Saturday, 31 December 2016

My Ancestors at Canada's Confederation

With 2017 being the 150th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, the genealogist in me wondered about the lives of my ancestors in that year.  Some were already living in the land about to become a country, some were probably contemplating emigration and perhaps some had never heard of what was to become the Dominion of Canada!  What follows is a list of my ancestors and where they were in 1867, how old they were and anything else I know about what they were doing.
  • Great Grandfather William Simms was turning 13 years old and lived with his family in County Antrim near Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.  He was second eldest of 8 siblings living with parents Henry and Jane.  Thirteen years later, he would marry and move to Canada to farm  and raise a family at Mountain, near Ottawa.
  • Great Grandmother Agnes McAllister is still a bit of a mystery to me but I think she would have been 8 that year and lived in Antrim as well.  I believe her 11 year old brother Ephraim came to Canada and settled in Alberta around the same time she and William Simms left for Ontario, in 1880 but don't know of other siblings or who her parents were.
  • Great Grandfather James Sinclair would have turned 10 years old that year and lived on the island of South Ronaldsay in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.  He, two sisters and a brother lived with their farming parents William and Jane.  Sixteen years would go by before he would follow his Uncle James Garrioch (Garrick) to Canada, never to return.    
  • Great Grandmother Elizabeth Henry would be almost 11 and farming with her family in Hibbert Township in Perth County, Ontario.  Nine years previously they had emigrated from Troqueer, Kirkkudbrightsire in Scotland.  By 1867, parents William and Mary had 2 more girls and 3 boys.  William Henry would only live 11 more years and then the Widow Mary and her family of 11 would leave for Blanshard, Manitoba in 1882.  One wonders when or if news of the naming and formation of the new country "Canada" would have reached the family.  
  • Great Grandfather William George Kinnaird was turning 6 years old and lived with his younger brother and sister along with 4 step siblings from his father's first marriage. George Chester and Mary Ann Kinnaird were farmers in Kitley Township, Ontario.  There is no proof but Mary Ann may have been a single mother of the brood of 7 in 1867 as she remarried to Thomas Levi Cummings in 1868. 
  • Great Grandmother Margaret Carruthers lived in Dundas County near Ottawa and would have been coming 3.  Along with parents Andrew William and Jane, there were 2 brothers and 1 sister in her family at that time.  I believe the Carruthers were farmers although I have read references to Andrew William being a teacher as well.  
  • Second Great Grandfather John Milne would be 14 that year and likely lived with his parents Lewis and Annie.  He had 11 siblings but no doubt some of the older ones would have been out living and working on their own.  They farmed a small croft at Bogbain, near Keith in Aberdeenshire in Northeast Scotland. In six years he would marry and in 1911, John would follow some of his children to emigrate to Canada. 
  • Second Great Grandmother Ann Robertson was almost 14 in 1867 but I don't know anything about her home or family yet.  She died in Scotland 29 years later, after having nine children with John Milne including my great grandfather Alexander.
  • Second Great Grandmother Maggie Duncan would see her 14th birthday that year in Aberdeenshire, Scotland with parents William and Helen and 7 siblings.  Nine years later she would marry in nearby Ythan Wells and go on to have a family of five including their eldest, my great grandmother Jeannie.  Family lore says she died in England in 1905 but I've not found any confirmation yet.  
  • Second Great Grandfather James Jamieson would celebrate his 12th birthday in 1867 but beyond that I don't know much about him.  He was born in Marnoch, Banffshire, Scotland.  On his daughter Jeannie's wedding invitation in 1897 his widow was called " Mrs. W.D. Jamieson".  He had a son who was also given the same initials, William Duncan Jamieson.   
So much has happened in the past 150 years and the last country-wide centennial celebration in 1967 left many lasting legacies in our communities.  I hope that 2017 will do the same and instill the same pride in a next generation of Canadians.  I do wonder if there will be a snappy little song this year like Bobby Gimby's Canada song that sticks in our heads in 2067!    

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas Eve Shopping 1944

This old receipt from the Simms house helps me imagine my Grandmother Mary, Christmas eve shopping for her family 72 years ago in 1944.  One stop shopping for gifts, candy, and even the wrapping paper for less than ten dollars! It sounds like so little but the Inflation Calculator online says that would be the equivalent of $131.23 today.   Her husband Alex  had died a little over 3 years before and there were 5 children to buy for.  Bob would have been 28 years old, Doris was 23, Gwen 21, and the twins Dorothy and my dad Donald were 12.

