Family Histories

A True Love Story. Harold Dougherty and Marjorie Howard

By Eleanor McLaughlin

Back in the thirties, it was inevitable to find romance within your own close-knit community. My parents, Harold Dougherty and Marjorie Howard lived about two miles from each other. They met at the square dance at the local Orange Hall in Beachburg. Every Friday night Billy Davidson organized a dance and the hall overflowed with happy dancers enjoying the good music. Walter Barr, the Smith boys and George Condie often played the violin. They danced many squares together. During their courtship, they skated on the outdoor rink that Irvin Brown operated. At Fair time, square dances were held in the big round hall in the Fairgrounds before it burned while the Orange Hall hosted the round dancers. They formed a foursome with her brother Melville and his girl, Edna Dougherty. Harold and Marjorie were attendants at their wedding and after that they became a “pair”

Harold and Marjorie Dougherty were married on October 19, 1932 at the Greenwood manse by Rev. H. J. Latimer Harold worked as a regular hired hand for Marjorie’s dad when he needed help. Keyworth owned a hay press, which made the rounds to the neighbors each summer. One day, her dad asked Harold to sell him five little pigs. When they arrived, there were six. Harold said “The extra one was for Marjorie”. She enjoyed working outdoors helping her dad. One fall day, she got a turkey hen from Harold’s neighbor, Mrs. Conley and a gobbler from Mrs. Bob Farnel. The next spring Marjorie had thirty-five little turkeys. She sold her 225-pound pig for $8 in the spring; the proceeds going toward one hundred chicks. Now wasn’t that some dowry for the future!

On October 19, 1932, Marjorie and Harold married and she took all her possessions with her up the road to the Dougherty homestead. Rev. H.J Latimer married them in the Greenwood Parsonage with attendants Allan Crozier and Jean Black. Their wedding supper was held at her parent’s home with the reception at Harold’s home. Very fittingly, one of her turkeys was served for the meal. Marjorie’s wedding outfit cost $17. Of course she took with her the turkeys, fifty hens and a cow, a gift from her dad.

Many responsibilities faced the young couple in their new home together. Harold’s mother had died when he was six years old but his aging father was becoming a care. That fall she sold her turkeys and bought a churn and a washing machine. She sold some butter for ten cents a pound and eggs for eleven cents to buy some essentials. Harold and Marjorie worked hard together milking cows by hand and doing the general farm work. She claimed the income from the hens, selling eggs to regular customers although the feed was never considered an expense. Winters were hard with so much snow, no running water and all the conveniences taken for granted these days. In winter with no car, they had to walk, skate or go by sleigh. Their friends skated over the icy fields to meet for get-togethers. Marjorie did not learn to drive so buggy and cutter became her mode of transportation to Beachburg and to visit her parents.

Soon the family began to grow in leaps and bounds. Within the next eighteen years, from 1933 – 1951, nine children, seven girls and two boys, joined the fold. Sadly one little girl lived only five months in 1937, and the eldest lost her life during childbirth in 1956.

The Dougherty homestead where Harold and Marjorie lived after their wedding in 1932 until 1974 In 1935, reluctantly they agreed to move the ailing father to his daughter’s in Beachburg as maternal obligations demanded time with young children. Through thick and thin, during good times and hardships, Harold, a plausible man and Marjorie, so complacent showed their unconditional love and demure responsibilities toward their large family. Spiritual and firm values were instilled. The children learned “money does not grow on trees” but felt euphoric in every way. Living on a farm, provisions were plentiful with garden produce, meat, and eggs, but everyone played their part to help. Bulk buying of flour, brown and white sugar sufficed for baking necessities. Raspberries picked by the milk pail and wild plums preserved filled basement shelves. In the fall fifty pounds of honey and a barrel of apples purchased were enjoyed over the winter. Even as Harold suffered with severe asthma, illness kept them constantly caring for each other. Can you imagine the hungry mouths to be fed? After school, every day, the counter displayed fresh biscuits, a white cake with brown sugar icing, rolls and rolls of bread and much more. Naturally, the children quibbled over the chores but in the end, wood was brought in, water carried from the well, clothes taken in from the fence, lamp chimneys cleaned and so on. “A family that works together stays together”. There is no doubt these parents were a paragon to their family.

In the forties, a veranda and balcony were added. The balcony served as a large bedroom in summer and a place to air the mattressIn those days, the children could entertain themselves. After Sunday School, on Sunday afternoons the toboggans skimmed down the hill outside the yard until Harold had homemade ice-cream treat ready made from their own cream and ice from the ice-house.. The family enjoyed an idyllic supper of hot staples and then sat quietly listening to the stories on radio; Our Miss Brooks, The Squeaking Door etc. In summer many country drives with picnic lunches entertained the whole family piled into the car “without seatbelts”. On Saturday nights, Harold walked to Beachburg with the two older girls to skate unless Mac and Betty Fynn happened along. Education was an important requirement in the family. All were given the opportunity to complete high school and further if possible. They were so proud of all the accomplishments each one made whether 4-H, music or where they excelled even as each one left for marriage or a chosen profession.

Harold and Marjorie at their daughters home. Spring 1980 Marjorie had more than her share of care giving. With the support of her husband, she took her ailing father into their home until his passing. Her mother spent several years living with the family until her death. In 1974 with the family all gone, Harold and Marjorie decided to sell the farm and take life easy in their home in Beachburg. Finally, they took time to travel together. Unfortunately, Harold became ill and Marjorie looked after him in their home with the help of health care workers and family. He passed away in 1980 but they had celebrated forty-eight happy loving years together. Marjorie continued to be an independent person knowing Harold’s guidance and companionship followed her with treasured memories. In 2000 Marjorie joined Harold after a brief illness. Their love story ended too soon!