Bridging Generations

Ancestors and descendents of Joyce Verla Pratt and Mark Richard Berrett

Stella and Ezra

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Sheet music cover featuring Charles K. Harris

In 1891, Charles K. Harris – a well regarded American songwriter of popular music – published “After The Ball.” The song is a classic waltz, and the lyrics tell the story of why a older man never married.  He explained to his niece that he saw his sweetheart kissing another man at a ball, and he refused to listen to her explanation.  Many years later, after the woman had died, he discovered that the man in question was actually his sweetheart’s brother.  So sad!

“After the Ball” became the most successful song of its era, selling two million copies of sheet music in 1892.  Like many of the popular songs of that time, whose topics were frequently babies, separation, and death, it is a typical sentimental ballad that made a big impact on American citizens of that time.

As sweethearts in the early 1890s, it is possible that Ezra and Estella may have danced to this popular waltz during their courtship, perhaps thinking how lucky they were to not have had that kind of a misunderstanding.  I don’t know why the Widger family moved from New York to Michigan, but in 1890 they were living in Kingston, Michigan, the same little community where Ezra Roberts had grown up and still lived with his family.  Somehow, Ezra and Stella met, fell in love and were married on 22 June 1893 in Kingston.

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Marriage record of Ezra N. Roberts and Estella Widger – last entry

Ezra was 30 and Stella still several months short of her 19th birthday when they married, but in spite of the age difference, their marriage seems to have been a happy one.  They had 13 children over 20 years.  Wow!

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Ezra Nahum  and Estella Jane Widger Roberts

My Gram adored her parents and had many happy memories in spite of the fact that they were a very poor family.  In the weeks and days prior to her death from cancer, Gram often “talked” to her parents and at times would call out, “Mama, Papa, help me.”

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Stella and Ezra

 

To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root. Chinese Proverb

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