It would turn out to be the last Christmas of WWII but of course they wouldn't know that at the time. Rationing was in place for items like meat, butter, sugar, tea and coffee as well as gasoline, alcohol and silk. Being farmers, they produced their own meat and butter but had to use government issued coupons to purchase other restricted goods. The United Store in Oak River was Glinz's Store, run by Harvey and Mona Glinz. His brother, Art Glinz had retired from store keeping in 1943 but I recall him with his long-bladed speed skates whipping around the skating ice in the 1960's and 70's.

Simms Siblings in studio photo taken for their mother for Christmas on December 10, 1949.
Bob and Don in the back.  Doris, Dorothy and Gwen in front. 

The back of the receipt supplies a Kitchen Reminder - a list of popular shopping items for humans and their livestock of the time. I had to look up some (Apples - Evaporated, Glauber Salts, Junket, Oilcake Meal, Mapleine, and Mucilage) and others just made me cringe (Gopher Poison, Rat-Nip and Sulphur Flour).  It never ceases to amaze me with the things I can learn and imagine from one old piece of paper!



Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Little Cream Jug

We came across this little cream jug while cleaning out a closet this summer and I've finally got around to researching it.  We are not sure which side of my family it came from but I've found it dates to around the 1930's or 40's.

 With a picture of a clipper ship, the bottom says Gray Pottery Hanley England.  Albert Edward Gray started a factory in England that was at its height in the 1930's but continued producing pottery ware right up until the 60's. The faint green stamp underneath the bright yellow maker's mark with the clipper ship was quite common and indicates the jug itself was made by another company and then Gray Pottery did the hand painting as decoration.  The design is like one I've found online called leaves and grapes but not exactly. With each jug being hand painted however, there would be variation I suppose.

The type of pottery is called copper lusterware and this website gives a helpful description of the way some of the unique copper-like design was created using a resist method.  

This one above from the Etsy website is the closest I could find in decoration but the shape and handle are different.  

This one from picclick is the same shape as ours but a slightly different design, without the green grapes part of the design. 
The Gray Pottery site shows this one with the pink flower along with several others on a slide show of pottery that came from the factory at Stoke-on-Trent, England

It's a cute little piece that is less than 6 centimeters tall so its practical uses are limited.  It has found a place on a shelf in my house however!

Simms to Simms 1930

This Bill of Sale from January 1930, details the transaction of all his possessions from my paternal grandfather, Alex Simms to his wife Mary for the sum of one dollar.  No one knows what led up to this transfer but I assume Alex owed someone money and his possessions were at risk of being taken to pay the loan.  By transferring these goods, chattels and effects to his wife, he kept them from the creditors until times improved.  The circumstances don't really matter but the list of property owned by my grandparents in 1930 is fascinating!   It has been a bit of a struggle to make out the handwriting and figure out what each item was and what its contribution to farming in the early days on the prairie was. The pictures were found on Google searches and may not be right!  Please let me know.

  • our bay gelding star on forehead
  • our chestnut gelding stripes on face
  • our bay team of horses, 2 bay mares stripes on forehead 
  • our gray gelding, our gray mare, our piebald gelding 
  • our bay gelding star on forehead, 1 gray gelding, our brown mare
  • 10 milk cows, 4 heifers two years old, 9 yearling calves 
  • seven pigs, 100 hens
  •  J I Case 15-27 engine, 
  • our Deering Binder, 
  • our Massey Harris Binder, 
  • our Deering Mower, 
  • our 22 disc drill, 
  • 2 John Deere plows, 
  • Our Great West Plow, 
  • Our set 6 furrow harrow, 
  • Our Massey cultivator, 
  • 1 Roers Cultivator, 
  • 3 high wagons, one truck wagon, 
  • 3 racks, 2 sets of sleighs, 1 wagon box, 
  • 4 hp engine, 
  • our crusher, 
  • 1 fanning mill.
  • Ford Car 1918 model, 
  • our democrat,
  • several sets of Harness,
  •  a quantity of feed and  ? ,
  •  all General Household furniture

It is certainly an interesting document from the past and I learned a lot about farming 86 years ago from writing this blog post!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Henry Brothers in the News - Part Three

Now - the final tale of the Henry brothers that were involved in the 1877 shooting of an aboriginal man as detailed in this blog post.  Joseph's (1857-1896) end came with a shotgun blast from a short tempered 20 year old Arthur Gerhold as written about here.  Today's post tells of the death of Charles Henry and resulting legal proceedings as it was reported in the newspapers papers of the time.  Aunt Dodie's notes about him refer to him as " Red Charlie" so as to distinguish him from his cousin Charlie.  

Charlie was born the 24th of October in 1862 in Listowel, Ontario.  He came west with his family at the age of 16 and according to family history, took out several pre-emptions before homesteading on SW 22-14-22 in April of 1892. (This was my Uncle Bob and Aunt Margaret Simms' farm home when I was growing up.)
Interestingly, paperwork for a $500 mortgage with The London and Canadian Loan and Agency Company Limited on the original John Henry farm at W 22-13-21 from September of 1884 was found among some Henry papers. Charles had a handsome signature which I assume indicates an education in Ontario.

On February 25, 1885, Charles had married Fanny Sarah Cleaver (daughter of Thomas Cleaver and Katherine McNeil) at the manse in Oak River.  Charlie and Sarah became parents to Ida Ethel (b 1887), Viola May (1890), Percival Albert (1892), John Thomas (1895), Roy Elmer (1896) and Leslie Hilmger (June 1898).  Another son Harvey Harold Cleaver was born in January of 1899.

The story goes that on July 4th 1898, Charles, Alex Miller, Ab Hayes and  R. Cornborough  went to see the Lemen Brothers Circus in Rapid City. The main attraction at this circus was apparently Rajah, claimed to be the largest elephant that ever walked the earth.  Tom, the boxing kangaroo along with the "Monster Show" made the tour of Gladstone, Birtle, Yorkton, Russell and Neepawa as well as Winnipeg that summer.  The Portage La Prairie Weekly August 11, 1898 edition reported:
Several parties who were to see the Lemen Bros. Circus at Rapid City came back disgusted.  They report swindling and gambling the order of the day.  
Ironically, swindling and gambling would have been much better than the fate that awaited Charlie that day.  Arriving too late to see the circus, the men decided to make the rounds of the local hotels and began drinking.  Newspaper accounts say between 9 and 10 o'clock that night words were exchanged and then fighting began with some Rapid City boys.  Charles was hit on the head with a club or pole as part of the melee.  Thomas Cleaver (perhaps his brother-in-law?) was also stabbed in the back with a penknife while trying to come to the aid of the Oak Riverites.  After the fight broke up, Henry and two of his friends loaded up in the wagon and headed for home.  Somewhere on the road home, his companions noticed he was unresponsive and that Charles died.  They rushed him to Oak River where the Dr Jackson declared him dead and found a blow to the base of his skull to be the cause.

Found on

Investigation into the event began and Charlie's sister Jessie Henry, who worked at a hotel in Rapid City, claimed she overheard a man admit to her boss that he had delivered the fatal blow.  At the Fall Assizes of 1898, Christopher Stewart of Rapid City, the accused, pled not guilty in the death and Miss Henry's boss denied Stewart had ever confessed to her.  In the end, he was found not guilty of manslaughter. Witnesses said the man who struck Henry ran after him into the mill pond but the doctor who treated Stewart that night testified his pant legs were not wet while tending a wound on his knee 30 minutes after the fight.

Thirty-five year old Charles Henry was buried at White Bank Lea Cemetery, not far from his homestead.  In 1907, his widow and her five surviving children moved to Dauphin. The youngest two sons had also died in the meantime, compounding her grief and hardship.  Sarah passed away in Dauphin on August 18, 1926 at age 61.

It has been most interesting to me to research these three stories.  The style of blunt and graphic writing in the local papers in the early days of western Manitoba is fascinating.  Fellow Henry researcher Mary Bole intrigued me about them in her book called the Henry History written in 1998. offers a seven day free trial.  Try it - you never know what you might find...

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Henry Brothers in the News - Part Two

Following his not guilty verdict for manslaughter in November of 1887 as detailed in this blog post, Joseph Cook Henry went about his life out of the newspapers for the next nine years.

