Friday, 25 April 2014

Week 17 - Jean Steven Carruthers

Jean Steven Carruthers (1833 - 1898)

Jean Steven Carruthers
My great great grandmother, Jean Steven, was born in 1833 in Cleddense, East Kilbride, Lanark, Scotland.  Jean was the daughter of Archibald Steven (aka Baldy) born in Scotland in 1789. Family lore says his mother Christina Shearer was a third cousin of James Watt 1736 - 1819 - inventor of the steam engine.   It appears that Jean had two older siblings, James ( aka Big Jim) and Christina.

The 1841 Scotish census has a Jean Steven living with her father 51 year old Arch and a sister Christina in East Kilbride, just southeast of Glasgow.  Although there is no mother mentioned on this census, her mother was Jean McGowan (1785 - 1850), if I believe online trees at  Research from Aunt Marjorie that was gathered by Mrs. Lorne Carruthers in the 1970's through Wynedotte Steven has other possibilities including that the family came to Dundee, Quebec from Scotland in the 1830's.
The photo at the top of this blog came from this site several years ago. Finding this wonderful old picture online was at the beginning of my search for my ancestors and I am grateful to Glen Carruthers for posting it.
James Watt - possibly a third cousin to my 4th great grandmother, Christina Shearer
Next time I think I find her is a listing on the 1851 Canadian census for an 18 year old "Jane" Steven living in Finch in Stormont County, Ontario, Canada. Also in the house is 65 year old Archb, 35 year old James, his wife Margaret and their 6 young children.  Jean seems to go by the nickname Jane from then on in any documents I have found. 
At the age of 24, Jane married Andrew William Carruthers on January 7, 1857 in Finch Township, Stormont County Ontario.   

Jane and William had a family of  5 boys and 3 girls including my great grandmother Margaret , wife of William George  Kinnaird and was also mother to week 12's Christina Carruthers O'Neil.  They appear on the 1871 census as Presbyterian farmers in Winchester, Dundas County.  The Canadian census in 1881 shows the couple and 6 children ages 20 down to 3 farming at Wincester.  She is in the same place ten years later, but is now a 58 year old widow with 4 children with her Her occupation is listed as farmer.

Jane died on her 65th birthday of kidney disease in 1898 .  She had been living at Lot 23 Concession 12 in Winchetser Township at the time of her death. She is buried with her husband William and son Stuart and his wife Jane as well as her daughter Margaret in a family plot near Chesterville, Ontario.

Maple Ridge Cemetery, Chesterville, Ontario

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Week 16- Alexander Sinclair

Alexander Sinclair (1899-1920)

This week's blog features my great uncle, Alexander Sinclair, who died at 20 years old in 1920.  The above 2 photos are the only ones I have seen of him.
Alex is the little barefoot boy on the left in the Sinclair family photo from about 1901.  His younger brother William is beside him and Lizze and my grandmother Mary are to his left.  Behind him are his sisters Nellie and Jean but I'm not sure which is which.  These girls were were only a year apart in age  but look like the almost same size in this picture. The Sinclairs had another daughter, born between Nellie and Lizzie in 1896.  Sadly, Wilhelmina lived only about 6 weeks. 

The photo on the right would have been taken of Alex not long before his death, I am guessing.
Alex was the son of Orkney, Scotland immigrant James Sinclair and Scotish by way of Ontario immigrant Elizabeth Henry.  He farmed 16-14-22 with his family until his untimely death.  
His mother, Elizabeth had a brother, Alexander who died at age 10 in 1882 just after the Mary Henry family came to Manitoba. Alexander Henry has a grave marker in the Rapid City cemetery, pictured above.  It appears that an accident of some sort in Rapid City claimed his young life but I have been unable to find out details about it. 

This clipping about Alex Sinclair's death has kept very well for being 96 years old.  How unfortunate to print his last name wrong but Henry was his mothers maiden name and a stepbrother Jimmie lived in the same household with the surname Henry so it is explainable.  One forgets that the custom in those days was to have funeral services from the home of the deceased. 
The Permit of  Burial  above was found in a box of papers that belonged to the Sinclairs.  It says that Alexander died of Rheumatism after a sickness of three months.  I have found during research online that influenza and rheumatic fever and their after effects were the leading cause of death in children from 5 to 20 years old in the 1920's.  The only treatment was salicylates (an aspirin like drug) and bed rest.  Sulfa drugs (penicillin) that prevent the growth of bacteria were not in common usage until WWII. 

