Thursday, June 2, 2016

Marriages of Jennie and Fairie Fawkner

Five years after Jennie Fawkner's young suitor, Albert Drake, shot himself on a St. Paul street in 1882 (May 19 post), Jennie said yes to a more promising proposal. She married Thomas Parker Pease in a "quiet wedding" in the Fawkner home in September 1887, officiated by G. L. Brokaw of the Christian church.

MN Historical Society microfilm
Tragedy paid another visit only 15 months later when Jennie died in December 1888. The three-sentence news report stated, "Mrs. Pease was well known in social circles. She was but twenty-two years of age, having been married little more than a year." (St. Paul Daily Globe, 10 December 1888, p. 2). She undoubtedly died of child birth complications, because the Ramsey County death registration reported the death of "Baby Pease" the same day. Jennie died of eclamplesia, a complication of high blood pressure that can cause seizures or coma in pregnant women.

Jennie's sisters, Fairibelle and Katharyn, were 19 and 11, respectively, when Jennie died. Though surely deeply touched by their sister's death, they enjoyed promising teen years. Scattered newspaper reports give some hint of the Fawkner's rise in status during this time. In June 1887, Fairie attended the season opening event at the Hotel Lafayette on Lake Minnetonka (a fashionable resort west of Minneapolis) for Minneapolis and St. Paul "belles and beaux" (Daily Globe 26 June 1887, p. 5).  In the fall of 1891, Miss "Faery" Fawkner gave "a charming little tea party"for three guests. Eligible young men were invited for the evening -- the young people "danced and talked and enjoyed themselves in the simplest and most delightful fashion imaginable." Among they young men were Capt. Braden, and Tom and Will Pease -- possibly Jennie's widowed husband and his brother.

In January 1892, Fairy performed in a benefit performance "Fantasma of Flowers" for the Christian chapel (Daily Globe, 10 January 1892). Katharyn, still a teenager, enrolled in a course in painting at St. Joseph's Academy, making an "enviable reputation as an artist in the school" (Daily Globe, 9 April 1893).

George Fawkner apparently made some political connections -- possibly through his wife's family or the GAR -- because he was appointed a special agent of surveys for the General Land Office in June 1889 (under the Harrison administration). Her father's political connections might have helped Fairie take a step up in status. She married Herbert C. Braden 26 October 1892. Herbert's father, William, was Minnesota State Auditor from 1882 to 1890.

At least three accounts in the St. Paul Daily Globe gave slightly different accounts of the Wednesday "high noon" wedding in the Fawkner home.

  • The Daily Globe (23 October 1892) reported that "a wedding that will of of much interest to St. Paul people" would take place at 12 o'clock noon Wednesday, 26 October, at the Christian chapel at the corner of Nelson and Farrington Avenues. A wedding trip to Duluth and West Superior was planned. After 10 days back in St. Paul, Herbert and Fairie would make their home in Osburn, Idaho.
  • A longer story after the wedding said the couple would live in Montana. The groom was described as "Capt. Braden's handsome son." The chapel was "prettily trimmed with palms," and even though no cards were sent out, "the room was crowded to the doors" as the wedding march was "swiftly played" (Daily Globe, 27 October 1892).
  •  The 30 October Sunday edition stated that  bride was the daughter of a "prominent army officer" -- not true to this blogger's knowledge.
MN Historical Society microfilm
The bride's gown was "a traveling costume of sage green wool crepe, trimmed with wool of a lighter shade." Her hat was "a delightlful creation of shaded green ribbons and plumes and velvet." She carried a bouquet of American Beauty roses. Fairie's sister, Kate, carried La France roses and wore gray wool and a gray felt hat.

Herbert Braden's father, as State Auditor, was closely involved with the timber industry in northern Minnesota -- possibly an explanation for Herbert's plans to go west to Osburn, Idaho. He and Fairie did not stay there long. By the time of the 1897 death of Fairie's father in San Francisco, the Bradens were in Ontario, California -- east of Los Angeles. The 1900 census identified him as an "orchardist." Herbert died there 20 June 1903. Though he had been in California since at least 1897, hid death warranted an obituary in the St. Paul Globe.

"Bert" Braden, as he was familarily [sic] called by his friends here, was a son of Former State Auditor W. W. Braden and was, during his residence here, quite prominent in the national guard. He was captain of Company C. in the First regiment, and later a major in the Third Regiment. H was a member of the Sons of Veterans and prominent in the Loyal Legion. (St. Paul Globe, 21 June 1903, p. 16, col. 1).

Fairie died in Chicago in 1910, but was buried alongside Herbert in Bellevue Memorial Park in Ontario. The 1910 census enumerated Fairie's daughter Genevieve with Mary, 69, and "Katherine" Fawkner, 28, in Chicago. Genevieve died from "tuberculosis of hip joint" in Chicago in 1913. Mary Fawkner died in Los Angeles in 1931. Katharyn also returned to California, where she died in 1954.

This is not quite the end of the story. In one of my presentations at the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree in Burbank this weekend, I will be sharing the story of why Katharyn was buried across the continent in New York City. My plans are to re-tell the story in next week's blog.

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