Boy oh boy, do I ever have a good yarn for you this week. As is my custom, I was in the midst of trawling through issues of The Guardian, on the hunt for information regarding my intended subject. Instead, I found this and as soon as I read it…well, I just knew it was one of those gems that had to be shared. And if it’s OK by you, I’m going to quote the newspaper article in full, because frankly, it’s simply one of a kind. It concerns the matrimonial misadventure a of 24-year-old expat Islander by the name of Ambrose Grant, and his Irish fiancee of 27, Nellie Sullivan.
Da da dah-dah, da da dah-dah…
Monday, 19 October 1903
While Bride-Elect Waited, P.E. Island Man Shot Himself
Ambrose Grant, An Hour Before His Wedding To Miss Sullivan Was To Take Place, Shot In Abdomen – Man Will Likely Recover
The Boston Herald of the 15th [of October] contains an account of the shooting of Ambrose Grant, son of Edward Grant, Millview. The Herald says that in some way unexplained, the revolver which he carried in his pocket was discharged and the bullet entered his abdomen. The following is the despatch received by the St. John Telegraph.
Boston, Mass., Oct. 15 – With a prospective bride robed in her wedding gown and friends gathering for the nuptial ceremonies, Ambrose Grant, a young carpenter of 156 Lenox St., South End, shot himself in the abdomen last evening. The shooting occurred in the toilet rooms at the South Station at 7:10 and created a good deal of excitement.
Grant was quickly removed in a police ambulance to the city hospital relief station, where it was found that the bullet entered just above the pelvis and struck a rib which changed the course outward. He was placed on the dangerous list, but the surgeons soon located the ball, which was embedded in the skin in the back.
Grant had come to town yesterday with Miss Nellie Sullivan, the bride-elect, to attend to some minor details pertaining to their marriage which was set for 8 o’clock last evening. He was in the best of spirits to all appearances at least. Miss Sullivan left him at the Public Garden at 2 P.M. with the understanding that he was to call on his roommate, John A. Mooney, who was to be the best man, taking care to make an appointment to meet at the same place an hour later.
It was about 4 o’clock when Grant called on Mooney, and after plans had been talked over he told his roommate to tell Miss Sullivan that he would join her in half an hour, also promising Mooney to meet at their room an hour later.
This was the last seen or heard of Grant by his friends until policeman walked into the home of Michael J. Ward, 1166 Adams street, Dorchester, at 9 o’clock last night, informing them of Grant’s shooting himself.
Miss Sullivan was in a highly nervous state over the absence of the fiance. The carriage, which was to have conveyed the bridal party to the residence of the parish priest, was standing at the door; Miss Sullivan was dressed for the wedding and her relatives were present on hand to give her a loving send off.
Grant’s failure to put in an appearance by 8 o’clock, coupled with his disappointing both his bride and Mr. Mooney, was attributed to trouble over the furniture, but as the minutes which seemed hours to the trembling girl passed by, she began to loose [sic] heart, although she bore up well under the ordeal until the policeman brought the sad tidings, and then she collapsed.
Although consoled by her sister, Mrs. Ward, and other loving friends, she sobbed piteously, as though her heart would break.
While the terrible news was being broken in Dorchester, the guests were gathering at 33 Ottawa street, Roxbury, where Grant had furnished a house in which he and his bride were to have held the reception. A message was dispatched to inform the guests of the situation.
Miss Sullivan told a reporter that they were to have been married a week ago, but the ceremony was postponed to last night as her fiance was taken sick. She said he said he had complained about being disappointed by parties who were furnishing their home, but she did not notice anything seriously wrong.
She explained that he had a revolver which he borrowed from a friend to protect himself with while sleeping alone in the new house, as a burglary had been committed nearby.
Regarding the will found in Grant’s pocket at the hospital, she said that it was written in the spirit of a joke and that they never took it seriously.
It was learned that Grant had been in bad luck, not having steady work, and it was hinted that he was too proud to make his real position known. A person who ought to know said that the many vexations disappointments referred to by Miss Sullivan were merely excuses furnished by the young man, and it was hinted that lack of money was in a large measure responsible for his act.
Grant stoutly disclaims any intention of trying to kill himself.
At a late hour last night he was resting comfortably.
He is a native of Prince Edward Island, a graduate of St. Dunstan’s College, and his family is very well off. He ran away from home about four years ago. He has been known to Miss Sullivan two years, and has been keeping company with her about nine months. Miss Sullivan is held in high esteem by the residents of the section in which she lives. She has a splendid character and has the deep sympathy of all.
A relative of Grant’s said after seeing the wounded man last night: “He will marry Miss Sullivan as soon as he gets out of the hospital.”
What did I tell you?
Now in case you’re wondering, I followed up on the story and it does end with a “happily ever after”. As it turns out, our hapless groom survived the shooting and followed through on his promise to wed his bride. They were united in holy matrimony a couple of weeks later on November 5. In the ensuing years, they raised a large brood and around 1910, travelled north across the border to homestead in Alberta. After a quarter-century of marriage, the pair were parted upon Nellie’s death in 1928, aged only 53. Grant passed away forty years later in February 1969 at 89.
See you next week!
PEI History Guy
P.S. – The featured image for this week’s post is of Boston’s historic South Station, built in 1899, and the scene of Ambrose Grant’s untimely shooting.