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In the 1861 census, Pirney’s household includes, besides his wife Ann, 22, two “Eliza” Elsons, aged 19 and 25. The older would be the Eliza that was to marry Pirney’s brother Robert and the younger would be youngest sister Elizabeth, or “Lizzie”. The ages given in the census, however, do not correspond with those from other sources. When Robert married Eliza and took her to far-off California, sister Elizabeth tagged along. A certain exasperation with Lizzie is evident in some of Robert’s letters:
31 Mar 1872—“. . . Now I am on famely Matters, I’ll ease My self a little; it is so selfish to hoard up and keep to one self all the plesanteraies that occur in one famely that I cannot help Make ing you a partaker in some of mine. last sunday there was ten Miles from here a Meeting to arrange how we should procead to gather cattle this year, that is, at my Neighbors house—an old batchelor of the Jewish perswation. there would be about a dozen Men and No females. the day before I ask Lizzie to go with Me, it being her turn to ride out—her and Elize going every other sunday. well, appon reflection I would have to stay two or three hours and it would Not be pleasant for her. Not that it would effect hear health, but it [?More] her Mental faculties when she would see the struggles Made by three four different candidates for favours, which are only granted to one without she could divide herself into so many different parts as would suiet the Gentlemen. but Lizzie, like all young ladyies, when the time and the Gentlemen come, will struggle to divide herself into as Many parts as is agreeable to all parties conserned. Well, to day I ask Lizzie to go and ride instead of last Sunday. No, she would not go Nor take care of the Baby whilst Elize went out, so it has been Clowdie all day with some threats of a storm. but I got to rest and write this letter without putting a picture in it of the dog in the Manger. there is none of that perswasion on earth now adays. that dog lived in anticent times in a fable.1“Lizzie and Elize send there kind love to all.”2
After Eliza Flint’s death in July 1877, Lizzie apparently stayed on. In an 18 Apr 1878 letter to Pirney written while traveling to Baja California for more cattle, Robert says:“. . . Lizzie promised to write when I left; I hope she will. . . .”
23 Feb 1879—“. . . Charlotte say her two Aunts Give Lizzie fits because she done Nothing for the children. She has done as Much for them as She has done for herself. Inertia can Stand Stand [sic] any amount of fits, and I fear she has a first class chance to realize it. all is well that ends well. . . .”3
On 28 Nov 1878 Lizzie had married Walter Lewis, an Englishman who operated the neighboring El Camate Ranch.4 They were married at the rectory of St Paul’s Anglican Church, London, ON. The 1900 census lists four daughters and 3 sons. In 1908 one of the daughters, Jane, married Henry Wreden Jr (1878–1941), son of the German who had bought Rancho San Juan from Robert Flint’s son Rob Flint in 1898.5 So some of her descendants continued to be involved with her brother-in-law’s former ranch.
1 The dog in the manger occupied the feedbox in the barn, thus preventing the other animals from feeding. The story is used as an allegory for anyone who causes problems for others without gaining any benefit themself. The story is attributed to the Greek writer Aesop, but it was not among his ancient stories; it was probably added by someone unknown in the middle ages.
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4 Ontario,Canada. Registrations of Marriages, 1869–1928. MS932, Reel 27. Archives of Ontario, Toronto; Ohles (1997), p 256–257. Search my site? site search by freefind