Florence Mary Ann Eliza Hall was born on April 30 1898 at 122 Ernest Street, Stepney. She was always known as Mary (or in the family 'A. Mary' because that was how she signed her letters to her nieces an nephews, the 'A' being her abbreviation for Aunt/ie).
Mary's mother registered her birth on June 8. The certificate can be seen in images and on John Hall's profile, Hall-13769 created because he is given as the father but in fact we do not believe he existed at all, as all the evidence and some relatives reminiscences affirm that her father was in fact the recently widowed John Edward Reeves.
(It should be noted here that incest in Britain was not a criminal offence until 1908)
Some of the family concluded that this cleverly crafted birth certificate tells half truths to hide a case of incest, others claimed that they knew John Edward Reeves was in fact Mary's father and one of her sisters said that J.E.R. offered to pay Harry Hills to marry Sue 'to give Mary a name'.
Facts that point to this are the first name John. The fact that Mary's mother was known as Susan Hall Reeves, she was not married at the time of the birth, but she called herself Susan Hall formerly Reeves. The father's occupation is given as bootmaker which was the Reeves' family trade. The child has the names Mary Ann (the name of John Edward Reeves' mother) and Eliza (the name of Sue's mother). Mary was always very small about 4' 10" and weighing about 5 stone.
Mary was rather eccentric. When she got married she sent a telegram to her sister Sue telling her to come over in her best dress, without telling her the reason. She only told the rest of the family she was married after the event.
She married Luke Gage, a widower, on August 26 1927. Mary had previously been employed by Luke to help care for his sick wife who died and to act as housekeeper, which she continued to do after the death of the first Mrs Gage.
Luke lived in Empress Avenue, Wanstead and for some years after they married they continued to live there. At some stage they moved to Ventnor on the Isle of Weight, where they had a shop, but after the landslide they moved back to Jaywick where Luke owned some wooden bungalows that were let to holidaymakers in the summer. They lived in Jaywick until the floods of 1953 then they moved to Little Clacton where Luke died in 1956. Mary continued to live there enjoying her garden where she grew flowers and vegetables and kept hens. She had no children of her own but always had a succession of nieces and nephews staying with her in the summer holidays. She dove a car when she was young but by the time she lived in Little Clacton she cycled everywhere. She attended the Anglican Church and had many friends. As she got older her heart gave trouble and she was fitted with a pacemaker. Eventually she became unable to live alone and for the last few years of her life she lived in a nursing home in Hornchurch, near her brother Bill who assumed responsibility for her affairs. Mary died on April 27, 1989 and was cremated at Hornchurch after a funeral service conducted by the vicar of Little Clacton with whom she had left instructions for her funeral.
N.B. On her birth cert. Mary's DOB is given as April 30, but she always kept her birthday on April 24 and that is the date given on her death certificate. Likewise on her death cert. she is given as Mary Florence but on her birth cert. as Florence Mary Ann Eliza.
England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2007
Name: Mary Florence Gage
Birth Date: 24 Apr 1898
Date of Registration: Apr 1989
Age at Death: 91
Registration district: Havering
Inferred County: Essex
First-hand information as remembered by Christine Frost, Friday, August 22, 2014.
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