He had earlier returned to his former home in Perth, Ontario to wed Mary Purdon on the 2nd of March in 1886.  Joseph was 28 years old at the time of his marriage and Mary was 30. He had come to Manitoba to homestead at the age of 22 and may have finally felt ready to bring a bride to the west at that time.  They had a daughter named Janet Barbara (known as Jennie) in August of 1887, and their lives would have been hard and full of dangers.  The Manitoba Free Press clipping from October 14, 1887 reported from the preliminary trial;
It appears that Joseph Henry's family had been forced for some nights to leave their own home on another section, and take refuge in the home of Mr. Henry, sr., being in constant dread of the Indians.  The evening before the shooting the Indians had endeavored to break into the house of Joseph but could not.  At the first opportunity the family left.  After the shooting, Joseph visited the house and found that it had been ransacked.  There were five witnesses examined and their evidence was corroborative of the above.  
Joseph's father, John Henry Sr., had died in September of 1888 but his sons carried on farming and building up their farms.  In the 1891 census, Joseph's  family of three was living in the Rapid City subdistrict with 22 year old Duncan L. Purdon, maybe Mary's brother. As a homesteader, he would have searched out other sources of cash income to make up for crop failures and lack of markets for what he did produce.  Joseph became the superintendent of local government well boring machine number 4, perhaps like the one pictured below.  In mid August of 1896, fate found the 39 year old drilling a well on a farm belonging to David Jackson on 6-15-20, five miles straight east of present day Cardale on Road 355.

On the 17th of August in 1896, Joseph again makes the newspapers in this graphic account of his violent death.

Found on

This website has gathered all the newspaper accounts of the day and says that Arthur Gerhold had come to Canada from England with the "Sailing Alone" program in June of 1893 at he age of 17 and worked on the Jackson farm for $135/year.  Although some accounts of the time call him a Bernardo boy, this does not appear to be the case but the Sailing Alone program seems similar in nature - giving a new start in Canada to poor boys and girls from England.  Arthur was said to have made a full confession of killing Joseph to the police constable who transported him from Rapid City to Brandon and did the same in a letter to his parents back in England.  This letter was intercepted by the prison guards and although challenged, it was admitted as evidence against him at his trial.
Dear mother and father--Just a few lines to let you know of the trouble I am in now. Last Monday morning I had a quarrel with a man that has been at Mr. Jackson's boring for water in which I shot him. We had another last Saturday afternoon in which he was pretty near laying me out and he started again at me yesterday morning in which I settled him.
Do not be down-hearted to hear of this news. I am here waiting a trial, forty miles from Jackson, my late boss. I will let you know the verdict if you don't happen to hear it through the papers. It will be a case of manslaughter in which it depends upon the juries verdict whether I get off easy or not.
It is a bad thing to happen, but I could not help it. I was in a bad temper when it happened. Do not worry. I thought I had better let you know. I will write again if possible, so cheer up. With kind love to all and yourselves, good-bye. From your faraway son, (Arthur.)
The trial of Arthur Gerhold took place in front of a judge and jury in Brandon a few months later at the Fall Assizes.
Winnipeg Free Press - November 19, 1896

This afternoon Dr. Crookshank, of Rapid City, a practitioner of medicine of that place, was the first witness called, and he testified to having been called to view the body just after the murder. He said that he had examined the wound which caused Henry's death. ... The deceased was personally known to him and he was of the opinion that deceased would be a true friend, or if antagonized he could be, and would be, a bitter enemy. He was the coroner who sat on the inquest, which inquired into the death of the Indian that Henry had been arrested and acquitted on the charge of murdering.
The jury failed to agree on a verdict and a new one was called. (I presume their difficulty was whether this was a case of murder or manslaughter, not whether he was the one responsible.) The second jury found Gerhold guilty of manslaughter and the judge sentenced him to 20 years at Stony Mountain.  He was released from prison in 1911 and moved to Massachusetts where Arthur Gerhold married and had a family.

Joseph was buried in the Henry family plot at the Rapid City Cemetery.  His widow Mary and daughter Jennie were living in Brandon according to the 1901 census and in 1916, Mary was with Jennie and her husband George Abra in Neepawa.  She later moved east with them where they were in Kitchener on the 1921 Canadian census.  Mary died in Niagara Falls in 1942.

