Joys and Sorrow
May 1921 - April 1924

In May of 1921 Marjorie travelled back East to Cambridge (Galt), Ontario to visit her mother's many relatives.  On May 5th Marjorie was introduced to James Gibson Pearson who was the brother of a good friend of hers, Dorothy Jean Pearson, who married Thomas Seagram in 1913.  On May 6th, James, known as Gib, came visiting again and on May 8th Gib, Marjorie, Tom and Dorothy had dinner together. The following day Marjorie left for Chicago to visit other relatives.  

On May 20th Gib arrived in Chicago and asked Marjorie to marry him and she accepted.  Gib was a partner with his uncle, Charles Pirie in San Jose, Costa Rica at Sasso & Pirie, Bankers & Agents and was only in Canada for a visit.  He needed to return to Costa Rica by mid-June.  They decided to get married as soon as possible but Marjorie would first have to return to Powell River to pack her belongings and finalize things at home.  

The wedding date was set for June 7th, 1921 and it was decided that they would marry in Winnipeg, Manitoba as it was the halfway point distance-wise for both families.  James and Marjorie would then set sail for Costa Rica on June 17th. 

James Gibson Pearson

Marjorie Sutherland Henderson

James "Gib" Gibson Pearson was born October 18, 1888 in Kitchener (Berlin), Ontario.  His father was Dr. Harold Frederick Pearson who was a dentist in Kitchener.  His mother was Agnes Blair Gibson, also known as "Gaggie."   As already mentioned, Gib had one sister Dorothy Jean who married Thomas William Seagram of the Seagram Distillery family.  Gib's father had died in 1909 and his mother's brother-in-law, Charles Napier Pirie took him under tow and trained him in the banking business and Gib had been living in Costa Rica for a number of years. 

While Marjorie was sorting things out in Powell River, Gib had business to attend to in the East.  He wrote Marjorie a number of letters and it is apparent that he was feeling somewhat nervous about how Marjorie felt and concerned whether or not she might reconsider.

May 18, 1921

May 23,1921

May 25,1921

May 27, 1921

Click to read Gib's letters

Fortunately Marjorie didn't reconsider and in early June made her way to Winnipeg with her father, mother and brother Richard.  Her matron of honour was her cousin Marjorie (Sutherland) Trott from Montreal.  Gib only had his best man present, James D. M. Mackay. 

For some reason Gib's mother and sister couldn't be there and it was a very small, quiet affair.

Gib and Marjorie had a wedding dinner at The Royal Alexander Hotel in Winnipeg and then left at 11 pm for Fort William to catch a boat to Port McNichol which was about a two day cruise.  From there they travelled to Toronto and then Kitchener to spend time with Gib's family. 

Needless to say Marjorie's sudden marriage came as quite a surprise to her friends and she received many letters and cards from them offering their congratulations and best wishes.

Not long after the wedding Gib's mother Agnes Pearson wrote Marjorie's mother Edith Henderson, whom she still hadn't met, a letter expressing her fond feelings for Marjorie and empathizing with Edith about Marjorie being so far away.

Click to read her letter

On June 15th Marjorie and Gib left New York on the T.S.S. Calamares, a sixteen day trip that took them to Cuba, Panama and finally docking at Limon, Costa Rica. While on board Marjorie celebrated her 33rd birthday.

Madge, Gaggie - our first home

The Pearson's arrived at their house in San Jose on June 30th and Marjorie found it very agreeable.  Charles Pirie and his wife Jemimah "Mim" were there to greet them.  The Piries had three children and Charle's brother Alexander and wife Jean were living nearby so there was no shortage of company.

As usual Marjorie soon adjusted to her new life, learning Spanish, playing golf with Gib, sightseeing and socializing with her new friends and family. Gib's mother Agnes and Aunt Margaret "Madge" Pearson arrived for a visit.

In the Summer of 1922 it became apparent that Marjorie was pregnant though no mention of it, other than "feeling punk" is made in her diary until the birth of Dorothy Jane Pearson on March 2nd, 1923.  Marjorie's mother and father, Edith and Andrew, had arrived in Costa Rica on February 2nd to be around for the baby's birth and to help out if necessary.  Dorothy Jane was delivered at home by another doctor.

A week later there is some concern about Gib's health and Andrew Henderson writes in his diary that on March 9th Gib is feeling sick and was laid up in bed.
This continued for a week and then Andrew writes:

Sunday, March 18, 1923 - " . . . went with Gib to see Dr. Duram - Gib's heart action very bad - dilated stomach & albuminuria - got him to bed and ordered digitalis and milk diet."

The next day Gib's "heart action has improved but his stomach in bad shape."   However, by March 29th Gib is up and about again and on the mend.

On April 16, 1923 Dorothy Jane was christened.
This was also Edith and Andrew's 39th Wedding Anniversary

The Henderson's left Costa Rica on May 12, 1923 and the Pearsons settled into life as new parents.  Unfortunately there was some sadness when news came that Gib's mother, Agnes "Gaggie" Pearson, died November 4, 1923 from injuries incurred in a car accident in Dundas, Ontario. 

