June is for Brides

On 6 June 1888, Anna Gertrude Carpenter married Isaac Wellington Carpenter (22 June 1849 – 13 October 1933), a farmer at Wickham and the son of Rev. Thomas W. Carpenter (1818-1906) and Elizabeth Slipp.  Similar to Lady Tilley, Gertrude was also a second wife and also married a politician.  Known as Gertey in her youth, Anna Gertrude Carpenter was born about 1860, the daughter of Charles and Clarissa Carpenter, Queenstown, and had at least two siblings, a sister Ida and a brother Arthur. Isaac Carpenter served on the County Council for several years, served on the Deacon’s Board of the Baptist Church for forty years, was a strong advocate of Temperance and was elected to the Provincial Legislature as Liberal in an 1896 by-election.  Isaac Carpenter won two more elections but was defeated in 1908 and again in 1912.

Along with having three children of her own with Isaac Carpenter,  Arnold Bertram (19 July 1889 – 1 March 1950), George Browne (born 26 May 1891) and Grace Elizabeth (born 10 September 1905), Gertrude also raised Isaac’s son, Arthur Gladstone (1884 – 7 June 1964), from his first marriage to Ida Edith Worden (c. 1861 – 2 April 1887), the daughter of Gabriel Worden, Lower Kars, Kings County.  Arthur and George went west, Arnold stayed at home and farmed, and daughter Grace became a teacher.  Gertrude Carpenter died 25 June 1937.

Gertrude Carpenter Ball Gown

Gertrude Carpenter Ball Gown. Gift of Mrs. Isaac Carpenter, 1974

Gertrude’s black silk and lace dress shows that the women of rural Queens County were not strangers to the latest fashions.  The handmade gown dates to about 1910.  By 1910 women had shaken off the restrictions of Victoriana with looser fitting gowns, simpler decorations and higher waists giving a much more modern silhouette.

The simplicity of the exterior, however, belies the complexity of the dress construction with dozens of hooks and eyes on the interior and elaborate seams to provide the “new look”.  This gown was purportedly worn to a Provincial Ball while her husband was active in politics.

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