There is one more tragic chapter in this tale concerning Charles Henry, not this one but his cousin Charles.  To be continued...

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Henry Brothers in the News - Part One

My great grandmother Elizabeth Henry Sinclair, grew up with 10 siblings and 11 other Henry cousins in the Perth area of Ontario in the 1860's and 70's. As the boys grew and were looking to acquire land of their own, her Uncle John and Aunt Jennet and family made the move west to Blanshard Manitoba in 1879 and the Widow Mary and her brood followed in 1881.  Times were tough by all accounts but newspaper articles from the time I've recently found bring home that point even more.  Rather than judge the Henry boys for a wild and rough lifestyle, I prefer to marvel at their resilience and be thankful my life and times are so much kinder and gentler.

In October of 1887, the Manitoba newspapers are full of stories about so called "Indian Troubles" in the west. The Northwest Rebellion was a short 2 years past and the following article was found in the Manitoba Free Press on Monday, October 10, 1887.

Found on
Four days later the same paper has more details about the incident under the understated heading "A Little Unpleasantness Between the Indians and the Settlers at Rapid City"
The Henry family, comprising of father, mother and several sons, live on adjoining sections some miles west of Rapid City and are among the most peaceable and law abiding citizens in that country.  Last year the Henry's had all their crop destroyed by fires, started they were almost certain by Indians.  They had not enough left to keep them in food during the winter. This year a large crop was put in and harvested, and a considerable quantity of hay put up.  Fire guards were run around the stacks, and every precaution taken to prevent fire.  On Tuesday of last week, however a 40 ton hay stack some distance from the house was seen to be on fire and an Indian (the one subsequently shot) passing in its neighborhood. That the stack was not burned by prairie fires was evident from the fact that outside the fire guards the prairie was unburned.  This gave the Henry's reason for being alarmed and at once they set out to defend themselves and their crops.  The following day, Wednesday, fire was seen approaching their wheat stacks from the neighborhood of the Indians' camp.   Mr. Henry Sr immediately started for the endangered stacks and on reaching them found an Indian seated at the base of one, scratching something as if about to strike a match. On the arrival of Mr. Henry, the Indian ran, sprang over a fence and left the vicinity.The next morning, Thursday, Joseph, son of Mr. Henry, started out on his pony and had not gone far before he met the Indian that they had suspected was in a ravine near the house, causing them so much trouble.  He ordered the Indian away but he would not go. Hearing the conversation the old man told Charles to go down and take the gun with him to frighten the Indian.....
Of course you know much more resulted than his being frightened and the body was taken charge of by the reeve of the municipality, a Mr McCallum, and placed in a granary on a Henry cousin's farm.  An inquest was to be held but the granary and body were set fire to and destroyed by unknown persons.  Joseph and Charles were then arrested and taken to Brandon.  An old friend of their father's, Mr. Martin from Portage La Prairie, was sent for to defend them.  Some courtroom drama ensued and the charge against the brothers was changed from murder to manslaughter.  After paying bail of $1000 each, they were home that evening to await their trail at the Fall Assizes in a month's time.
It is incredible to think the name of the victim was never known, or at least reported.  The language used showed the reporter's bias toward the settlers The brothers were acquitted of the crime by jury as you can read about in this link.

It is an incredible story on its own but the ironic part is both Henry brothers involved - Joseph and Charles - will come to their own unexpected and violent deaths within the next 11 years.  Stay tuned dear readers...

Friday, 16 September 2016

Our People

The phrase "Our People" reminds me of my Aunt Dodie and Great Aunt Nannie. It is an expression I remember them using when they talked about anyone connected to the Widow Henry's connections. I don't suppose they were the type of people to intend to exclude others but it reminds me of another description of theirs for the Henry's - we come from "Good Stock".   It was 35 years ago this past summer when a Henry Reunion (program below) was held in Oak River which included over 250 descendants of Mary Tait Henry.

It is amazing to think that 3 generations back, all but 2 of Mary's 10 surviving children lived in Blanshard Manitoba within a few short miles of her.  Daughter Ellen Turriff lived at Rapid City,  some 30 kilometres away with her family and Mary Wilson was further afield at Gilbert Plains.  Her sons Ned, Charles, ThomasWilliam and Jack homesteaded adjacent quarters and daughters Elizabeth and Janet and Joanna married neighbouring farmers and raised their families close to home. Keeping up on the lives of "Our People" was important to them with many hours spent visiting and no doubt writing letters back and forth.