Alexander is buried at White Bank Lea Cemetery, north of Oak River and his large marble headstone in the family plot bears the verse:
Tho' Lost To Sight
To Memory Dear
Four of Alex's cousins, children of his mother's brother, William Henry, died tragically a few miles away from the epidemic of influenza earlier that year in March of 1920.  This would have been the same time that Alexander got sick.  Their obituary notice below was found online from the Oak River Post.  

To lose four children in two days has just been the exceptionally sad
lot of Mr. and Mrs. William HENRY, the cause of death in each case being
pneumonia following influenza. George T., aged 18 years and 11 months,
and Della aged 14 years and 5 months, died less than an hour apart on
Friday morning, and Wilfred James, aged sixteen, and Edith aged eleven,
passed away early Sunday morning. The deceased were all of a robust
constitution and particularly well developed for their age, but in spite
of this and all that medical science could do for them, the disease was
of such a malignant type that they could not withstand its ravages.
The four children were buried in White Bank Lea cemetery, the former
two on Saturday forenoon and the latter two on Sunday evening, Rev. Wm.
FERGUSON officiating.
Four pleasant faces will be greatly missed from the life of our
community, and our tenderest sympathies are extended to the fond parents
in their grief.
The photo of the Henry children's grave marker at White Bank Lea is below. There is an interesting research paper online recounting life in rural Saskatchewan during the Spanish Flu Epidemic and I am sure it was a terrifying time for everyone.   
Three grandchildren of Mary Henry's sister Ellen died in 1919 of the same disease.  Erma, Doris and Melvin Wilson are buried in White Bank Lea Cemetery as well.  Stories like these from my family tree make me realize and appreciate the medical advances that have happened in the years since then and fewer families today have to deal with the heartbreak and loss that was so common in the times of my ancestors.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Week 15 - Jane Garrick Sinclair Fortune

 Jean Garrick Sinclair Fortune (1894 - 1978)


Jean, also called Jane and Jeannie, was born in 1894 at the Bankburn farm to James Sinclair and Elizabeth Henry. Jane Garrick was also her paternal grandmother's maiden name although it is spelled "Garrioch" in the Orkney Islands of Northern Scotland where she lived.  Jean went to school at Bankburn, near the family farm, along with her one year younger sister Ellen from Week 12.  Jean is standing beside Ellen (Nellie) in the studio photo above, I am guessing from the late teens or early twenties.  My paternal grandmother Mary was also a sister to Jeannie.

The letter below is a scan of one that Jean wrote to her sister Lizzie in 1910.  It shows the everyday life of the Sinclair family involving farm work, visiting, and homemaking. I hope you can click on it and enlarge it big enough to read. I'd be glad to send you a copy of it if not!

A wedding announcement for Jean to Stan Fortune is online at Roots-Web from the Oak River Post in 1920.  I am not sure if it was a reporter or a family member that wrote it but it has wonderful descriptions!  The photo below was taken at a studio in Edmonton so I presume it was their wedding portrait.


The spacious home of James SINCLAIR, in which the fire in the open hearth added a touch of warmth and brightness, was the scene of a happy event on Wednesday afternoon of last week when his second daughter Jean Garrick became the bride of George Stanley FORTUNE. At precisely four o'clock the bride looking charming in a becoming gown of white silk crepe-de-chene entered the drawing room on the arm of her father and took her place beside the groom. The beautiful marriage ceremony was read by Rev. Wm. FERGUSON and the vows were taken in the presence of their immediate relatives including uncles and aunts. After congratulations had been extended and the
register signed the company sat down to a sumptuous wedding dinner. After a few hours of social intercourse the young couple left amid a shoer of good wishes and confetti for Edmonton and other points via G.T.P. On their return from their honeymoon they will take up their abode on the farm owned by Mr. FORTUNE near Cardale. The Post joins with its readers in wishing them a long and happy life in their new relationship.

This photo is of Stan Fortune in the middle with Jean's two brothers, Bill on the left and Alexander on the right. Alex died in May of 1920 so the photo predates then. 

Above, Stan Fortune is standing beside Jean's half brother, James "Jimmie" Henry.  I am guessing it was taken in the late teens or the early 1920's, as Stan was born in 1890 and Jimmy was born in 1883.

Jean is at the left of this picture with the black tie, sitting on the steps of the Sinclair home.  Nellie, at the back is holding Irene and Ken and Arnold are in front.  On the right, Jean's sister Lizzie is behind her sister-in-law Jessie, wearing matching dresses.  This photo dates around 1926, by the ages of the Fortune children.

