100 Years ago – Elizabeth Grace Darling – (1906-1987)

Today is a great day to remember Elizabeth Grace Darling, “Aunt Betty,” because today would be her 110th birthday if she were still living.  Betty is my wife’s great-aunt; the sister of my wife’s grandfather. I have written about my wife’s grandfather several times, See:
Robert Harry Darling (1907-1969)

Elizabeth Grace Darling – (1906-1987)

Elizabeth Grace Darling was born on March 22, 1906, in Pittsburgh, PA. Her mother died in 1913 and she went to live with her grandmother, Margaret Lamb McAllister. In 1915 there was a family issue that required Margaret to return to her native England.  So, in August, 1915, she took her two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Robert Harry, with her to England. Family oral history says she took the children to England so they could be “properly civilized.”
So, little Elizabeth would have spent her 10th birthday celebration in England, apparently in the Lakes Region, probably Appleby (Now Appleby-in-Westmorland), Cumbria, in North West England.
Elizabeth would have been hearing news about the war in Europe. The Russians were having success against the Germans in the north taking the Dneister Bridgehead and also defeating the Austrians in the south. She probably didn’t know that the US was fighting its own war. General Funston was asking for more troops to send into Mexico to assist General Pershing against Francisco Villa. This was really important because General Pershing telegraph communications had been cut off.[1]
Elizabeth Grace Darling Gwyer
c. 1939
Margaret and the two children remained in England until December of 1916 when they returned to the United States aboard the SS Philadelphia, then locating in the Mount Oliver area of Pittsburgh, PA. Their return was just in time.  Betty’s father, Rufus Harry Darling died just two weeks later, on 5 January 1917.
Later in January, 1917, Germany invited Mexico to join them as an ally against the United States. Germany said they would finance Mexico’s war to recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.[2] Mexico declined, but America was not pleased about Germany trying to bring the Great War to American soil.  The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.[3]
On 10 May 1927, Elizabeth married William Otis Gwyer.  They would later divorce.
On 11 October 1947, Elizabeth married Frank Howell Kemon in the chapel of Mount Vernon Methodist Church, Washington, DC with Rev. John Rustin officiating.[4]
Kemon – Glenwood Cemetery, Washington DC.
Betty Darling – Frank Howell
1906-1987 – 1906-1973
Elizabeth’s husband Frank Kemon died in 1973. In the 1980s, Aunt Betty came to live with her niece and family in Bridgton, Maine.
Elizabeth died on 10 June 1987 at her niece’s home in Bridgton. She was buried at Glenwood Cemetery, Section K, Lot 69, Site 2585 in Washington, DC next to her husband Frank Howell Kemon.[5]

ENDNOTES

[1] The Washington Post, Wednesday, March 22, 1916, Front Page via Newspapers.com
[2] Wikipedia – World War I – Entry of the United States
[4] Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 – The Washington Post, October 1947, Ancestry.com
[5] Find a Grave – Elizabeth Darling “Betty” Gwyer Kemon – Memorial# 133079409

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