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?


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