Mary Sophia Caroline Wheeler

Female 1847 - 1912  (64 years)

  • Name Mary Sophia Caroline Wheeler 
    Born 04 Apr 1847  Leicester, LEI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 21 Jan 1912  Les Ombrages, Meylan, Isère Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I760  CATH UK
    Last Modified 21 Mar 2016 

    Father Thomas Henry Wheeler,   b. 26 Jun 1815, Worcester Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 Mar 1872, Worcester [GRO 6c 194] Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Sophia Walter,   b. 27 Jul 1820, twin/Worcester, WOR Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Dec 1847, Leicester, LEI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 27 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Married 15 Feb 1843  St Martin's Church, Worcester Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • He was Thomas Wheeler, born 1816, one of an interminable family of Wheelers who lived in Worcester. He was an auctioneer. And he died, I eventually discovered, at the ripe old age of fifty-six. And when Auntie Wee was no longer there to tell the story, we heard another version: that he preferred to sit back, rather than try to earn again, and use his first wife's money, intended for her daughters, to raise ten more children.
      His first marriage was to Sophia Walter, whose twin sister was Louisa, and of this far far away grandmother the only thing we certainly know is how much she loved her mama, for in Her Book -a sort of autograph album, the only thing we have of hers - is this excruciating poem ....

      The Bride's Farewell
      Mother I quit thy pious care, the thoughtful maiden said,
      And I am his, the stranger's now, Till numbered with the dead.
      Oh! He has sworn to cherish me and smooth my path of life.
      And Mother, I must leave thee now to be the stranger's wife.
      'Tis even so, my youth has passed, so jocund and so free
      I mourned in spirit to believe I might be torn from thee.
      Yet now, my Mother, willingly, I quit thy side
      And turn to him who leads me forth, a trembling tearful bride.
      It may be he will never cheer my youth as thou has done
      It may be he will alight at last the being he has won,
      But I am his, the stranger's now, and I am thine no more
      And I must onwards on my path as thou has done before.
      It may be he will cherish one who leaves her home of rest
      To solace him, the one beloved, and she may yet be blessed;
      I may not think - emotions rise which I must strive to quell,
      Another pang and it is o'er - embrace me - and farewell.

      It reduces me to tears as still comes through the spirit of someone tremulous, young, hopeful, and very much beloved. She died, aged twenty-seven, of influenza when my grandmother Mary was a few months old and Auntie Wee not yet two years.
    Family ID F244  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Gustave Girardot,   b. 11 Aug 1844, 122 rue St Denis, 6eme arrond. Paris at 18h00 [cert] Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 03 Jul 1909, Les Ombrages, Meylan, Isère at 18h00 [cert] Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years) 
    Married 27 Oct 1872  Register Office, Worcester, witnessed by Walter H. & Louisa E. Wheeler [Marr. Cert.] Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • When Gustave Girardot married Mary Wheeler he was working in Paris, he declared he could never live elsewhere, and would never touch the glove trade, which was then - with long white kid gloves de rigeur - a most flourishing Anglo French business. Within a month he had accepted a position as Morley's French representative in Grenoble and they moved to a large flat there where their daughters were born, Elise in 1873, Jenny in 1875. And there Elise died of meningitis in the December of her fifth year. Exactly thirty seven years later Mary wrote to her daughter Jenny, "I do know what you mean - the eyes do not cry but the heart cries all the time."
      Under her crying heart she carried Henri, who was born in October 1878, and was never expected to live. Maurice arrived in July 1881 when they were out of town for the summer, and it was so hot the nurse immediately carried him into the garden. Mother's (Jenny's) earliest memories were of the summers away from the heat of Grenoble in a farmhouse in the mountains, where Henri fell into the piece d'eau, where rats were gigantic, thudding through the attics at night, and where the mountain storms were so spectacular and la mère Rose told them thunder was le bon Dieu qui joue aux boules. They loved the farmhouse holidaying but it came to an end when the family moved from Grenoble to La Tronche, seven kilometres out, and bought Les Ombrages from an Englishman, John Andrew Hawke, also with Morley's.
      Mr Hawke moved his wife, three young sons and daughter up the mountain to Mont Fleuri. From the garden of Les Ombrages Jenny was later to focus binoculars on the garden at Mont Fleuri to spy out if John Hawke junior was at home.
      Les Ombrages was a tall square house in a large garden of fine trees - John Hawke had planted an avenue running north south. Gustave Girardot added a line of chestnuts east west, grass was in the French manner, harvested by farmers; shrubberies, roses, la terrace, le potager, la poulailler - and the mountains: Champ Russe where the sun set, Casque de Nero...The words bring back a magic that I only tasted second hand and know as though it had been my home, my childhood. My Grannie created it, "with comeliness and kindness shone the whole house for they first were radiant in her soul", so said George Herbert of his mother and just so was it for Les Ombrages.
      It was not, after all, a "little interior" that Gustave gave her. It was a beautiful home, and there they kept open house for all the English colony, which was considerable. Grenoble was prosperous and important in the business world. When I went over the leather factories in the 1920's they were half empty, gloves were out of fashion, and anyway the mountain chamois had not survived the demands of the days of my grandfathers. Late nineteenth century, everything flourished.
      English Mary at La Tronche took on the church (Protestants say Le Temple) and the parish, as her heart, conscience, energy and ability decreed. At Elise's birth she was so new to France she "tu-toi-ed" the doctor, but by the time Elise's short life had ended she was lecturing Mesdames' good works guilds in fluent French. Nothing suggests that she was ever homesick for England. I believe she lifted up her eyes unto the Alps and adored. Certainly her children did. They adored her first and beyond her their mountains.
     1. Jenny Louisa Girardot,   b. 15 Jun 1875, Montfleury, Grenoble, FRA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Feb 1952, Croydon, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years)  [Natural]
    Last Modified 21 Mar 2016 
    Family ID F242  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart