Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Week 52 - William Francis "Frank" Kinnaird

William Francis Kinnaird (1893 -1967)

Frank Kinnaird - about 1910

My Grandpa, Frank Kinnaird, was born in Morewood, Ontario on October 17, 1893 to William George Kinnaird and Margaret Carruthers, pictured above. He had an older brother by 2 years, Stephen Alden.   Sadly, Frank was only seven months old when his mother died of tuberculosis.

He lived with nearby relatives and they had the picture above taken of him with his younger cousin Orne (also spelled Orrin) Carruthers who was the son of his Aunt Jane (Smirl) and Uncle Stuart Carruthers in 1895.

Frank (standing) and Stephen Kinnaird - around 1906
His father remarried Elizann Crump in 1896 and they had a family of 3 more boys and a girl by 1907. It seems like Frank did not fit into this family as he decided to head to Manitoba where some of the Carruthers clan had moved for open farmland and new opportunities.  He came to Hargrave as a young lad of 13 in 1906 to live with and work for his mother's sister Christina and her husband J.J. O'Neil.  He went to school in Hargrave for 3 years while also working on the O'Neil farm south of Hargrave.  

We can only try to imagine what this must have been like for Grandpa to come west to unknown land to live with family he could not have known that well at such a young age.  My Mom recalls him making several trips back to Ontario as she was growing up and the Chesterville newspaper came weekly with news of home. Among his treasured possessions were postcards that he received from his friends and cousins back in Ontario wondering how he was doing and telling the news of their lives.

In 1925, Frank purchased the west half of 1-11-27 and started farming on his own in 1926.

It is interesting to read his notes in these ledgers that have survived the years and see that his threshing bill for 1944 for 56 hours at $8.00 and hour and his hospital stay in 1924 for 17 days cost $149.75 including a $10 operating fee and he was charged $1.75 a day for the hospital room!

Frank Kinnaird and Frances Milne
He was farming and socializing in the same area that my Grandma, Frances Milne was living and the two were married on March 31, 1927. I have never seen a wedding photo of the two of them but the picture above would be from close to that time.  Aunt Marge remembers hearing the story of the heel on Grandma's shoe breaking as she was walking down the stairs to meet her bridegroom!

Frank joined the Canadian Order of Foresters in Hargrave in 1914 and he was a board member for the Hargrave Pool Elevator.  He attended Hargrave United Church and served as an elder and treasurer there for many years.

He graded nearby municipal roads with his team of 4 horses, Queen, June, Buster and Nell. My Mom, Margaret, is the wee girl on her Dad's knee driving the horses in this photo!

He enjoyed curling and in later years watching sports on TV.  The busy farm family milked cows, raised pigs, chickens and turkeys.  Frank looked forward to delivering butter, cream and eggs to customers as it gave him the chance to visit.  A card he received while in hospital from the Virden Creamery staff says they "miss his cheery hello" .  Mom remembers the pails and pails of berries they picked - saskatoon, wild strawberries and maybe even wild raspberries.

Grandma and Grandpa at my Mom and Dad's wedding October 15, 1960
Frank and Frances's son Keith (likely named for his cousin Keith Carruthers in Ontario or Keith, Scotland where Frances' family came from) began farming with them and his son Rea continues to farm the same land today.  Frank's two daughters, Marjorie and Margaret, went to Normal School and became teachers, married and had families. There were nine grandchildren and now 20 great grandchildren who are now beginning to have children of their own.  We are proud to carry his genes and just a bit of his looks and we hope some of the determination that made him a story I've been driven to tell since the start of this blog one year ago.

Frank with his grandchildren - Karen and Dolores, Judy, Barry, Rea and Lyle
Grandpa suffered a stroke in 1962 and lived out the next 5 years in a nursing home in Brandon. Karen remembers going to visit him and the first thing her Mom always did when they got there was to clean his glasses. She recalls that he had a room mate named Fred who loved to visit with the family too and before Grandpa took sick, he always carried coloured Chiclets in his pocket to share with his grandchildren.  She recalls being at a Christmas party there, the International Nursing Home. Grandpa passed  away on August 19, 1967 and is buried in Rosewood Memorial Gardens outside Brandon.

My grandpa never knew me so I remember being surprised when I turned 17 to receive money from his estate.  He wrote into his will that every grandchild would receive $100 from him when they turned 17.  Now I understand that he wanted his grandchildren to have a gift as the result of his hard work and that "Family" meant more to him than I would understand for many years. 

This year of blogging ends with a true understanding of the meaning of Family.  All of their many stories come together to make me the person I am and now my own story will continue with further generations.  Thank you to my faithful readers for your continued encouragement and support over the year.

Love, Sharon

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Week 51 - Alice Kinnaird Casselman

Alice Luella Kinnaird Casselman (1907 - 1988)

Milton and Alice Casselman

Alice Luella Kinnaird was born near Cannamore in Finch Township  in Stormont County in Ontario on January 13, 1907.  Her father was 46 years old and a farmer, William George Kinnaird.  Her mother, Elizann Crump, was his second wife.  Elizann is listed as being of Irish origin, born in Ontario and 36 years old in 1907.

Alice's father George
Alice was the little sister to five older brothers.  Stephen and my Grandfather, Frank were her stepbrothers and then Elizann and George had twin boys, Ellis and Tommy in 1897.   Brother Willis was born in 1899 and then 8 years later, Alice came along to complete the family.

At age 20, Alice married 24 year old Milton Casselman in the village of Chesterville on October 7 , 1927.  He is listed on the marriage certificate as a mechanic who was born in the township of Winchester and a Presbyterian.  She signed her name as " Alice Kinniard" on this document although the form was filled in by the registrar as "Alice Kinnard".

Alice and Milton had four children (above):
  • Eldred Otalene
  • Richard "Dick" Claire
  • Joan Elsbeth and June Elizabeth 
Family of Dick and Jose Casselman

Milton died on October 31, 1986 and Alice on May 27, 1988.  They are buried in Maple Ridge Cemetery in Chesterville, Ontario.  The above photo of their gravestone was found on Cornwall Roots website.  

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Week 50 - Herbert Lorne Carruthers

Herbert Lorne Carruthers (1883-1985) 

Herbert "Lorne" was born at Cannamore, Ontario on May 5, 1883 to Archibald Carruthers and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Gordon. He was the grandson of our shared ancestors, Andrew William Carruthers and Jean Steven. His mother died when he was 10 and his father remarried to Annie Gainer on January 1, 1895.

Archibald Carruthers and Annie Gainer - about 1900

George Andrew Carruthers - brother (1885-1977)

William Hector - brother of Lorne (1881-1972)

In the 1901 Canadian census, he is 17 years old and he can be found living with his father and stepmother near Finch in Southern Ontario.  Also in the household is his older brother Hector (19) and younger siblings George (15), Walter (13), twins John and Hattie (6), Maggie (3) and Annis (1). Another set of twins, Frank and Ida were born in December of 1901 to complete the family of eleven children. Lizzie and Archibald's  youngest son Howard had died in 1890 of consumption.  With so many children, it is not surprising that they quickly ran out of room and land at home in Ontario and began to look west.

Lorne Carruthers (top) and his Uncle William - about 1906

Archibald had a younger brother named William who had left for open land in the west in Manitoba around 1895.  (Another brother Andrew (Andy) had headed even farther west, to Alberta, at the same time.)   William married Bessie Wyatt in 1894 and they had 4 children. William's sister Christina followed him west as did this week's biography subject, his nephew Lorne .  A third brother, Steven, lived and farmed in the Grandview, MB area from 1895 on.  My connection, Archibald's sister Margaret died in 1894 of consumption.  She was my Grandpa Kinnaird's mother.  

Lorne came west on harvest excursions in 1903 and 1906 and worked for his Uncle William who lived one mile west of Hargrave. He also traveled to Moose Jaw and Swift Current, working wherever he could along the way.  He eventually made it to his Uncle Andy Carruther's farm at Camrose, Alberta where he did some draying with a team of horse, washed dishes and whatever else he could to earn a few dollars.

Lorne went home to Cannamore again but in the spring of 1907 he brought his horses from the east and a carload of equipment to farm the west quarter of 27-10-27, three and a half miles south of Hargrave. That summer he broke 90 acres, and was a harvest hand for other farmers that fall. He stayed with and worked for his aunt and uncle John and Christina O'Neil for 3 winters.   In the winter of 1909, he built a barn on his farm and the next year he dug a basement for his house.
Lorne Carruthers and Bessie Odell , 1910

He married Elizabeth "Bessie" Odell on December 28, 1910 on her parents' farm near Hargrave. That winter the couple honeymooned in Ontario. They went on to farm their homestead together for 30 years even after being hailed out two years in a row on the same date, July 17. Both Lorne and Bessie were musical, her the piano and organ and him violin and mouth organ. Lorne was a charter member of the Hargrave Court of the Canadian Order of Foresters that was formed in 1909.
Two children were born to them, Cecil (1916-1989) and Inez (1921-2012).
They were fortunate enough to celebrate their 50th, 60th and 65th anniversaries with family and friends. Bessie died in August of 1977 and Lorne lived to the age of 102 and passed away in 1985.
From what I have read about Bessie, she enjoyed recording the family history as much as I do. Lorne and I are first cousins twice removed according to my family tree software but I had some wonderful pictures and great stories in history books to tell their story.
I think that I see some family resemblances in the unidentified photos below.  Do you think they may be more of the large Carruthers family? 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Week 49 - Helen Milne Mearns Connon

Helen Milne Mearns Connon (1885-1965)

Helen Milne Mearns and James Dunbar Connon - Dec 27, 1912
Helen was born in Banffshire, Scotland on April 14, 1885 to John Milne and Ann Robertson.  She was the sixth of nine siblings, including my great grandfather, Alexander.  He was the first in the family to make the incredible decision to leave job as a carter in his Scottish homeland,  for Canada.
His brother John was next in 1906 and Helen followed in 1908, first to Oshawa, then Saskatoon and finally settling in Brandon, MB. Brother James came in 1910 and their father John and sisters Isabella, Louisa and arrived in 1911.  Mary Jane more commonly called Mamie, had arrived with her husband Charles Duguid from Scotland on the Ionian as well, arriving in March of 1911.Staying behind in Scotland were elder married sisters Ann Pirie and Margaret Chishom.

Helen's daughter-in-law has been able to tell me that before immigrating, Helen had moved to Huntley, Scotland to work as a tailor and live with her sister Margaret and help with her family.  It was there that she met and became betrothed to her first husband.  He left for Canada and she followed soon as well.
There is a marriage registered in the city of Oshawa, Ontario on October 14, 1908 between Helen Milne age 22 and a woodworker, James Mearns, also age 22.  He was born in Keith, Scotland.   They had a son in 1909 in Oshawa and another son born in 1910 after moving to Brandon,MB, who sadly only lived a month.  That was just the beginning of Helen's tragedy as her husband died in a work accident in February of 1911 while changing a pulley on a machine at McDiarmid and Son Sash and Door in Brandon.  What a sad time this must have been for Helen.

Her story does take an upturn however. On December 27, 1912, "Nellie" as she was affectionately known, married James Dunbar Connon who was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and moved to Canada in 1901.  They began dairy farming east of Brandon and raised a large family.  Cousin Wendy recalls happy memories of this farm - hay rides, baseball games, and lots of wonderful food!  

Nellie died in Brandon on June 17, 1965 and her husband James Connon two years later.  They are buried in Brandon, MB.  

Family of Helen and James Mearns:
James Morrison "Jimmie" (1909 -1996)
John Alexander (Oct 1910 - Nov 1910)

Family of Helen and James Connon:
Gladys Mary (1913-2006) - later Wilson
Norman Keith (1915 - 1986)
Margaret Dunbar (1917 - 2006) - later Nadler
Alice Helen (1919 - 2001) - later Brandon
Primose 1921 - 2003 - later Durnin
John Robertson (1923 - 1986)
Irene Stella (1924 - 2005) - later Quinn then Wilkie

Helen's granddaughter Gwen was kind enough to send me the wedding photo at the top of the blog and fill in a few details for me.  Below are a couple of the unidentified photos that were in my Grandma's trunk, Helen's niece.  Do you think either one or both might be her?


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Week 48 - Alexander Milne

Alexander Milne (1900-1970)

Alexander was named for his father when he was born on November 16, 1900.  He is the third man with this name on this blog along with  his father and his uncle.  Alex was born in Aberlour, Banffshire, Scotland as was his brother William.  When he was four years old, his father made the journey overseas to Canada and his mother and two brothers, William and John, followed him the next year.  They arrived to make their living farming, first for others and later on their own land.  My Grandma, Frances was the first sister for Alexander and she came along in 1906.

Alexander is the little boy in the front in this Milne family photo from 1906. 
Margaret, Jim, Charlie and Nan followed to make him the second eldest of 8 Milne siblings.  He worked for various farmers around Elkhorn including one by the name of Hercules Wood.  He built barns including one for his parents on their farm near Hargrave and one for neighbour Tommy Kerr.

Alex married Isabel Elizabeth Nelson on December 11, 1931.  She had been born on her parents' (Hugh and Elizabeth Nelson) farm in the Wallace Municipality in October of 1909. The couple lived and farmed at first near his parents and later moved to Elkhorn in 1942. 

Alexander and Isabel's son, Hugh.

This photo shows Alex kneeling on the right, holding his son Brian.  Beside him is his daughter Fern (with the cutest pout on her face!) and behind him is Keith Kinnaird holding Alex's son, Grant.  The three on the left of the picture are Frank Kinnaird, and his two daughters Marjorie and Margaret. The picture was taken about 1940.  Aunt Marge recalls on one visit that Glen fell playing on a stone pile at the Kinnaird farm and broke his leg.  

Family of Alex and Isabel:
Hugh Alexander married Shirley
Nelson "Glen" (1934-2005) married Lorette
Fern Elizabeth
Gerald "Grant" married Lin

According to Isabel's obituary, the family moved to Winnipeg in 1950 where they raised their family of a girl and 4 boys.   Online, I have not been able to find any information about what Alex did for a living  but Aunt Marjorie remembers that he worked at Birchwood Motors.  They lived on Lipton Street in Winnipeg for many years and Fern lived with and cared for her parents.  If any readers know any more, I would love to include it.  You can comment below this post or send me an email at  

Alex died on September 30, 1970 at the age of 69.  Isabel lived 34 more years as a widow, until she died at the grand age of 100 on Juły 23 in 2010.   She was survived by 3 of her children, 13 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren.  

Friday, 21 November 2014

Week 47 - Margaret Helen Milne Grant Switzer

Margaret Helen Milne Grant Switzer (1907 - 2006)  

Frank Grant and Margaret Milne wedding day October 27,1928
Margaret Helen Milne was born on December 7, 1907 at Virden, Manitoba.  She would have been named in honour of both sides of her family as her dad had a sister Margaret (nee Milne) Chisholm in Scotland and her maternal grandmother Margaret (nee Duncan) Jamieson, had died in Chesterfield, England two years before she was born.  It would seem both these women were known as "Maggie" but this Margaret was not.  Her father had another sister in Scotland called Helen and she came to Canada the year after Margaret Helen was born.  Helen Milne Mearns Connon has an interesting and tragic story, stay tuned to this blog for that one....

On the 1911 and 1921 Canada census, Margaret can be found living with her father Alexander and mother Jeannie in the Wallace Municipality.  Sisters Frances and Nan have been featured in previous blog posts as well as brothers Charlie and William. Other Milne siblings were John, Alex and Jim.  We know the family spent a couple of years in the Keremous, BC area when Margaret was young. 

She married Francis George Penny Grant on October 27 in 1928 in Hargrave, MB. "Frank" Grant had been born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1893.

Margaret and Frank began their married life in McCreary, Manitoba engaged in farming. They moved to Winnipeg for a while and  later settled in the Gainsborough district near Portage la Prairie, MB.  Initially they farmed but later both Frank and Margaret worked at Southport, the former Candian Forces Base at Portage as did many of their neighbours.  Those were tough years in the thirties and money was hard to come by.  

Margaret Milne in the middle with her sisters - Nan on the left and Frances on the right in 1955.

