Annie Lillie Clark – Braids, Curls and Streets of Gold


AnnieLillieClarkAt age 7, my great-grandmother Lillie and her dear 10 year old sister Clara were close, living a happy life together with their hardworking, loving parents and family. “Mother always took pride in our hair,” she wrote. They wore tight braids to bed on Saturday, and went to Sunday School in lovely curls. One day, Lillie learned that Clara would be the first of the family to go to America. Tears prompted her father to borrow money so the two would not be separated. In spring of 1883, they traveled with a missionary from her little village to Liverpool by train, by steamship to America, and by train to Salt Lake City, homesick for family, motherly care, bread and butter (scrape), bread pudding with sugar and raisins, cheese and watercress, and Sunday walks up the green. On arrival they found mosquitoes and a hot rail yard, not streets paved with gold, but they were cared for by their aunts including a hot bath and their hair combed out. Being daughters of shoe makers, they literally stood out, the boys pointing at the “stogies” (stout coarse shoes) on their feet. Lillie was often frightened at night. She learned to sew, attended summer school, and Sunday School. They missed their parents and siblings. A whole year after arrival, word came that father would come, but alone since a new baby required mother, brother and sisters to come later. She missed them all. “One day, Lillie was playing in the kitchen and a large rubber ball with colored pictures rolled across the floor. She looked up to see where it had come from and saw her dear father. She sprang into his arms and tears of gratitude rolled down her cheeks.” (By Kenneth Richard Hardman, adapted from William Wallace & Annie Lillie Clark Walker Book of Remembrance: Their Life, Their Family and Their Story, 1985, compiled by Dorothy Hardman with excerpts from Lillie’s autobiography. Photo from family archives)

About Kenneth Richard Hardman

AncestorClips are very short stories about very real people. Each clip nurtures awareness of a time, a place, and the character of a man or woman who cultivated a path for our life. The reader feels the good, the obstacles, the happiness, the sadness, and the overcoming. They cheer us, make us resilient when challenged, give us purpose, and connect us to our multi-generational family. Each story is followed by reflections from the author and readers sharing how the story strengthened or inspired them. Ken Hardman is a son, a brother, a grandson, a great-grandson… He is also a husband, father and grand-father. Ken is a professional engineer, engineering mentor, technical writer, and associate technical fellow at a major aerospace company. He is a writer of engineering and family history stories. Please join Ken in reading, reflecting upon, or writing #AncestorClips
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