Bessie, wife of J.H. Henderson, was a woman it seems with little history other than this beautiful tribute given in her memory at St Mary’s Church in Tenby, Wales. Like many places of worship in the UK, there has been a church at this location in some form as far back as Norman times although the oldest part of this structure is only as old as the 13th century.
You may laugh when I tell you that I spent at least six hours trying to discover more about the woman who inspired the memorial above. I wanted to know what type of duty she did, ‘ Nobly, and Faithfully.’
I was disappointed to find little information about her, right down to not being 100 percent sure I’d discovered her true given name. I found evidence of a son who died at 38 in wartime France in 1917, but as hard as I searched I could not find much more than that.
I’m usually very good at this type of detective work and while I located loads of family, Bessie, Betsey A, or Betsy, never seemed to be around at census time and with no marriage license it was hard for me to confirm some of what I found.
She showed up in documents twice during her childhood, but only once during her adult years and even then, she was with her in-laws on the day of the census. While her plaque identifies her as Bessie of Red House, in the two census reports that occurred during the time she and her husband were living at Red House, only John Henderson, her husband, made the census report.
All of the dead ends today made me think about what someone might be able to discover about me 92 years from now. I think I’ve made it pretty easy having written and published 470 posts (a combination of this blog site and my first GOTJ) so even if I don’t get to say everything I’d like to before I die, I will have left enough for someone to have a pretty good idea who I actually was in this life.
While standing close to the memorial, I snapped a few photos quietly, respectfully, and without flash, just like I always do when I’m visiting a church and then I snuck the two pictures you see here. I never moved from my location and was a fair distance away so I don’t think woman I was trying to photograph noticed me at all.
I didn’t linger after taking the photo as I didn’t want to disturb her, but I wondered then as I still do now, who she might be remembering with her candle.
Nobly And Faithfully, She did Her Duty
How about you … do you have any idea of how you might want to be remembered ?