Margaret raised her five children and after Southport, cooked at Portage General Hospital for several years.  She belonged to the First Presbyterian Church and was a member of the Women's Missionary Society and Ladies Evening Guild. Margaret's first husband Frank died in 1961.  She remarried to Edgar Elmer Switzer, who was born in 1912 in Steele, North Dakota,  in 1969.  He died in 1985 and she on March 25, 2006 .

Family of Frank Grant and Margaret Milne:
Her obituary says she was a great volunteer, always ready to lend a helping hand.  She loved to play cards and bingo. It also says she cared deeply for her family and loved to visit with her 13 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren before she died at age 98 in Pilot Mound, MB.  Her granddaughter Lynne (with the middle name Margaret) tells me her own daughters knew Margaret as "G.G." and enjoyed a special relationship with her.  Margaret was always upbeat and happy, no matter what came her way.  She sounds like a special lady indeed and I'm glad I got to know her through this blog post.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Week 46 - Annie Mary (Nan) Milne Clarke

Nan Milne Clarke ( 1915 - 2004)

Nan Milne and Stewart Clarke' on their wedding day in 1945
Annie Mary Milne was born on July 18, 1915  at Keremous, BC, near Cawston.  Her father Alexander Milne and mother Jeannie Jamieson had immigrated from Scotland in 1905 and 1906 respectively and after farming for a few years in the Wallace area, they sold and moved to BC to work on a ranch.  "Nan" was the younger sister of my Grandma, Frances.

The Milne family can be found on the 1921 Canadian census where she is called "Annie" and is five years old.  Her siblings are Charles (8 years old), Margaret (13), Frances (15), William (18) and Alex (20).  Her parents are 45 and 44 years old.   The census says they are farmers and renting their home on 17-11-26 W1 in the RM of Wallace.  They declare themselves to be Presbyterians.

Nan tells in the Binding Out Districts history book from 1989 that she moved to the Hargrave district with her parents in 1924 where they farmed on NE 14-11-27 and she attended Grade 3 at Hargrave School. She continued there until grade 11 after which she stayed home to help on the farm.  In her words:
I can still remember the path through our pasture I took to walk to school and to the store and post office for mail.  Then when bonspiel time came, with just one sheet of ice, sometimes I walked it two or three times a day.
Nan at back left with Sybil and Gladys O"Neil and her brothers Charlie and Jim Milne in 1933.
Sisters Frances Kinnaird, Nan Milne and their mother Jane Milne in the Milne garden near Hargrave.  Marjorie Kinnaird is in the front.  I love their polka dotted dresses and hats which Marjorie thinks likely came from the Eatons Catalogue.  This photo was taken about 1936.
In 1945 she married Stewart Clarke of Virden and they moved northeast of Virden to NE 25-10-26 until 1949 when they moved to Virden.  In 1952 they moved to NE 14-10-26 in the River Valley District.  They had a family of 2 girls and 2 boys, Morris, Lois, Sandy and Phyllis and eventually 8 grandchildren.  

Nan was very involved with the Lady Forester Lodge in Hargrave, Court Harmony No. 14 and was the first president when they organized in March of 1945. She was also a part of the Maples Society which provided many comforts to the soldiers overseas in WW2.  The name "Maples" came from the district and the elevator siding that was once 3 miles south of Virden.  After the war, they were known as the Maples Young Peoples Society and held bake sales, bazars, teas and dances to raise money for charities and local causes needing support.  She and her family were also involved in the Virden Riding Club, showing in the Virden fair, having overnight trail rides and riding in parades.

 Stewart died in 1985 and Nan passed away in 2004.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Week 45 - Alexander Milne

Alexander Milne (1848-1873)

In my 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks blog, I have previously written about my great grandfather, Alexander Milne but have recently come across an item that leads me back a generation to his namesake.  The framed cardboard card below was among a collection of items that belonged to Alexander's daughter who was my Grandma, Frances Kinnaird.

