1912: Wedding bells for Albert and Annie (Miller) Charboneau

Sepia Saturday 529Seventh in a series about Albert Barney Charboneau — my paternal grandfather’s brother who died in the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.

Albert Barney Charboneau circa 1910. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Within four years of his 1908 arrival in Dolgeville, Herkimer County, N.Y., my dad’s Uncle Albert was embarking on a promising future — in his career, his personal life and his community.

According to Albert’s listing in the 1912 Dolgeville city directory, he was boarding at his parents’ home at 49 South Main Street not far from the Dolge Factory Complex.

Promoted to lumber foreman

However, the directory also indicates Albert had been promoted and was working as a foreman at Breckwoldt’s lumber — an increase in responsibility over his earlier lumber job as a planer in a sounding board factory.

Albert and Will Charboneau in 1912 Dolgeville, N.Y. City Directory 
Name Job Firm Home Address
Albert Charboneau Foreman Breckwoldt’s Boards 49 S. Main
William H. Charboneau Engineer House 49 S. Main

According to Eleanor Franz in her book Dolge1the lumber firm where Albert worked was founded by Julius Breckwoldt — a Danish immigrant born in Schleiswig-Holstein.

He was making piano moldings in New York City when Alfred Dolge convinced him to move Dolgeville to operate the Dolge piano factory’s lumber department. 2

By the time Uncle Albert worked there, Breckwoldt had spun off the operation — which produced piano sounding boards, moldings and cases — into a separate industry.3

A man of independent means

As satisfying as Uncle Albert’s career must have been, his new earning power probably meant even more for his personal life. Because now he could afford to propose to the love of his life — Annie E. Miller, also a factory worker — and they could begin their married life together.

Albert B. and Annie E. (Miller) Charboneau circa 1912. I love this photo of Albert and Annie — they look so young, industrious and optimistic as they embark on their life together. Scan by Molly Charboneau

When I began researching the Charboneau family in the 1990s, my dad and I made a trip to Dolgeville for a look around his birthplace — and to see what records we could find. One of our discoveries was the record (below) of Albert and Annie’s marriage in Dolgeville, N.Y., on 28 August 1912.

Marriage record of Albert B. and Annie E. (Miller) Charboneau in Dolgeville, N.Y. on 28 Aug. 1912. Scan by Molly Charboneau

I have not been able to find a newspaper announcement about their wedding — which might have described the ceremony — so I am glad to have this document to fill in some of the details.

Albert and Annie: A unique marriage

Albert and Annie’s ceremony was conducted by Robert Jones, a clergyman. Albert’s witness was his younger brother Orville Nile Charboneau (who everyone called Tom, though my dad never knew why). Annie’s witness was Lucy M. Bidgood — possibly a friend.

They were both 27 years old when they married. So they did not follow the then-typical pattern of the husband being slightly older than the wife. And their ages were also higher than the estimated median age of first marriage at the time — which in 1910 was age 25.1 for men and age 21.6 for women.

Which makes me wonder: Did Annie and Albert delay marriage because they were each working and trying to establish themselves? Did the fact that they were the same age and both employed outside the home signal a more egalitarian partnership?

Recent immigrant heritage

I have previously discussed that Albert had immigrant paternal grandparents (Laurent Charbonneau from Quebec and his wife Ursula Zinsk from Switzerland). From their marriage record we learn that Annie’s parents were immigrants from Scotland. So Albert, born in Forestport, and Annie, born in Dolgeville, shared relatively recent immigration in their respective families.

And by 1914, when Albert next appeared in the Dolgeville city directory, he and Annie had set up their own household at 42 State Street — a bit removed from downtown, but still an easy walk to the Dolge factory complex.

They were still living there when the 1915 New York State census4was taken (indexed as Charaboncan). Both were age 32 and still at work — Albert in the sounding board factory and Annie continuing her job as a felt shoe stitcher even after their marriage.

More on this in the next post. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

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10 thoughts on “1912: Wedding bells for Albert and Annie (Miller) Charboneau”

  1. Love this photo! Albert resembles a young Teddy Roosevelt in this photograph. Great story.

  2. I laughed at Albert calling his younger brother, Orville Nile, “Tom”. My grandfather’s name was Ira Edwin, but my grandmother decided he looked like a “Jim” and that’s how he was referred to from that point on. Their son was Ira Edwin the 2nd, and he, also, was called “Jim” or “Jimmy”. I always knew him as my Uncle Jim until I was older & began researching my ancestry.

    1. Great story about your grandfather’s name. I would love to know the story behind Orville’s “Tom” nickname — but alas, my dad was the youngest in his family so not privy to those inside stories.

  3. That’s a fine portrait of Albert and Annie. It seems more modern in style than earlier wedding photos, with a balanced, almost equal, framing of the couple. Your question about their late marriage seems a difficult one to answer without letters or family stories. In our time, education or career could be reasons, but in 1912 it may have been family traditions or finances.

    1. I suspect it may also have been opportunity. They didn’t meet until Albert moved to Dolgeville — and he was already in his twenties by then.

  4. Great post about your ancestor’s wedding and marriage. So many questions about their relationship. Any theories?

    1. I have a feeling they may have been on a more equal footing, both being the same age and out in the work world, too. But hard to know without family stories to back up the theory.

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