Secret Lovers

Sarah Gregory (seated left) and B. Goodell – May 1, 1863

Sarah Jane “Jennie” Gregory first said  “I do” when she was 64 years old.  She wed Theodore A. Collier, 62, in Pontiac, Michigan, on February 27, 1912.  It was his first trip to the altar, as well.  As strange as this late-in-life marriage may seem, what makes it all the more interesting is that the two lived together for 41 years before saying “I do!”

Jennie, working as a servant and housekeeper, moved into Theodore’s home in 1871, when the two were in their early twenties.  He was working the family farm and supporting his mother, Eliza, and his divorced sister, Isadore.

Were Jennie and Theo lovers all those years?  If so, what stopped them from marrying sooner?  Did Theo’s family disapprove?  Theo’s mother died in 1890.  His sister continued living with him until her death in 1907.  If family strain prevented the nuptials, it seems unlikely Theo and Jennie would have waited five years after Isadore’s passing to tie the knot.  Is it possible they had unspoken, romantic feelings for each other, only to become brave enough to profess their love when they were older?  Or, I suppose it could have been a marriage of convenience, either financial or otherwise.  But, I do hope my first theory is the correct one.

Jennie died on December 10, 1917, and Theo married once more to Sadie (nee Owen) Newell in 1919.

Census records
Michigan death records
Michigan marriage records
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Oakland County Michigan, 1903
History of Oakland County, Michigan; A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests, Volume 2, by Thaddeus De Witt Seely, 1912

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