Friday, 23 May 2014

Week 21 - James Kinnaird

James Kinnaird (1864 - 1903)

This week I am writing about another one of my own ancestor's siblings that died without having any descendants of their own.  This seems to be a recurring theme of this blog- telling the life stories of people with no direct line of descendants to come looking for them.  Maybe I watch too much Long Island Medium but when I think about who to write about next, the answer just seems to pop into my head on its own!  This week my story is about James Kinnaird, younger brother of my great grandfather William George.

James Kinnaird was born on March 14, 1864 in Toledo in Kitley Township, Ontario. He was baptized in nearby St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at 2 months old with his parents listed as George Kinnaird and Mary A. Nisbit.  His brother and sister's names are on the same register page as being baptized the year before.  After this baptism, I have not found his father George Chester on any other document and his mother remarried Thomas Levi Cummings in 1868.  An online tree gives his death date as 1882 but where he was in the meantime, I don't know. 

The 1871 Canadian Census find 6 year old James with the last name of Cummings, that of his stepfather.  He is in Winchester Township with his 7 year old sister Elizabeth, 9 year old brother William G (my great grandfather), his mother Maryann who is 35 and his stepfather Thomas who is described as 44 years old and a millwright.  The early Canadian census had a column to note any disabilities and beside Thomas it indicates "blind".  A blind millwright ?

Millwrights are often referred to as the people who designed and built the mills that ground the grain into flour and meal.  With increased mechanization, they were the equivalent of mechanics today.  I couldn't imagine being blind and able to work at that job in the 1800's!

The 1881 census shows the same family with 16 year old James, 20 year old William and the stepfather Thomas all with the last name Cummings and all carpenters.  The column for disabilities is obscured on the copy of the census that I have seen.

In the 1891 census above, Mary is a widow and is listed as a seamstress.  James now has the last name Kinnaird and he is 27 years old.  I can't make out his occupation in the enlargement below (under Seamstress and above Labourer).  Willow wood?  The form indicates he is blind. 

The 1901 census confirms James is blind and he is now 37 years old and living with his mother.  She lived until 1906 but James died on April 27, 1903 at the age of 39 (although the death certificate says he was 35) the cause of death is Bright's Disease  which he had for 1 year.  At the time of his death, he was living at 88 Main Street in Chesterville.  Bright's disease is a disorder of the kidneys caused by protein in the urine that is known today as nephritis.  It could have been a result of kidney disease, an autoimmune deficiency, or an infection.  Treatment would have likely included blood letting and warm baths but they were not very successful.

I have not yet found a burial spot for James or his mother or stepfather.  More and more cemeteries are being photographed and put online through websites like Find A Grave and I will continue to try to find his final resting place. 

1 comment:

  1. Sean's brother used to live near a Toledo, so have been through that area many times! Come this summer and we'll explore!