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Russell, William Edward & Fanny Eliza (Pope)


William Edward Russell and Fanny Eliza Pope
(1849-1893) (1856-1936)

William Edward Russell, son of Willis Russell and Rebecca Page Sanborn, was born in Quebec in 1849. As a child in Tad in his mid-teens, William (Willy) was a playmate of his neighbor, Godfrey Rhodes, Colonel Rhodes's son, and many of their teenage exploits are detailed in Godfrey's diary. Fanny Eliza Pope, wife of William Edward Russell, was born in Chatham, England, in 1856. Her father, Lieutenant Colonel James Pope, later became the commander of the English army stationed in Quebec and at some point, her and William Edward Russell's paths crossed and they married at Trinity Cathedral in Quebec in 1874 - Fanny being then the tender age of 18. William Edward inherited the hotel business from his father, Willis, but unfortunately, William was not much of a businessman and died practically insolvent 6 years after his father's death - leaving Fanny Eliza as a young widow of 37 with 5 children - at least three of whom (Florence Louisa “Nonie” Russell, Willis Robert Russell, and Mabel Emily Russell) continued summering at Tad. It was Fanny Eliza Pope's sister, Louisa Floriana Pope, that later had a profound effect on her goddaughter and grandniece, Ann Stevenson, future wife of the Rev. Russell Dewart.
As Ann Stevenson relates in her book, “Nose to the Window”, “Louisa, or 'Auntie Totie' as she was called, was born in Malta in about 1852, where her father, Colonel James Pope, was stationed with the British Army . She was a tall, white-haired maiden lady, straight as a ramrod. When she died from a heart attack at the age of eighty, she still did her "daily dozen" and could touch her toes. She always wore black, with a big white scarf at her throat and several strands of robin's-egg blue and crystal beads, which she strung herself. At her waist she wore a reticule, which was a kind of hanging pocket of black moiré for her hanky and spectacles. In winter she wore black wool wristlets to ward off chilblains. Mum said that she had once been very much in love, but that her father had taken a dislike to the young man ‘because the back of his head didn't look a gentleman's.’ The relationship was broken off, and she never married. This absolute power of one's father to determine a daughter's life existed even into my own life. If the suitor didn't meet with parental approval, or if the chosen career was not conformable to what the parents deemed best, the necessary pressure was brought to bear until the girl gave in. Generally, the young man was told that his attentions were not welcome. To go against one's parents' wishes was more emotionally traumatic than to give in and simply suffer the loss.
As the sole surviving member of the older generation, Auntie Totie was the arbiter of speech and manners. When the Dionne Quints were born and no one knew how to pronounce this strange new word, ‘Quintuplets,’ she announced that the accent should be on the first syllable. Like most Victorians, she idolized the Royal family, and it was she who always proposed the toast to the King at Christmas dinner. After she had said grace, we would all stand with her and say "The King! God Bless Him!" and drink to his health. However, because Auntie Totie's name was Pope, and because Mum was particularly fond of the tail of the turkey, known derisively in Protestant England as the Pope's nose, when Dad carved the turkey he would turn to Mum and say, ‘Nonie, do you want the Pope's nose? ‘ We would have to stifle our giggles with our napkins and try not to look at Auntie Totie. ”
Louisa died in Quebec in 1934 and her sister, Fanny Eliza, died 2 years later in Toronto.

Brian Dewart (with excerpts from Ann Stevenson Dewart’s writings)

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