Stan and Jean had four children, Ken, Arnold, Irene and Joyce.  They also had eleven grandchildren.   Aunt Dodie remembered one incident with her Fortune cousins in her memoirs:
One time while we were visiting at the Sinclair farm, the three Fortunes – Ken, Arnold, and Joyce – were there staying. Somehow, they along with Gwennie locked me in the pump house. So I was ready for them. I had a dipper full of cold water waiting to throw in their faces when they would later come back and let me out. But the person who next opened the door was a handyman, John Butterworth, an Englishman who worked there for some years. When the cold water hit him in the face, I ran. All he remarked was “Owww – that was cowled”. The others looking out the loft window went into fits.

Dad remembers that his Uncle Stan was always busy trucking something for someone, pigs, cattle, grain and that he hauled lumber for the Simms barn from Riding Mountain Park area in one load in 1942.  He also recalls that Stan was an excellent mechanic and could fix anything, a skill that he passed on to his son, Ken.

This photo was likely taken in 1955 of Jean on the far left with her surviving siblings, Bill, Mary, Nellie and Lizze with Jack Morcom sitting at the right.  Morcoms are wearing corsages and it may have been their 25th wedding anniversary party at the Sinclair home. 

 I remember visiting at Aunt Jean and Uncle Stan's home beside Cardale Lake, maybe it was during their 50th anniversary celebration in 1970.  I remember passing by their house a few years later and was surprised to see it was a big slough, not the lake I thought it was!  The most amazing thing about their house to me was the intercom system between their home and Ken and Ethel's in the same yard.   Amazing technology for the 70's!
Jean died suddenly in 1978 and Stan in 1988 at the age of 98 years. He continued to be active farmer with his sons into his nineties and remarried at age 94.
I welcome your memories of Jean and Stan in the comments below.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Week 14 - Stephen Alden Kinnaird

 Stephen Alden Kinnaird (1891 - 1945)

The older brother of my Grandpa Kinnaird was born in Morewood, Ontario on September 8, 1891. His birth certificate names him as Stephen "Aldin" but every other document I found spells it "Alden".  I wonder where the name "Alden" came from as often I've found that mother's maiden names and family names were used as middle names. His mother was a Carruthers and I have not seen that name used in any of her extended family connections.  His maternal grandmother's maiden name was Steven, with a v not a ph.. Stephen's mother, the former Margaret Carruthers, died of tuberculosis in 1894 before he turned 3 years old. His father, George from week 6 of this blog, remarried Elizann Crump two years later.   

On the 1901 Ontario census, nine year old Stephen is living in Winchester Township with his father, stepmother Elizann, twin 3 year old stepbrothers and another one year old stepbrother. His 7 year old brother William Francis (Frank), my grandfather, can be found living nearby with his uncle Stuart Carruthers, his wife Jane and their three sons ages 5 - 1. In the above photo, Frank is standing and Stephen is sitting.  I am guessing it was taken shortly before Frank moved to Manitoba to live with his aunt Christina Carruthers O'Neil
I have not yet found Stephen on the 1911 Ontario census. He is not with his father on his farm in Finch County nor in the surrounding area.  He may have been missed or his name misspelled or mis-transcribed. 
Stephen married Ida McDonald on February 12 in 1913 in Kenmore, Carlton Township, part of present day city of Ottawa. He was 21 and she was18. They went on to have two sons, Orval and Ellis. Aunt Marjorie and Uncle Tom travelled to southern Ontario in the late 70's and early '80's where she was able to meet these cousins of hers for the first time. The above picture is of Stephen's sons, Ellis on the left and Orval on the right.  I have also seen his name spelled "Orville" but on his birth certificate he is named "Orval Francis". 

The photo above is of Stephen on the far right. Also in the picture is his father George and his eldest son, Orval. It would have been taken in about 1920.  In 1921, Stephen lived in Vernon and his occupation was a cheese maker. He managed the cheese factory at  Belmeade says  this online resource from 1925. One of his twin stepbrothers, Ellis, was also a cheese maker. Sadly, that Ellis Kinnaird died young in 1918 from influenza and pneumonia.  
The following quote is from a webpage about the history of cheese making in Southern Ontario. 
Cheese has always been an essential source of nourishment in the pioneer diet. Today it is considered a delicacy but in early days it was a staple food. Its importance lay in the fact that it improved with age, rather than deteriorating as most fresh foods did. There was no refrigeration. A cool cellar or a marble slab was their only way of cooling foods. It is well known that there is no better cheddar cheese than that of Eastern Ontario.

He was an elder in the Osgoode Presbyterian Church in Vernon for a time and his family also attended Reid's Mills Church near Belmeade.

Aunt Marjorie remembers the late night phone call in 1945 saying her Uncle Stephen had died very unexpectedly at age 54.  He is buried with his wife Ida, who died 32 years later, at Maple Ridge Cemetery near Chesterville in Dundas, Ontario.

Ida McDonald - wife of Stephen A. obituary