Dorchester Illustration no. 2338 Marion E. Voye
At the Dorchester Historical Society, we are in the process of a year-long project to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of World War I. Using a collection of photographs we have of World War I Dorchester residents, we will be featuring soldiers in a number of short biographies throughout the year. At the culmination of the project, we hope to produce an online exhibit which highlights these men and their service to our country.
Our next biography features a woman: Marion E. Voye
Marion was born in Boston on December 20, 1894, to parents Albert and Alice (Douglas) Voye. Her parents were both Canadian immigrants, her father from Nova Scotia and her mother from New Brunswick. At the time of her birth, Marion’s father was listed as a grocer but by the 1900 census, he is listed as a life insurance agent. Her mother, Alice, stayed at home and raised Marion and her three sisters – Helen, Alice, and her younger sister, Edith (Marion was the third child). The family lived at 56 Sanford Street, in the Lower Mills neighborhood of Dorchester.
In 1910, the family is still living in Lower Mills but on nearby Temple Street and they are now a family of eight. Marion gained two more younger siblings: Doris and Albert, Jr. It also appears that Marion’s father changed jobs and is working at the nearby Walter Baker Chocolate Factory as a chocolate maker, as most of the men in the neighborhood did. Marion’s maternal grandmother was also living with the family. Tragically, in 1917 when Marion was 22, her younger brother, Albert, drowned in the Neponset River when he was only 12 years old. The Boston Globe reported that the boy drowned when he fell off the bridge near the Walter Baker Chocolate Factory when he was “dared” by his friends to walk across the trestles of the bridge.
A little over a year later, on August 25, 1918, when Marion was 23 years old, she left New York City for France as a member of the United States Army Nurse Corps (ANC). Once in France, she worked at the ANC Base Hospital No. 51 which was based in Toul. She left France from Brest on February 26, 1919 aboard the Leviathan and arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey on March 6, 1919.
A little over three months after returning home from Europe, Marion married a railroad engineer from Pennsylvania named Howard Mitchell on July 16, 1919 in Boston. By the 1920 census, Marion and Howard are living with Howard’s family in Factoryville, Pennsylvania. Howard was also a veteran of World War I, having served on the battlefields of Verdun, France. Their only child, Howard Chester, was born on July 12, 1921 in Scranton. However, by 1930, Marion and her young family of three have moved back to her hometown and she is again living on Sanford Street; this time at number 14. Howard is listed as a machinist at a factory and Marion staying at home. Interestingly, on the census, only Howard is listed as a veteran of World War I.
At some point before 1940, Howard and Marion divorced. In the 1940 census, Marion and their son, Howard, are living in a home that she owns at 179 Thacher Street in Milton. She also appears to be renting a room to a public school teacher. Marion has also resumed working as a nurse and listed as working in “private duty.” According to the City Directory for Milton, Marion is still living in Milton until at least 1945 and Howard, her son, is now in the United States Air Force.
Unfortunately, not much is known about Marion and her life after 1945. She appears to have moved to California at some point and remarried someone with the last name of “Breen” as this was the last name listed on her death certificate; she died on December 7, 1981 in San Bernardino County. She is buried at the Riverside National Cemetery where she is listed as a lieutenant, nurse in the United States Army.
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