In my post on Joseph and Pamela Gates of a few weeks ago (here), I mentioned finding a trove of Gates family photos (here) to be discussed as time went on. Time has gone on, and the time has come to feature this photo of Sarah Frances Rumsey, thereby knitting her and her mother, Amy Angell Rumsey Dana, into the family story: two women who were very important characters in the lives of John Cook Gates and his children, John Howard and Fanny Gates.
Readers will remember from my post on John Cook Gates and Adelia St. John (here) that they were the parents of Fanny and John Howard … what I didn’t mention there was that Adelia died at a tragically young age! She died in 1874 just before her 33rd birthday, when little Fanny was not quite 2 and John wasn’t much older than 8. Their poor dad must have had quite a struggle there for awhile, but three years later, he found a new wife and stepmother for his children, a friend of Adelia’s actually: Sarah Frances Rumsey. The two wed on May 17, 1877. They didn’t have any children of their own, but it seems that they adopted a daughter named Helen in 1892, who shows up in their household in the 1900 census.
Story has it that Sarah was the stereotypical strict stepmother; Margaret says that when GG became a grandmother, she wanted to be called GG, rather than be another “Grandmother Gates”: e.g. like the one her own children had (Sarah Frances)! But it was a grandmother who turned out to be a silver lining–an angel of sorts–for Fanny and John Howard (future husband of GG), in the form of Sarah’s mother, Amy Angell Rumsey Dana, who joined the household at some point — she’s listed as a part of it in the 1880 census (below). Story has it that Grandmother Dana was very warm and motherly and much loved, and it may be for that reason, not to mention the delightfulness of her name, that she has two namesakes among the Rust kids, Martha Dana and Amy Angell, who are her step great, great, great grandchildren.
All of which ties up some loose ends but raises another question: was Amy Angell also twice married? Her daughter Sarah’s maiden name was Rumsey, a name that Amy also has … whence the Dana?