Week 6 (12-18 Feb) prompt was ‘Valentine’
Ethel May Rutledge Waters Valentine
It was quite by accident that I linked Ethel to my family tree. I had been searching Trove for newspaper articles regarding my Shingles ancestors when I found an article mentioning my great aunt Hazel Margaret Shingles. Apparently Hazel had seen a lady put a baby down in the garden of her grand-parents home and walk away.
That lady turned out to be Ethel May Rutledge Waters. The baby was her son Arthur Waters born on 18 Jul 1924 in North Fitzroy. His father was my great grandfather and Hazel’s dad, Arthur James Shingles. He must have met Ethel when he travelled to Melbourne to see some of his children in their orphanages. Arthur’s wife, Ada Ellen, had died in 1922 leaving behind six children.
The whole sordid tale was told in The Gippsland Times in January 1925. Ethel had gone to Maffra to see Arthur as she was unable to look after the baby anymore. Arthur told her to drop the baby off at his parents’ house and he would see that he was taken to an orphanage. Unfortunately she was arrested but the charges were dropped in February 1925. Arthur, the baby, was taken into the custody of the police and was sent to a children’s home in Melbourne but unfortunately passed away aged 19 months.
Arthur was Ethel’s third illegitimate child.
In November 1920 she had given birth to Athol Gladys Lillian Lorraine Waters and in October 1921 William Waters. Both children were adopted as infants and became known as Shirley & Kenneth Patey.
Sometime in 1926, Ethel began a relationship with William Francis Valentine. He was married at the time but his wife had deserted him.
Together they had seven children from 1927 through to 1943. They married on 14 Nov 1939 in Toorak probably as enough time had passed since William’s first wife had deserted him for them to wed. It was also a couple of days after William had joined the Australian Army to fight in WW2. It was possible that he wanted Ethel and the children to be protected should he be killed while fighting.
Sometime before 1949 the couple separated. It may not have been a friendly split for when William died in 1963 the informant didn’t include William and Ethel’s marriage or any of the children’s names. It would appear that he wasn’t in contact with his family.
Ethel succumbed to cancer on 8 February 1977 aged 77.
Although her life had obviously been tough having to give up three children early in life, in the end she was lucky enough to have a large family to love and adore!