This photo is of my great-grandmother Margaret Skram Hardiman. Her mother and father separated when she was a child. The story was she had run off to South Africa with a diamond miner. The truth is somewhat different. Research indicates she left her older husband not long after the death of her third child and moved from Benjeerop to Bendigo, Victoria, with a younger man. It can be confirmed she was a bigamist, as she married her long-time partner many years later. This is a creative narrative describing her two marriages.
© Annie Canning’s Weddings
Silently, her small hands trembling, Annie stands beside the tall blonde man. The bright wildflower posy tumbles from her cold fingers landing upside down on St Killians’ slate floor. The older man stoops to pick them up. Shyly he hands them back to her. Shuffling, Johan glances at the fragile figure beside him. The full skirts of Annie’s best grey bombazine brush against his leg. She is but sixteen, a typical Irish colleen, and her black curls tumble from under the brim of her bonnet, and the green silk trimmings highlight her blue eyes. The priest’s slurred voice declares on this day of grace in 1866, they are man and wife. Annie Canning is now Mrs. Johan Skram.
Without hesitation, Annie picks up the pen and boldly writes “spinster” in a strong hand on the marriage licence. The minister asks if she has any issue, in a firm voice, she replies no. Looking at her he shakes his head and writes nil in the space provided. Turning she smiles at Fred Lennon her husband to be, he squeezes her hand in encouragement. Annie stands tall and proud beside Fred, thinking how different it feels this time. The minister declares on this day of grace in 1896, they are man and wife. Annie Canning is now Mrs. Fred Lennon.
Weeping Fred picks up the pen. His tears blot the paper causing the ink to run. Slowly he completes the notice of death for Annie Lennon, formally Annie Skram, who was born Annie Canning of County Waterford, Ireland. Children are Margarethe, William, and Letitia Skram(deceased). Annie Skram-Lennon, aged 49, died on this day of grace 1896.
References – Victorian Births Deaths and Marriages
VPRO Marriage 1866 Canning/ Skram 2618/1866
VPRO Marriage 1896 Canning/ Lennon 3819/1896
VPRO Death 1896 Lennon 8636/1896