By Barb Hauge
When tracing family roots you learn fascinating and often startling facts. Some ancestors lived good and rewarding lives while others misbehaved in ways that are unbelievable.
Relatives stationed in England during World War I came upon ruins of The Great Castle of the Lovells. Cousin Mona Lovells husband, Colonel Oscar Czar Warner, toured the ruins acquired by the H.M. Office for restoration. Adjacent to The Castle was The Chartest Colony founded by Feargus OConner in the Hungry Forties (1840s) when the British working class started a campaign for Democratic Reform. Their Six Point Plan was eventually incorporated into British Law. However, the Lord Lovells were the privileged, titled class The Chartists had organized to oppose.
My mothers maternal grandfather, Francis Lord Lovell, originated in that Great Castle of the Lovells, but turned up at age 18 as a stowaway on Ship Shannon bound for America. He left England with a price on his head because hed spent a night playing chess (he said) with a Royal Princess.
Grandpa Francis (aka Frank) Lovell was quite a curmudgeon. During the Civil War Grandpa Lovell (who was rich) paid Grandpa Riley Crawford (who was not rich) to take his place as a soldier. While Riley Crawford was away, Lovell sired a child by Crawfords wife. When Grandpa Crawford returned from the War he reclaimed his family, including Lovells little girl, but never again did the neighbors speak. However, their children attended the same rural school where Grandpa Frank Crawford fell madly in love with my Grandma, Maude Lovell. Against family wishes they married and had two daughters. Mother was their first born.
The family stories about Grandpa Lovell are legion. He wouldnt put screens on windows because God made the flies, too. He was a real tyrant with his family and allowed no foolishness like curtains on the windows or even an outdoor toilet; they had to use the woods. He sired eight children by his own wife, but when Mother and her little sister were small he would not allow them to play on the floor for fear their long dresses might flip up and reveal their ankles.
From the Lovell family comes this ancient Ballad of the Bride: The Baron beheld, with a fathers pride, his beautiful daughter; young Lovells bride. While she, with her bright eyes seemed to be, the star of the goodly company. Im tired of dancing now, she cried. Here tarry a moment. Ill hide! Ill hide! And Lovell be sure thou art first to find the clue to my secret hiding mind. Away she ran and the search began; each tower to look and each nook to scan. Young Lovell he cried, Oh where dost though hide? Im lonely without thee, my Beautiful Bride!
They hunted that night. They hunted next day. They hunted while days and weeks passed away. The highest, the lowest, the loneliest spot; young Lovell sought wildly but found her not.
An old oak chest that had long laid his was found in The Castle; they raised the lid. A skeleton form lay moldering there in the bridal dress of that lady fair. Oh sad her fate when in sportive jest she hid from her Lord in the old oak chest. It closed with a spring and a dreadful doom and the Bride lay clasped in a Living Tomb.