Annie Blagdon Fairbanks was the sister of my 3x-great-grandmother Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks. She lived in Dartmouth, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was never married and never had any children. When my grandmother died in 1856 at the age of only 32, Annie moved in with my grandfather and helped him take care of his five surviving children.
My cousin Catherine has shared with me a signed copy of a poem written by Annie the 25th of November, 1878 on the occasion of the arrival in Halifax of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta and her husband the Marquis of Lorne. Princess Louise was the daughter of Queen Victoria of Britain and her husband Prince Albert. The Marquis had been appointed as Governor General of Canada.
The couple arrived in Halifax on 23 Nov 1878, so the poem was written two days later. More information on the couple’s Canadian years can be found here.
THE MAYFLOWER’S WELCOME Welcome! Welcome! loving welcome to our rock- bound shore, Twice two million hearts behind it, welcome holds in store; We have longed to greet thy coming, with our sun- niest skies, But our welcome gloeth warmly, tho’ ‘neath frost it lies. Daughter of a race of kings, Chieftain, round whose lineage clings, All that doth a name enhance Of glory mingled with romance. With one pulse our whole Dominion beats through- out to-day, In the universal gladness, little discords pass away; For the Princess who is coming home to us across the sea, Has been trusted to our keeping – and a loyal race are we. The Denizens of wood and wild Have welcome for her Mother’s child – Mayflowers drooped when Dufferin fled, For Lorne they raise a smiling head. Near the Thistle and the Rose, so lovingly en- twined; Blushingly the Mayflowers ask, that they a place may find. For their welcome is so earnest, and their love so deep and true, None among the mighty nations, bear a warmer heart to you. North and South –we come to greet thee! East and West – are here to meet thee! Watching as those who watch for morn, For our sweet lady, and for Lorne. May the home with us be happy. We will guard it well; Love will nerve the strong right arms, that in our country dwell From Ocean unto Ocean, again we cry once more, A glad right royal welcome to the Canadian Shore. For earthly good and Heaven’s care, Most fervently we offer prayer; Hear us, oh God! and truly bless The Lord of Lorne and our Princess. Dartmouth, 25th Nov., 1878. A. B. F.
Note from Catherine: At age 33, the Marquess of Lorne became the fourth Governor General of Canada 25 of November 1878. His wife was Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Senate/Heraldic/Lorne-e.html