Tuesday, August 21, 2012

F is for Fannie

My great grandmother,   Fannie Belle Westlake was 26 years old  when she married the much older Simeon Hughes.  He was 14 years her senior.    I remember finding a letter that she had sent to  Sim, tucked away  in the bottom drawer of my father's dresser.  As a teenager,  I loved to take this lovely Victorian letter  out and read it.  Pictured here is the  leap year letter  that was her  marriage proposal to Sim!  The letter  contains a number of verses, to which a colored bow of thread is tied.   The last verse said, "If you want me for your wife, send me back my bow of white."  The white bow is missing;  he must have sent it back! 

Simeon  Hughes, son of Frederick and Harriet Van Wey Hughes of Tioga, Pennsylvania  married Fannie Belle Westlake, daughter of George and Jane Hayton Westlake  on January 11, 1898.
Fannie and Sim soon became the parents of three boys.   Jeptha  was born April 27, 1899,  Richard, born June 23, 1900 and  Roy  born  July 13, 1901.  Yes they are all boys... curly hair,  ruffled shirt collars, dresses and all!

Fannie had her hands full raising these three boys born so close together.  They were kept busy on the  tobacco farm  their father Sim operated, one of Tioga's most prominent farms.  Here is the Hughes family all dressed in their Sunday best!  The boys look happy about that, don't you think!

After Simeon died  in 1929  Fannie became a business woman.  Way to go Fannie Belle!  She opened a bed and breakfast type tourist establishment in the farm house to provide herself with an income.  Fannie called her business The  Maples. 
She was a  good cook,  who taught her culinary skills to her son Richard  who  later  established the  Hughes Dairy Bar and milk processing plant on the property.    Dad told me that for a number of years when he was in his teens he lived upstairs at the farmhouse with his parents, Richard and Zilpha.   He remembered that his  Grandmother Fannie provided  a nurturing home for her grandchildren during these years. 

Fannie and Simeon were married 31 years before he died on June 3, 1929.  Fannie survived him another 17 years.  She was 74 years old when she passed away on May 14, 1946.  They are buried in Evergreen Cemetery Tioga, Pennsylvania.

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  1. I love your great grandmother Fannie Belle. She sounds like such a romantic, such a family woman, and so resourceful, being a businesswoman too.

  2. Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to read through my Grammy Stories.