I picked up this circa 1915 photograph in Holland, Michigan. Miss Charlotte Hunt and Miss Nellie Damon lived just a few doors apart on Pequot Street in New London, Connecticut. Charlotte, born on New Year’s Day 1901, was about one year older than Nellie. If we speculate that the author of the writing on the reverse identified the girls left to right as they appear in the photo this would mean that Charlotte is on the left.
About 1925 Charlotte and Nellie both took husbands. Charlotte wed Carl Allen, an electrician, and Nellie married Ernest J. Murphy, a machinist.
Charlotte and Carl had four sons; David, Donald, Richard, and Robert. It’s not often that I’ve come across a married woman, especially with small children, listed on a census as working outside the home. This is why I found it interesting that in 1940 when Charlotte’s youngest son was four years old she was working as a school teacher.
I was immediately excited that Charlotte had broken free of the expectations society placed on mothers to stay at home. Then I realized that I don’t know if she was teaching because she enjoyed it or if she was working due to financial hardships. Let’s hope it was the former.
It seems that Nellie and Ernest had a rocky relationship. After five years of marriage, the couple lived apart for a few years but reconciled about 1931 before splitting for good in 1934. Nellie worked various office jobs, including stenographer and bookkeeper, but eventually settled into a career as a social worker. She took another shot at love in 1945 and married Wellesley Hanney, owner of Hanney Chevrolet. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Nellie found marital bliss with her second husband.
Charlotte lived to be 82 years old. I wasn’t able to find a burial or cremation record for her or her husband. Nellie passed in 1976 and is buried beside Wellesley in Waterford.
New London City Directory
Connecticut death records
Find a Grave