I have three genealogy bloggers I follow for the most up to date information in the Genealogy world; Gail Dever, John Reid, and Dick Eastman. The benefit of following these bloggers is that I hear what is new in the world of genealogy. They share new databases, database updates, news stories, and general genealogy news. There are other bloggers worth following but these three are amoung my favorites.
My latest discovery was thanks to Dick Eastman’s newsletter. He recently shared in his newsletter that more North Carolina newspapers had been added to DigitalNC AND I found a news article about my great grandfather’s first marriage. I really would have never found out about this update otherwise.
My great grandfather, William Harrop was born in Etobicoke, Ontario in 1854 to parents Lewis Harrop and Anna Eliza Stickle. William was the last of their five children, his father passed away when he was seven, which was followed by the family relocating to Orangeville. William apprenticed as a butcher and volunteered with the 36th Regiment for Peel County and 1891 he was farming in East Assiniboia (Saskatchewan). William was quite a successful farmer and eventually owned a full Section of land. The remoteness of the location meant finding a wife pretty challenging. In 1897 he replied to a newspaper ad posted by a widow living in North Carolina, she was seeking a husband. I am not sure how common this was back in the day and if it was frowned upon? I guess it would be a version of todays dating apps.
Dick Eastman’s mention of North Carolina’s newspaper and instantly my curiosity was sparked. And sure enough, the details of their courtship was revealed.
The Goldsboro Headlight ran the story:
Mrs. Belle Cornelius, of Iredell county, was married at Newton Monday to Mr. William Harrop, of Ontario, Canada, and she and her husband arrived there on the noon train. It seems that there is a bit of romance connected with it, says a correspondent to the Statesville Landmark. Some months ago Mrs. Cornelius advertised in a matrimonial paper for correspondents on the subject of matrimony. The gentleman above referred to answered the “ad” and a correspondence was kept up which soon led to their engagement. A place of meeting was named with the understanding that if they were pleased with each other they were to be married. They met at Hickory, Monday, and I suppose the “looks” were satisfactory, as they drove to Newton and were married. Mrs. C. was to meet and marry another gentleman on the 15th inst., but after her marriage on Monday she telegraphed lover No. 2 that he need not come. I learn that they will make their home in Canada.
I love this story! I knew bits about this story thanks to other newspapers, but I did not know that Belle was the one who put in the ad, about them meeting face-to-face 1 day before they married, and that he was not her only suitor!
After the marriage, Belle and her daughter Flora Belle came to the Harrop farm and called Balcarres, Saskatchewan home for the next seven years. In 1904, the love-seeking Belle passed away, her daughter Flora Cornelius moved back to North Carolina where many of her siblings resided.
William was widowed for three more years until he married Rachel Hodgins in 1907. I think it fairly likely that they also met through a newspaper ad.
Thanks to ALL the genealogy news bloggers and all the work they put in! You are consistently helping me to make new discoveries in my family tree.