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Anecdote about Lily Batten nee Butler
(from memories of Valerie Jessome, my sister)

Nan, Lily Batten (Butler), had four children that lived and at the age of 47 years she had a fifth baby, Ruth, that lived only two or three days. Nan said she was a blue baby, that her lips and fingernails turned blue, indicating a heart malfunction I assume.

From a grandchild's perspective my grandmother was a fortress and more like a mother to me. Having had foot trouble all her life she was slow in gait and walked in a flat-footed manner. Her toes had an arthritic appearence (gnarled) but I understood she had the condition since childhood.

She became a teacher at age 14 and she had boys in her class bigger than her (she stood only 5 ft.). She talked about teaching all grades in one classroom and of having taught in New Perlican. Her father, whom she always called "Daddy" was disappointed that she chose to teach rather than assume more responibility in his business, he being a merchant and having sent his daughters to finishing school in St. John's. She said the St. John's girls snubbed them.

Her parents were very patient people with their children, apparently, since Nan said her father's strongest admonition to her was to take off his cap and sternly say " Get up over them stairs!". Any mention of her mother was accompanied with "My mother was an angel." Her mother had birthed 4 girls I believe:

  1. Lily,
  2. Violet (Auntie Vie),
  3. Daisy (died early), and I believe
  4. Rose, who also died early.
They also took custody of Beatty Weir (married name) who was an orphan of neighbours. I believe Beatty was between 8 and 11 years old when she joined the family.

My grandmother said her mother was a very generous person giving much away from their abundance. My own mother described J.J. as helping people get started giving them horses or the money to build barns, plant gardens, etc.

J.J. was very successful at plying his trade. He had cash in a cashless economy. He brought into the area anything new that became available, being the only large merchant in the area, and it is said that he had the first motorcar in the area.

Nan described her childhood and early life as blessed and priviledged, and despite the disappointments in her later life, talked of the good fortune she was surrounded by as a girl, and that she had been very lucky. Her wedding day was a very favorable memory. She had a garden party which apparently was a community event. She had worn silk shoes that day.

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