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Miriam celebrates 100th birthday

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The social highlight of this week was the 100th Birthday celebration of Miriam Wilson Webb-Trott at Bright Temple AME Church Hall on Monday, April 1st. Mrs Trott was a bright, forward-thinking, pacesetting young lady ‘back in the day’ when she became the first black Postmistress in the country. She was a legend, who took everything in her confident, charismatic style in a vastly different Bermuda. Then everything done by the small, powerful, feared band of aristocratic families was geared towards keeping the black masses and poor whites in their places as second class citizens. Young Miriam on the other hand was a daughter of the Wilson clan. They were builders of homes, lodges and other institutions during and after the first two quarters following the emancipation from slavery. One of the Wilson brothers was nicknamed “Concrete”. He was a mason. His brother, James (Johnny) Wilson, Miriam’s father was a master carpenter. Born April 1, 1913, Miriam was 14 years old when the Sandys Secondary School was founded in 1927. She is one of the two surviving students comprising the first class entering Sandys, then located at Ely’s Harbour. Fellow survivor and centenarian is Miss Hope Bascome, of Bob’s Valley, Somerset. Her father was one of Bermuda’s first black dentists. His grandson, Dr Glenn Bascome is the longest serving teacher on staff at Sandys Secondary Middle School. Miriam was endowed with an entrepreneurial spirit. She loved telling her offspring how she went door-to-door selling glass candy cakes, her mother made to support Sandys Secondary. Later she became manager of one of the chain stores of the old oligarchs, OR Lobelin. Also she helped manage the old Top Hat Dance Hall in Southampton. Then came her breakthrough in the civil service, as Postmistress of Warwick Post Office. She purchased the nearby property on which she built her home, with her own hands. Always sharp and sophisticated, Miriam had a special place at Cup Match. After all, her only sister Valeria, was the wife of Harold Talbot, a First World War overseas war veteran and long serving president of Somerset Club. In any case at the 100th Celebration on Monday, Miriam could hardly have been happier surrounded by nieces, nephew and grands who had travelled from as far away as London, England. At her right hand was her devoted husband George Trott. He is Bermuda’s first fully accredited International Cricket Umpire, who has umpired eleven Cup Matches. They were married June 14, 1984. Great nieces Rev Lisa Talbot Osborne and radio and television broadcaster Leola Stovell were the mistresses of ceremonies. They read a letter from the Governor George Fergusson and his wife congratulating Mrs Trott and wishing her well. Also salutations were from Postmaster General Allan WB Smith, “on behalf of the people of Bermuda as well as your colleagues of the Post Office, including all former colleagues.” Mr Smith added: “I did not have the pleasure of working with you but, thanks for paving the way for people like me to be able to obtain senior positions in the Post Office and Civil Service.” Congratulations were also from nieces Carolyn Talbot Brangman and her sister Uriel Talbot Yupp, who reside in Connecticut; brother Quinton Talbot and neighbour and friend Wendy Lambert.

Photo by Ira Philip Miriam Trott
Premier Craig Cannonair, African Methodist Episcopal Church Presiding Elder Betty Furbert-Woolridge, Rev VA Deyone Douglas, pastor of Bright Temple AME, niece Uriel Talbot Yupp of Connecticut; Quinton and Marjorie Talbot of Somerset. Seated, centenarian Mariam Trott and husband George; niece Carolyn Talbot Brangman of Connecticut; and her aunt, Mary Wilson Paynter, Somerset.
Photo by Ira Philip Below is Miriam's grandson Louis Guy Wilson, his Malawi-born wife Josephine and their son Khomawe. The couple met while students in North Carolina, and now reside in London, England. Guy's father, the late Louis Wilson was Miriam's only child. Left is broadcast personality Leola Stovell, a niece from the Talbot family.