A trunk of these old keepsakes belonging to my grandparents was recently lent to me by my cousin Judy and inside was the framed memorial to Alexander Milne pictured above.  Text of the card is as follows:

In Memory of
Alexander Milne
Who died 25th July 1873
Aged 25 years
Safe in the dust the body sleeps,
Christ his blood-bought treasure keeps;
Safe the soul enraptur'd stands,
Mingling with angelic bands.
When the trump the tomb shall break,
Then the sleeping dust shall wake.
Join the pure seraphic soul,
Glorifying in redemption full.

In online research, I found that the in memoriam cards became popular in the days of Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert in 1861.  This also is where many of our modern ideas of mourning, including wearing black,originated.

I believe that this Alexander Milne appears on the Family Search website as being born on May 14, 1848 and being christened on June 11, 1848 in Keith, Banff, Scotland.  Parents are listed as Lewis Milne and Ann Brown. 

The Scotland census from 1851 shows the family of Lewis Milne (from Week 32 of this blog) age 35 and his 33 year old wife Annie Brown.  The family has 5 children listed: Helen 9 years old, Clementina 7, William 5, Margaret 1 and a three year old Alexander Milne.  They are farmers of a small piece of land at Bogbain in Keith, Banffshire, Scotland and Lewis' mother, Helen Gordon, lives with them.

On the 1861 census when Alexander would have been 13 years old, he is not listed as living with his family.  He might have been working and living somewhere else, even at such a young age by our standards today.

Searching for "Alexander Milne" after that turns out to be difficult as so many men with that name show up in that area.  It has been compared to searching for a "John Smith" !  There are a few marriages and some children born to Alexander Milnes in that area before 1873 and any of these may or may not be our Alexander! 

When this young man died in 1873 , his brother John Milne (from Week 5) chose that name for his eldest son three years later.  The memorial plaque came to Canada with my great grandfather Alex and it remained among his possessions. Aunt Marjorie remembers that it always hung on the wall in her Grannie and Grandad's house at Hargrave.  The gravemarker pictured below in Keith Cemetery, Banffshire, Scotland includes an inscription for Alexander.   Thanks to Greg and Donna Marie for this photo and the transcription below.

“Erected by William Milne, Bogbain in memory of his daughter Clementina Milne who died 16 August 1819 age 6 years and 6 months.  Also his wife Hellen Gordon who died 20 April 1858 age 85 years.  Also his son Lewis Milne who died 17 Feb 1867 age 52 years. Also his grandson Alexander Milne who died 25 July 1873 age 25 years.  Ann Brown his wife of the above Lewis Milne who died 4 April 1901 82 years.”
 Although ever knowing anymore about this Alexander Milne is not very likely, it is interesting to find out the story behind the keepsake.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Week 44 - Charles Duguid Milne

Charles Duguid Milne (1913 - 1999)

Charles Duguid Milne and Amy Louise Dryden's wedding day in 1940
Charles Milne was born February 18, 1913 in Wallace Municipality in Manitoba.  He was the second youngest of 8 children of Alexander Milne and Jeannie Morrison Jamieson Milne and he was the younger brother of my Grandma Kinnaird, Frances.

Charles Duguid and Mamie Milne Duguid - 1920's

He was named for his father Alex's sister Mary Jane (Mamie)'s husband Charles Duguid.  This Charles had come from Banffshire Scotland in 1906 at the age of 21.  He became a Candian citizen and then returned to Scotland.  He and Mamie had married in Huntly, Aberdeenshire on February 17, 1911 and then immigrated and lived at 862 4th Street in Brandon with Mamie and Alex's father John Milne.  Charles Duguid and John were both employed as millers at Purity Flour Mill in Brandon and since Charles and Mamie did not have children of their own, were close to their nieces and nephews and in fact my mom recalls that he attended her wedding in 1960.  Mamie had passed away in 1955 and Charles Duguid followed her in 1963. 
As an infant, Charlie Milne travelled west with his family for a couple of years to ranch at Keremeos, British Columbia where his youngest sister Annie Mary (Nan) was born. The Christmas Card below would have been sent back to relatives and friends in Manitoba when they were living there.

