By LornaL

Lorna's parents' marriage licence

Lorna’s parents were quite advanced in their years for a first marriage in 1910. At the time her father was 28 and her mother 34. It is also rather surprising that they should get married in Florida. There are two theories to account for a wedding so far away from home.

The first theory concerns Lorna’s Uncle Beaumont (Topsie’s youngest brother) and his son Maurice (Lorna’s cousin and Topsie’s nephew). In 1905, 19 year old Beaumont married a 17 year old actress, most likely without the knowledge of his family. Very soon afterwards, a child was born to the young couple. The marriage didn’t last. Three years later in 1907 Beaumont was petitioning his wife for divorce on the grounds of adultery. In summer 1909 after the divorce was finalised (on10th May) Beaumont left England to live in Canada. The story goes that Topsie took her 5 year old nephew to Canada in 1910, hoping to persuade her brother to take responsibility for his son. This mission failed (like father, like son?). Topsie (and her nephew) then travelled on to Florida for the wedding, first by crossing the Canadian-US border into Dakota.

The second theory is that Lorna’s parents eloped to the US because Topsie was pregnant. At some point on the trip they were involved in a boating accident/shipwreck (take your pick) and Topsie lost the baby.

There are holes in both these stories. For example, the first one doesn’t explain Lorna’s father’s presence in the US. In respect of the second, an elopement to the US seems a bit over the top - wouldn’t Gretna Green have been an easier option?

**Updated 13th June 2020: it looks like the first theory is the right one.**

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