My Favorite Photo

07 Jan 2018

#52Ancestors By Marilyn Sears Lindsey

My Favorite Photo

Mabel & Lizzie

As far back as I can remember, this photo has been in my  mother’s house.  It was originally a black-and-white photo and an ancestor had it colored.  I love color – so, of course, I love this version best.

The child on the left is my maternal grandmother, Mabel Arilla Payne, who was born on November 7, 1904.  So this photo is probably from around 1905.

The child on the right is her big sister, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Beatrice Payne.  Lizzie and Mabel had 2 older brothers – twins – Alfred and Albert who were born in 1900 and died within a few months of their birth.  So for all intents and purposes Lizzie was the oldest.

So much has been written about Mabel and her husband, Roy Sanders because they went on to have 8 children, 21 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren, 22 great-great grandchildren and 1 great-great-great granddaughter (for a GRAND total of 88 descendants) who have all heard the stories of Gramma Sanders and posted them online and in their own family albums.

Continuing on in the same vein as last week, I’m writing about my mother’s line.  I want to focus on my Great Aunt Elizabeth Beatrice Payne aka Aunt Lizzie and her line because I know next to nothing about her.

I do remember meeting her once when I was about 10 years old in 1964.  We drove into her yard and she came racing out of the house wielding a butcher knife.  I was reluctant to get out of the car and greet her until she said: Oh, I was just frosting a cake in your honor.

One of our family trees on says:
When Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beatrice Payne was born on December 30, 1901, in North Providence, Rhode Island, her father, Joseph, was 21, and her mother, Minnie, was 15. She married Patrick Frances Quirk on July 6, 1920. They had four children during their marriage. She died in 1991 in Massachusetts at the age of 90.

Well, that’s a beginning!  At least I have a skeleton of a story.  But now I realize that I need to know more about Lizzie’s parents first – to set the stage for Lizzie’s life.

In the US Census of 1900, Minnie is listed as living at 173 Charles Street in North Providence, Rhode Island along with 7 other people – her parents, 2 sisters, 1 brother, 1 boarder and 1 servant.  That servant later became her husband, Joseph Albert Payne, who is listed as a farm laborer that can read, write and speak English.  Joseph was born on May 9, 1880 and lived at 95 Park Place in Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island along with his parents, Dexter and Catherine Paine – who were also from Rhode Island, 2 brothers and 2 sisters.  His father worked in a cotton mill and his mother was a homemaker.

His 2 oldest siblings – Henry and Elizabeth – also worked in the cotton mill.  His 5-year-old brother Dexter attended school and Anna was only 2.

 Joseph and Minnie were married by Benjamin T. Livingston at Baptist Place in North Providence, RI.  This information from Ancestry tells me that Lizzie’s mother, Minnie, was only 14 when the twins were born.  That is so hard for me to imagine.  At 14 I was still creating cardboard board games with my sister and reading Trixie Belden mysteries.

Lizzie and Mabel’s father was 21 when Lizzie was born into this family and Joseph died on December 8, 1904 in a sawmill accident when Lizzie was 2 years old and Mabel was 1 month old.  The receipt for the order he was working on that day was in his pocket and has been handed down in the family.  My mother has it now.  It’s covered in his blood.

 What life must have been like for Minnie who had buried 2 babies and a husband and now was a widow with 2 toddlers at 18 years old!

Minnie and her 2 girls lived in North Providence, Rhode Island where she was a spooler at a mill.  At 20 years old, she re-married and later had 4 more children: Arthur, Austin, Ethel and James.  She died at 44 years old in 1930; she had lived about twice as long as her mother, Miranda.  Then of all things, Lizzie lived twice as long as her mother.

Lizzie was being raised by a teenager; Minnie was only 15 years old.  The generation gap that we talk about today wasn’t as prevalent then.  The term teenager (teen ager, teen-ager) didn’t even exist until the 1920s.

“In the 19th century, the American world consisted of children and adults. Most Americans tried their best to allow their children to enjoy their youth while they were slowly prepared for the trials and tribulations of adulthood. Although child labor practices still existed, more and more states were passing restrictions against such exploitation. The average number of years spent in school for young Americans was also on the rise. Parents were waiting longer to goad their youngsters into marriage rather than pairing them off at the tender age of sixteen or seventeen. In short, it soon became apparent that a new stage of life — the teenage phase — was becoming a reality in America. American adolescents were displaying traits unknown among children and adults…

From Courtship to Dating  The single greatest factor that led to the emergence of the independent teenager was the automobile. Teens enjoyed a freedom from parental supervision unknown to previous generations. The courtship process rapidly evolved into dating. In earlier times, young boys and girls spent their first dates at home. The boy would meet the girl’s parents, they would have a sitting in the parlor, followed by dinner with the entire family. Later in the evening, the couple might enjoy a few moments alone on the front porch. After several meetings, they could be lucky enough to be granted permission for an unchaperoned walk through town. The automobile simply shattered these old-fashioned traditions. Dating was removed from the watchful eyes of anxious parents. Teenagers were given privacy, and a sexual revolution swept America. Experimentation with sexual behaviors before marriage became increasingly common. Young Americans were now able to look beyond their own small towns at an enlarged dating pool.” From

Lizzie’s mother, Minnie, re-married in 1906 and had 4 more children: Arthur, Austin (1908-1909), Ethel and James.  So now Lizzie was the big sister to 4 children.  What a responsibility that must have been!  Lizzie was 15 when Ethel was born and already a married woman by the time her youngest sibline, James, was born.

262 Howe Street in Auburn, Worcester County, Massachusetts was the scene of the next phase of Lizzie‘s life.  In 1910, she lived there with her stepfather – Everett, her mother, and her siblings, Mabel, Arthur and a 51-year-old widowed servant named Ida from Canada.  She was attending school according to the US Census.  Everett Ballou was a florist who had a mortgage on his own home. JB WEDDING OF LIZZIE AND PAT QUIRK

Lizzie married Patrick (Pat) Frances Quirk on July 6, 1920 at the Trask Farm in Mendon, Massachusetts.  They were such unassuming people that they stood at the back of the group photo at their own wedding.

Lizzie and Pat Quirk

Lizzie and Pat had 4 children.  The first was a girl: Helen E. who was born in 1921.  The second was Mary P. who was born in 1924.  The third was William „Bill“ Joseph who was born on October 4, 1925 and served in the Navy in World War 2 from 1943 until 1946.  He married Emma around 1950.

Bill & Emma Quirk

And the fourth was John Edward who was born on April 16, 1927.  John is the only one that I remember meeting and hearing stories about.  He was a fighter pilot in the Navy and served on the USS Wasp (CV-7), an aircraft carrier that was commissioned in 1940 and lost in action on September 15,  1942.  He is pictured below around 1943.

John Edward Quirk

He taught my older daughter, Angelica, how to drive when she was only 10.  If mother hadn’t intervened, he would have actually let her drive off in the convertible with him giving instructions the whole time.

John Quirk, Pat Quirk & Bill Quirk

John, Pat and Bill Quirk circa 1944

When Lizzie was 28, she received the sad news that her mother had passed away; Minnie was only 44 in 1930.

Lizzie moved several times; she lived on the Trask Farm in Mendon, Worcester County, Mass in 1920 before she married Pat.  This was her great-grandfather’s farm – George Nelson Trask – which he owned free and clear.  George was an educated widower from Rhode Island and he was also a surveyor.  Everett and Minnie, his granddaughter, also lived there.  Lizzie was a weaver at the Satinette Mill.  Mabel was also a weaver but at the cotton mill.

Mabel told me a story once of when she worked at the mill.  She and Lizzie were walking to work in really high snow and wondering how they were going to make it in time to start work.  Then along came the owner of the mill in his horse and buggy.  He offered them a ride to work.  She said that was the highlight of her year.

In the US Census of 1930, Lizzie lived at 134 Park Street in Mendon which was another farm.  She was a homemaker then and had 4 children.  Pat worked the farm which he owned and was a veteran of the Great War.

From 1935-1993, Lizzie lived at 23 Carriage Hl, Mendon, MA 01756.

Arthur died on August 3, 1962 when Lizzie was 60 years old.

Pat died on Jan 15, 1981 in North Adams, Mass at the age of 83.  They had been married 60 years.  Lizzie died 10 years later at the age of 90.

Here’s my 2nd favorite photo because it shows Minnie holding my mother who was her granddaughter, Claire Lavina – but that’s another story…

1928 Great Grandmother Minnie and Claire



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