Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Pauline Elizabeth (Thomas) Taylor
b.1907 -d.1984, South Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island
     When I was growing up, this photo always sat high in a frame on a shelf in my grandparents living room. As a child I remember wondering what was she looking at and why wasn't she smiling. I guess that's the innocence of a child taught to look ahead and say "CHEESE" in every picture. Pauline was my maternal grandma's mother, my gr-grandma. I never got  the opportunity to meet her, and would hear very little about her growing up. I just knew she was Indian, had died, and use to live in Rhode Island. Luckily, when I was much older, I would sit and talk with my grandma for what felt like hours as she told me stories of her childhood, her parents & family.
     I would learn that Pauline, like my Grandma, was the First Born.   Pauline had nine siblings, and my grandma had aunts & uncles around her age and a little older to play with as a child.  She would marry Patrick Taylor sometime between 1926- 1927 according to the 1930 US Census. She moved from South Kingston to Narragansett where they would have four children- all girls- in their short lived union before divorcing some time between 1930-1935. I found them both in the 1935 Rhode Island Census already divorced and living apart. 
     According to the 1940 US Census,  Pauline became a servant.  This shouldn't of been surprising since my grandma told me her mother was a cook and did laundry for white folks. Something about seeing the word Servant made me feel some kind of way.  Good or bad, I do not know...I think it just gives me more questions.  I have yet to find Patrick in 1940. I wonder if he helped support the children he left behind during that time? I know my grandma was fond of him, and they had a relationship when she was older so I don't think he was a deadbeat, but I wonder how their lives changed after the divorce, being it was around the time of The Great Depression.
     Pauline and her 4 daughter between the ages of 6-11, moved back to South Kingston, RI and were living next door to Pauline's family. Her aunt lived on one side and her father, Albert Thomas,  and many of her younger siblings on the other.  These were the aunts & uncles my grandma spoke of when she told me stories of her childhood.  What she didn't tell me was that her grandmother, (Albert's wife) Mary Jane had passed away a few years earlier in 1937, her youngest child only 7  years old at the time.
     It gives me comfort to know the family stayed close together during what must have been a rough decade with divorce, death, and life during The Great Depression in general. Pauline must have been a strong, loving woman as she raised my granny aka "Queen Ann" to be just that. So I no longer wonder why she didn't smile in this picture. There's a story behind that look and whatever it is must not have been too bad because I found later pics of her smiling and enjoying life in all her glory.

At Aunt Betty's Wedding
Probably 1950's

Left: Queen Ann
Right: Pauline
Probably 1952
The Narragansett Times
Thursday, August 11, 1983


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