Burns's Poetical Works - Mary Cosh

Mary Cosh


Mary Cosh (1885-1971)

Mary Florence Bartlett was born to Major Arthur A. Bartlett and Margaret Scott Rankin on 18 May 1885, in Charlottetown PEI. She was baptized in the same city at St. James Presbyterian Church, on 25 August 1885.

On 26 April 1916 she married Allen Battiscombe Cosh in an elaborate Charlottetown “high society" wedding. It was first page news the day after the event, in the 27 April 2016 edition of the Charlottetown Guardian:

Bartlett-Cosh Military Wedding
...It was a decidedly picturesque military wedding and the ceremony at St. Peter's Cathedral carried out in strict conformity with the beautiful rituals and wording of the Anglican Church was very impressive. Rev. Canon Simpson, Priest Incumbent officiated... Her beautiful wedding dress was of white faille, brocaded in silver, with an overdress of tuile, caught with orange blossoms and silver flowers and train of silver brocade. Her embroidered tuile veil was worn over a wreath of orange blossoms and she carried a shower bouquet of roses, lily of the valley and white heather... As the bride and groom were leaving the Church they passed under the crossed swords of the groom's fellow officers of “B" Company and were showered with the usual confetti. A reception and wedding breakfast was held immediately after the ceremony at “The Hill"... As the bridal party left the house for the train at 2:30 p.m., the members of “B" Co., were drawn up in line in front of “The Hill" and they heartily cheered their officer and his bride as they passed...

The article lists many prominent Charlottetown guests, including the Premier of Prince Edwards Island, John A. Mathieson, the Lieutenant-Governor of Prince Edward Island, Augustine Colin Macdonald, and Chief Justice Sir W.W. Sullivan.

The UPEI Provenance book, The Poetical Works of Robert Burns: The poems, epistles, songs, epigrams & epitaphs, which holds the hand-written inscription of “Mary & Allen Cosh from Mr. James Pater", is dated 26 April 1916, a wedding gift.

One month later, on 17 May 1916, Allen signed up for WWI. Mary is listed as Allen's next of kin on his WWI attestation papers.

In 1916 Mary traveled first class, aboard the vessel New York, from New York to Liverpool, arriving on August 13th. Her destination was listed as Canadian Office, Victoria Street, London. The 1 July 1916 Charlottetown Guardian announced that:

Mrs. Cosh left Monday morning for Valcartier where she will spend sometime with her husband, Lieut. Cosh, who is attached to “B" Company 105th Battalion.

On 7 April 1918, Mary and Allen had a son, Alan Bartlett Cosh. It would seem that Allen was overseas during the time of his first child's birth, but Mary took their infant son to England in 1918, to meet him. Mary and young Alan returned home, from Southampton, aboard the Olympic and arrived in New York on 10 September 1918.

After the war Allen and his wife Mary, and their young son, lived at 175 Fitzroy Street, Mary's childhood home. In 1921, they lived there with their son and with Mary's mother, Margaret Scott Bartlett, and Allen's sister, Harriette Cheape Cosh, and two servants, Selina Gaudet and Celia McMillan.

In the 1921 Census, Mary would have been pregnant; she gave birth to a daughter, Allison Myra Rankin Cosh, in late August, but little Allison only lived for six days and died on 30 August 1921.

Around 1934, Allen and Mary moved to 12 West Street, Charlottetown, in the house that was previously occupied by George DesBrisay DeBlois, the new Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island.

1954 was a difficult year for Mary; her mother, Margaret Bartlett, died on the 25th of April. Then five months later, Mary's husband, Allen B. Cosh, died on September 24th at the Virginia Beach Hospital after suffering an acute cardiac arrest. The couple had been visiting their only son while he was working for the Canadian Navy and stationed in Virginia.

Mary was very involved in the Charlottetown branch of the Queen Mary Needlework Guild, which was started by her mother in 1918. She acted as secretary for many years. In 1952, she received the following letter from Constance Milnes-Gaskell, Lady-in-Waiting to Her Majesty Queen Mary:

Dear Mrs. Cosh,

Queen Mary has just come back to London and has now seen the lovely contents of the Charlottetown Branch of the Queen Mary Needlework Guild birthday gift box.
Her Majesty is delighted with all the most useful garments; they will indeed bring much pleasure and comfort to those who receive them.
Queen Mary will be glad if you will convey to all the officers and members of the Charlottetown Branch, Her Majesty's warmest thanks for all the trouble they have taken to send her such a delightful gift. Queen Mary is very much touched that once again so many kind people should have contributed to her Guild in such a generous manner.

Yours very sincerely,
Constance Milnes-Gaskell,

In 1954, Mary was also listed as Honourary President of the Prince Edward Island Provincial Command Ladies Auxiliary.

Mary died on 19 September 1971.


The Guardian, 1 July 1916, p. 4. Accessed from Island Newspapers on 24 February 2016.

The Guardian, 21 April 1916, pg. 4. Accessed from Island Newspapers on 24 February 2016.

“Bartlett-Cosh Military Wedding", The Guardian, 1 July 1916, pg.4. Accessed from Island Newspapers on 24 February 2016.

“Death Yesterday of Mrs. Bartlett", The Guardian, 26 April 1954, pg. 2. Accessed from Island Newspapers on 3 March 2016.

“Gift of Queen Mary Needlework Guild Acknowledged", The Guardian, 27 September 1952, pg. 2. Accessed from Island Newspapers on 3 March 2016.

“Mr. A.B. Cosh Honoured at Testimonial Dinner", The Guardian, 30 August 1949, pg.1,5. Accessed from Island Newspapers on 24 February 2016.

“Sudden Death in Virginia of Well Know Charlottetown Man", The Guardian of the Gulf, 25 September 1954, p.1.

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