Friday, 9 May 2014

Week 19 - John "Jack" Morcom

Jack Morcom (1899 - 1983)

Jack, husband to my Great Aunt Lizzie, was born on May 2, 1899 in St. Day, neat the southern tip of Cornwall, England.  His father was William James Isaac Morcom and his mother was Nannie Michell.  He went to school at St Day School and also Truno College.  He came to Canada at the age of 14 with his mother and older brother Harry.  A younger brother Bert stayed in England for a few years before joining them.  Jack's father was employed as a mining engineer in South Africa.   He came to Canada too but rather than farm, he worked searching for gold for the Central Manitoba Mines at Bissett , east of Lake Winnipeg, until he retired in 1935. Uncle Jack began farming for himself in 1927.
Although she was not certain, Aunt Dodie thought this picture was Jack's parents.

Below is the obituary for Jack's parents, found online from Roots Web.  (Gerry Perry had some old issues of the Oak River Post and typed many articles onto an online message board in 2002. These clippings have been so helpful to me in my family research.)
From the Oak River Post, Oak River, MB (now changed to The Blanshard-Harrison-Strathclair Post, Newdale, Man.)  11/9/1939  
The Oak River community was profoundly shocked last week when two highly respected residents, in the persons of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. I. MORCOM, passed away within exactly three days of each other.
At 10:30 a.m. Thursday Mrs. MORCOM expired, following a slight stroke suffered the previous Sunday. The funeral took place Saturday afternoon to the Oak River cemetery, Rev. H. J. HARLAND officiating. The pallbearers were Messrs. J. A. HYNDMAN, H. H. GLINZ, W. SINCLAIR, Robt. GRAHAM, Rupert JONES and G. H. THOMPSON.
At 10;30 a.m. Sunday Mr. MORCOM died in the arms of his son, W. H.
MORCOM. He had been in failing health for over a year, and was unable to withstand the shock of his wife's death. The funeral was held Monday afternoon, conducted by Rev. Mr. HARLAND. Interment was made in the Oak River cemetery, beside Mrs. MORCOM. The Cardale Masonic lodge, supported by Freemasons from throughout the district, conducted the last rites of the order at the graveside. The pallbearers were Messrs. J. A. HYNDMAN, S. W. SMITH, R. L. COCHRAN, S. J. MC CORMICK and M. A. HYNDMAN.
Mr. and Mrs. MORCOM (nee Nannie MICHELL) were both born in St. Day,
Cornwall, England, the former July 5, 1865, the latter Oct. 29, 1862. They were married at Pachuca, Mexico, Dec. 29, 1890, where Mr. MORCOM held a mining position and Mrs. MORCOM was living with her parents. Mrs. MORCOM and sons, W. H. and Jack, came to Oak River from England in 1914 and located on the present farm 5 miles north of town. A third son, Herbert, arrived from College in England in 1916. Mr. MORCOM came from his mining position in South Africa in 1920. Mr. and Mrs. MORCOM are survived by three sons, Councillor W. H. and Jack, Oak River, and Capt. Herbert, Montreal.
Mr. MORCOM devoted his life to mining and electrical engineering. He
spent two years in iron mining in Minnesota, followed by five years in silver mining in Mexico. In 1895 he moved to South Africa, and engaged in gold mining in the Whitwatersand and diamond mining at Kimberly until coming to Oak River. In 1937 he concluded ten years service as chief engineer with the Central Manitoba gold mines.
Mr. MORCOM possessed a strong and attractive personality. He was always interested in Freemasonry, holding membership in Craft, Mark, Royal Arch and other bodies. He was responsible for the organization of two lodges in S. Africa. He was elected and served for a number of years on the town council of Krugersdorp, S.A., a suburb of Johannesburg. He was also president of the Transvaal Cornish association. During the Boer war Mr. MORCOM served as captain quartermaster.
William (Bill)  Sinclair, his brother in law, is standing beside Jack in this studio portrait from Martel's Studio in Brandon. 

Jack married my Grandma's sister Elizabeth "Lizzie " Sinclair in December of 1930.  

They began farming the east half of 20-14-22.  Dad told me a funny story about this farm being overrun with rats.  He remembers being there one night and when they turned on the car lights, rats of every colour ran in all directions!  (It's only funny because I wasn't there!)
Thirteen years later Lizzie and Jack bought land a mile east.  Their house was located on SW 22-14-22, pictured above.  My Uncle Bob and Aunt Margaret moved to this farm in 1965 when Jack and Lizzie retired to live in Oak River.  The next quarter north of this one what was always called "The Homestead" by my family because Charles Henry, cousin to Lizzie's mother, had first taken it out in 1879.

Jack specialized in purebred Clydesdale horses and he exhibited them at all the local fairs.  At different times, he had horses chosen to compete in the Royal Winter Fair at Toronto.   Among his winnings there was a shield for the top Clydesdale gelding bred, born, raised and owned in Canada.

They took at least one trip to the "old country" in the 1950's to see friends and relatives of Jack's.  The picture on the left was taken of them in the Sinclair house in front of the fireplace in the parlour.  The other is a studio picture, likely from the 50's I am guessing.

This photo was taken on the steps of the Simms house in the 1970's.    I am the one wearing the scarf on my head (why?) and my sisters and Lizzie are behind us.  On the other side of Jack in the green shirt is Fiona, a neighbour of Lizzie and Jack's who spent a lot of time with them.
I remember Uncle Jack with his pouch of tobacco in his shirt pocket and him rolling his own cigarettes with tobacco falling out everywhere!  He was always one to tease and I remember him fondly. 

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