Mary was born in December 1893 somewhere in Nova Scotia to Mr. and Mrs. Vance. She was raised there, but she didn't attend school. Her parents whipped her, and drank alcohol. At the age of six, her parents died. They committed suicide because of booze.
- "My ma had hung herself and my pa had cut his throat."
- —Mary about her parents' death[src]
Mary was put in the Hopeton asylum and lived there for two years. In 1902, Mrs. Wiley from Prince Edward Island needed a girl who would help her with the work around the house, therefore, she took Mary in as an almost-slave.
Glen St. MaryEdit
- "She's like a habit of ours... even when we're furious with her, we can't give her up."
- —Diana Blythe about Mary
The Meredith children (Jerry, Faith, Una and Carl) happened upon her in the Taylor barn, where the hungry waif was lying in the straw. She had not eaten since the previous Thursday, and Faith's kind heart went out to her. They brought Mary back home, fed her, and then went out into the Methodist Graveyard, where Mary told them all about her life.
It became apparent that the girl had been very much mistreated by the infamous Mrs. Wiley, and the children decided to let Mary 'stay on' at the Manse... for the time being, at least. Mary proved a welcome addition.
Despite her biting tongue and doubtful language, she could clean very well, and the Manse was reduced to a state of civility. Mary was afraid of the Reverend, did not like Martha, and was not on speaking terms with Nan Blythe, one of the Blythe children, who were constant playmates of the Merediths, and therefore indispensable. But they all grew to like Mary and her weird eyes.
World War IEdit
Rilla did not like Mary Vance, especially since Mary chased her through the village, ending her up in a 'pud-muddle' in front of Carter Flagg's store, under the startled eyes of kindly Miss Cornelia. But, when Mary Vance's amazing remedy that her grandmother had taught her saved Rilla's baby, the younger girl's opinion of the older changed. Nonetheless, the two girls did not get on over-well.
Mary Vance, before World War I, was being courted by Miller Douglas. Mrs. Elliott, Mary's adoptive mother, though, did not approve of the match. Approve or not, Mary was determined to show Miller she loved him. She told her sweetheart, upon his return, that though he was short one leg, she would stand by him. Miller became a shopkeeper, and Mary married him.
- "She had two braids of lank, thick, tow-coloured hair and very odd eyes - "white eyes," the manse children thought, as she stared at them half defiantly, half piteously. They were really of so pale a blue that they did seem almost white, especially when contrasted with the narrow black ring that circled the iris."
- —Rainbow Valley, Chapter 5
Mary is a female given name of Latin origin and means beloved. Martha is a female given name of Aramaic origin and means lady or mistress of the house. Lucilla is a female given name and means light, variant of Latin name Lucy.
- Mary shared her first name with Mary Maria Blythe, the cousin of John Blythe, Mary Keith, the mother of Davy and Dora, and with Mary Gardiner, the mother of Lewis Allen and half-sister of James Armstrong.
- She shared her second name with aunt Martha, the relative of John Meredith, Martha Copp and Martha Monkman, also known as The Woman, the resident of the Evergreens.
- Mary shared her third name with Lucilla Harris, a lady clerk in Samuel Lawson's store.
Short story appearances