2/2/22 – Mary’s 222 Birthday

February 2, 2022 at 11:43 am (diaries, estates, history, jane austen, postal history, research, World of Two Teens) (, , , , , )


I simply could not let today pass without a passing nod at my first diarist, Mary Gosling — also know here as Lady Smith (following her 1826 marriage to Sir Charles Joshua Smith, baronet).

There could be NO harder name to “search” or “research” than a couple called Charles and Mary Smith!

And yet, the research has been GOLDEN.

I first found Mary’s earliest diary – a set of six trips taken between 1814 and 1824 – in 2006, when I was wishing to note down “authentic” sightings of the Ladies of Llangollen, Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler. I had visited their northern Wales home, Plas Newydd, in 2005. Mary Gosling met them! And she left her impressions of them. Well… less her impressions than notes of what others always said of them. I was QUITE disappointed, especially in the brevity of her thoughts — for, within a page, the family had DEPARTED Llangollen!

BUT: Mary herself began to intrigue me. Mainly, because the family members were shown around Plas Newydd and they spent about four hours with the Ladies, in their home. THAT one premise began EVERYTHING that has gone on since — from all the research into the Smiths of Suttons, as well as my interest in the Ladies of Llangollen themselves.

The results of all this early research:

  • Two Teens in the Time of Austen – this blog, so named because Mary’s sister-in-law, Emma Smith, my second diarist, married James Edward Austen. And Edward was the nephew of writer Jane Austen.
  • Ladies of Llangollen – a blog whose information, based on a website I created circa 2006, still needs additional work, but it currently hosts interesting artwork, book excerpts, and information on people who visited Plas Newydd — the GOSLINGS included — during the tenancy of Ponsonby and Butler, as well as after.

The Smiths took over my life – buried me under diaries and stacks of letters, stocked my brain with tidbits of personal and national (England) history, squinted my eyes in deciphering a myriad of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century “hands,” and made me spend my money and my time (not sure WHICH is more costly, in the end), in a never-ending pursuit after more knowledge. The nosing-around their lives has made and still makes me HAPPY.

by Frenchie (Photobucket)

With that thought, I wish Mary Gosling the HAPPIEST 222nd Anniversary of her 2 February 1800 birth. She graced the earth for only 42 years, leaving three youthful children, whose faint faces I have now unearthed. And she opened the door for a true glimpse into the past.

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