Gib and Dorothy Jane

Marjorie, Dorothy Jane & Ana Clark
February 2nd, 1924

The Pearsons and Piries celebrate Dorothy Jane's first birthday
March 2nd, 1924

Tuesday, March 4, 1924 - Awful earthquake at 4:10.  Everyone up. Terrible shakes all through the night and all day.  Everyone terrified . . .

Sunday, March 9, 1924 -  . . . Went up up see the Davis's this afternoon, just going out.  No excitement today but occasional shakes . . .

Tuesday, March 11, 1924 -  . . . Went over town shopping with Ana.  Upheavals all day and everyone much worried . . .

Wednesday, March 12, 1924 -  . . . Aunt Mim and I went out to see the Patersons, they were scared stiff and leaving in the morning.

On March 4, 1924 the town of Orotina, located 56 km (35 mi) west of San Jose, suffered a 7.0 magnitude earthquake causing the highest level of destruction ever recorded in Costa Rica and killing 70 people.  Half the buildings in San Jose were destroyed.

And then on March 20th, 1924 the unimaginable happened.  While playing golf Gib had a heart attack and died instantly.

Charles Pirie cabled Andrew Henderson the news and Andrew sent back two letters to Marjorie:

Powell River B.C.

March 23rd 1924

My dearest Marjorie:-

We are so overwhelmed by the meagre news supplied in Uncle Charlie’s cable of last Thursday that we can hardly think or talk intelligently. We don’t know where you are or what you are doing. All we can do is wait and wait and wait.

At first we thought you might be leaving at once but at second thought the difficulty of getting away would be insurmountable and not being able to learn anything from Dorothy (Seagram) made up our minds it would be inadvisable to start without further advise.

Naturally we are greatly worried as to your own and poor wee Dorothy’s welfare but are satisfied you are in the good hands of good friends who will see to your comfort and give you good council. There will be much for you to do and perhaps you will be settling up all your affairs which will be a hard matter for you in your helpless condition and while we are confident your and Dorothy’s interests will be well guarded you may have to do a great deal of thinking and may require advice.

The situation is so terribly appalling in its suddenness one must take time to think it well over.

We are bearing up well here and our only grief is in thinking of yours. All your friends here are shocked beyond measure and are very kind in every way possible. We do wish you would use the cable occasionally. The distance is so great a word by wire is a great comfort, and be assured my dear that mother or myself will come to you at a moment’s notice if such should be your wish.

Your cable has just come and we are so thankful and relieved. Have sent the same word on to Mary.

We know you too well Marjorie to think you would flinch one bit even in this your great sorrow. Remember that my own mother was left with six little ones when no older than yourself and under conditions equally sudden and tragic.

God bless you my dear and your darling babe.

Love and sympathy to Aunt Mim and Uncle Charlie.


(Added to the bottom of the letter)

Marjorie dear - What can I say - we are all crushed.  Wonder if this will reach you but can't let the mail go out without a line.  We will be waiting for you & dear Dorothy Jane with loving arms.  Everyone here & in Vancouver send their love.   Mother

Powell River

March 30th, 1924

Just a line today my dearest Marj to let you know you are still uppermost in our thoughts…we have not heard anything from the folks near Kitchener probably because they are not any more informed as to your movements which I suppose are just as uncertain to yourselves.

Your letter received last Thursday relating your experiences following the first shocks of the earthquakes give us only a very slight idea of what you have been through and can to a certain extent make us understand that the strain must have told on poor Gib and cost him his life.  Poor fellow he sacrificed himself in striving to make good for his firm and himself and the load was too great for him to carry.

At this great distance we cannot even offer advice but only consolation and hope the future will still be bright while at while at the present all is gloom.

Darling little Dorothy will be a comfort to you and the loving care you give to her will be doubly felt in the thought that you are doing it for him as well.

Tobe (Marjorie's brother) is working away at the boat but we can see that there is much sadness in the work, he was so bent on having it in the best possible shape for Gib’s coming but he goes along all the same and it occupies all his spare time.

Your cable has just arrived saying you would be in New York the 19th.  We could not give any advice regarding the nurses as we don’t know how you are coming.  That is, if anyone is coming up with you.  We think it would be a very serious matter bringing a nurse this far with an indefinite idea as her remaining a length of time but think you should have one who might go back from Kitchener.  However, whatever you think best we will comply with.

I am sending this on to Havana in hope it may get you on your way north.  We would gladly have gone all the way to bring you home but are helpless and we must just try and get along the best we can and all will turn out for the best.

Cheer up Tootie,


Aboard the S.S. Calamous
April 1924

Marjorie and Dorothy Jane landed in New York on April 19th, 1924 bringing Gib with them.  They travelled to Kitchener where Gib was buried in the family plot.  Marjorie and Dorothy Jane left for Powell River soon after.



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