and had families. Their home was place of love and laughter. Three of the children are still alive and are in their 90s.
Louisa loved to sing, and she sang constantly throughout the day as she did her work. Even when she was down on her knees scrubbing the floor she would be singing. She often sang the hymns "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?", but she had a large repertory of songs, and a nice singing voice. Many of her songs were the tragic songs popular in those times.
Louisa’s example of courage, hard work and good humor has been a powerful one in our family. She and her gentle husband Richard Ing were wonderful people!