Charlie attended Montgomery and Hargrave Schools after his family returned to the Wallace Municipality around 1917.  He married Louise Dryden on April 2, 1940.  They first lived south of Elkhorn where Charlie worked for a farmer but moved to the Hargrave district to the NE quarter of 10-11-27 later that first year of their marriage.
Charles and Louise had 5 children:  James Alexander, Kenneth Allen, John McGregor, Murray Ross and Wendy Louise.  Wendy and I recently became "friends" on Facebook and comparing the lives of ourselves and our families, we certainly can say it is a small world and our DNA leads us into similar fields and circumstances!  
A local history book called "Binding Our Districts" says Charlie played ball for the Hargrave baseball team and also enjoyed curling and skating.  He was a community volunteer with the Pool Elevator Board, the Hargrave Co-Op Store Board and the Hargrave Rink and Community Centre.  He was an active member of the Lebanon Masonic Lodge in Virden. My cousin Karen remembers that he could really dance well!
Louise was a curler and skater as well.  She enjoyed knitting and crocheting as well as yard and garden work.  She entered and won prizes at the Virden and Elkhorn fairs for her beautiful needlework.  Charlie and Louise spent many hours in Old Time Dancing and playing cards.
They retired from active farming in 1982.  Louise passed away on October 27, 1998 and Charlie the following year on August 4, 1999.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Week 43 - Thomas Henry

Thomas Henry (1870 - 1949)

Thomas was the brother of my great grandmother, Elizabeth Henry Sinclair and the son of the Widow Mary Henry.  This blog has also previously featured his sisters Ellen Turriff, Janet McKenzie and Joanna Braid.  At the age of 11, he came to the RM of Blanshard area with his mother and 10 siblings from Perth County, Ontario in 1881 after the death of his father three years earlier. 

Thomas lived the rest of his life farming this soil on the quarter known as "sixes".  He never married but lived with family, mainly his brother Jack.  Thomas was the engineer on the Henry brothers threshing gang.  They had bought one of the first portable steam threshing units around and for years they toured the district, threshing grain for neighbours who didn't own their own machines.  He also helped in the organization of the United Church in Oak River.

In the 1891 Canadian census, 20 year old Thomas lived with his 54 year old mother Mary, elder brother John (also known as Jack) age 23, and younger sisters Mary (17) and Joanna (15).  Brothers Edward (29), William (27) and Charles (25) are enumerated on the next farm.

The census of 1906, shows 36 year old Thomas and 37 year old Jack at 6-13-21 in a stone house with their mother Mary.  They indicate that their farm has 17 horses, 17 milk cows, 30 other cattle and 35 pigs.  Three unrelated people are also in the household, 2 hired men and a servant, Agnes Brown.   Purebred Aberdeen Angus cattle were raised at the Henry's and the 1959 Blanshard history book says they supplied breeding stock to many farmers during the early part of the century.  This same book says Thomas had a Model T in 1912.

The 1916 Canadian Census lists Thomas living with his brother Jack and wife Winnie with their sons Homer and Orville. Thomas and Jack are named as partners in the farm in this document.  A lodger in the home at the time was a 45 year old named Alex Galician.  I happened to notice farther up the same census page there was another man with the same name but 23 years old.  Their birthplace is listed as Galicia and scanning through the surrounding farms, there are several men of Galician birth noted.  Today, this Eastern European region is divided between the countries of Poland, Romania and Ukraine.  Widespread emigration from this area to Canada started in the 1880's due to poverty and it continued until war broke out in 1914.  I suppose that the English speaking census takers could not begin to write what the men's names were so they were all given the surname "Galacian".  How sad for their ancestors trying to track these mens' journeys without their real names on the census documents!

The photo above was taken of the surviving Henry siblings in 1948.  Back row left to right- John (Jack) who was 80, Thomas at 79, Edward (Ned) at 86, and Charles (Charlie) at 82.  Sisters in the front are Joanna Braid ( 72), Janet McKenzie (88) and Mary Wilson (74).  This may have been Jack's 80th birthday celebration since he is wearing a flower boutineer on his lapel.  (Jack lived another ten years, until age 90 in 1958.)

 Thomas died on September 14, 1949 with his sister Elizabeth Sinclair's family at Bankburn farm and is buried in Whitebank Lea Cemetery.  His obituary says he was well known for his generosity and kindness to those in trouble and need of help.