Sentimental Sunday: “…Wise unto Salvation”

Inscription in Bible by Catherine O’Grady Perrotin to her grandson, Edward Bennett, 1893
Cover of Bible given by my great-great-grandmother, Catherine (O’Grady) Perrotin to Edward Bennett, eldest child of María Dolores Perrotin and Timothy Bennett.  It has been passed down to my cousin, Dorothy (Meek) Stephens, daughter of Jane Bennett, Edward’s sister and the youngest child of Maria Dolores and Timothy Bennett.
Edward also was François and Catherine Perrotin’s first grandchild. He was born in Orizaba, Veracruz, on October 21, 1891, just a few months after François’ death. His birth must have been a comfort and source of joy to Catherine, who was grieving for her beloved husband.

The inscription reads:

Edward W. Bennett
by his Grandmother
Catherine with Love
Search the Scripture
which is able to
make you wise
unto Salvation.

The date of the inscription indicates that Catherine sent this to Edward, now in Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England, with his parents, from her own home in Orizaba, Mexico. Two years later, she left Mexico forever to join María Dolores, Tim, and their family in Ruardean. Surely Edward and his brothers and sisters enjoyed the blessing of their sweet and loving grandmother Catherine.  As she was now widowed, the children must have been blessings and great comfort to her.

Graveyard at Saint John the Baptist Church (also known as Ruardean Church). The family graves are located just behind the church, long with quite a few graves of the Bennett family, many of whom lived in the area. The graves at center are those of Timothy and Maria Dolores (Perrotin) Bennett (rectangular grave at front) and Catherine (O’Grady) Perrotin and two of her grandchildren, Edward and Mary Clements Bennett (rear). Rose Marie Bruton, the widow of Catherine’s great-grandson, Leonard Fisher, still lives in Ruardean Woodside and regularly brings flowers to the grave.
Edward Bennett died in Ruardean on June 3, 1899.  He was only eight years old.   Catherine is buried with him and his younger sister, Mary Clements Bennett, who died at two-and-a-half years old in 1895.
The marker on the left side of the grave reads, “Catherine Perrotin  1840 – 1901”
The marker in the center (front) of the grave reads, “Edward Bennett 1891 – 1899.”  The marker on the right of the grave reads,
“Mary Clements Bennett 1892 – 1895.”

At the invitation of our English Bennett cousins, my husband and I traveled to Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean in August 2011.  We visited Ruardean a couple of times with Jennie and Don Murray and Dorothy, Bob, Tim, and Peter Stephens, who graciously endured our endless questions and my non-stop photography.  We also met new Bennett cousins:  Eileen, Linda, Susanne, Pearl, Marlene, Rebecca, and Joanne, among others.  It was such a wonderful feeling to know there were so many of this branch of our family when at one time we thought there were none.

Rear view of Saint John the Baptist Church, Ruardean, Gloucestershire

It is one thing to see a picture of where your ancestors are buried.  It is another thing altogether to stand next to the graves and touch them, knowing they worshipped at this church and walked the grounds at one time, that their remains are there now, and that generations of descendants like Rose Bruton (Jennie’s mother) and Jennie and Dorothy have tended them and visited them over the years.  It overwhelms the senses.

I felt incredibly close to my great-great-grandmother Catherine at that moment and still do.  The love of this family truly endures.  I feel so blessed – and grateful – to be a part of it.

Copyright ©  2012  Linda Huesca Tully

4 Thoughts to “Sentimental Sunday: “…Wise unto Salvation”

  1. I love your comment "It is one thing to see a picture of where your ancestors are buried. It is another thing altogether to actually be able to stand next to the graves and touch them.." I know just what you mean, that feeling of awe and reverence! You did a lovely presentation!

  2. Hi Linda. I'm also in this family that you have so beautifully cared for in your exploration of history, wow! My name is Diane Bennett-Garner. My dad is William Bennett, son of Charles Bennett. I live in Orange County California. I understand that you are in Northern California. I look forward to reading more from your blog and getting to know more about our family. Thank you for your dedication. It is really wonderful.


  3. Diane, your kind words have touched my heart deeply. It's for reasons like yours – to get to know more about our family and connect with one another – that I love sharing these stories. I've enjoyed corresponding and talking with your parents several times – such a sweet couple! When you and your family get up this way, we'd love to have you over for dinner. Just say when! Take care.

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