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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

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