My recent connection with one of "Our People" makes me realize how far the Henry descendants are spread across the world today.  At his home in Nagasaki, Japan while searching his mother's name, Brian Burke-Gaffney came across my blog page here about his maternal grandparents.  Their young tragic deaths is one of the saddest stories I've uncovered in my family history research.  The post included a photo of Hubert and Janet Sparling's gravestone at White Bank Lea Cemetery, just across the road from the original home of his 2nd great grandmother Mary Henry, also the resting place of his McKenzie great grandparents. After his comment on the blog, my sister Donna remarked how small the Internet has made the world today and I must agree. 

Brian was kind enough to send along the picture below of his mother Elizabeth Jane (Beth) and her older sister Leila Sparling, orphan daughters of Janet and Hubert Sparling.  Beth was raised by her Mother's sister Elizabeth Ismay McKenzie - known as "Bessie" and her husband Frank McDonald.  Frank and Bessie married in 1925 and farmed just south of Oak River on 22-13-22.  They had one daughter of their own, Thelma. After leaving Oak River in the late 30's, Beth went to business college in Winnipeg and began working for the CBC.  She met John Burke-Gaffney and had three sons before succumbing to cancer in 1981 at the age of 58.

Beth and John's middle son Brian had never been to Oak River before taking a detour into town in 2002.  With the help of a friendly storekeeper and relatives including his mother's cousin Gerry, Brian was shown around his grandparents' former neck of the woods.  I hope he left with the feeling that he is one of Our People and always will be.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

180 and 160 Years Ago Today

The Ancestry app on my phone came in very handy again when it told me that it was 180 years ago today - July 12, 1836 - that Mary Tait, my 2nd great grandmother was born in Scotland.


What I did not realize before was that her daughter, my great grandmother Elizabeth was born the same day, exactly 20 years later in 1856 in Troqueer, Scotland.  Mary and her husband William Henry left Scotland with baby Elizabeth for a new life in  Canada two years later. The photo below of William and Mary was taken in Perth County Ontario in the mid 1800's.


After the birth of 11 children and the death of her husband, Mary and her family left Ontario to homestead on the open land in Manitoba in 1881.  Elizabeth went on to marry local homesteader James Sinclair and have a large family of their own.  


July 12 - a date to remember in my family tree!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Born 152 Years Ago Today

The Ancestry app on my phone tells me that my great grandmother, Margaret Carruthers Kinnaird, was born 152 years ago today on June 25, 1864.  She was the fourth of eight children born to farming parents Andrew William Carruthers and Jean Steven at Winchester, Ontario.  

George and Margaret Kinnaird 1888
On August 8, 1888 when she was 24 years old, she married William George Kinnaird at Russell, Ontario. I never have to look up the date for their marriage and wonder if 08/08/88 was chosen on purpose for good luck or if it was their wedding date by chance.  The picture above was recently discussed on this blog post.

She became mother to my maternal grandfather, William Francis Kinnaird and his older brother Stephen and the little family farmed near her parents in Finch Township near Winchester. George was also a carpenter so I imagine them having a nice little home and looking forward to many years ahead.  Tragically, Margaret died of tuberculosis on the 25th of May in 1894 just before reaching her 30th birthday, leaving her husband and two young sons.  She is buried with her parents at the Morewood Presbyterian Cemetery in Ontario.

Even though she has been gone for over 122 years, her legacy lives on.  My mother is named Margaret, presumably in her honour and I (the family history blogger) was born almost exactly 100 years after her to carry her story on.

Friday, 17 June 2016

History of the Dishes

Cleaning out cupboards at our cabin at Oak Lake Beach, I came across these dishes and knew they were handed down from family and was curious about their history.  Google can find (almost) anything! 

The set above was a wedding gift to my parents from Dad's Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Jack Morcom almost 56 years ago.  The pattern is called "Heritage" and they were made in England at the Myott factory.  Replacements is an online store that specializes in china, crystal and silverware and the pattern can be found here. A five piece setting can be purchased for about $45 and other pieces are available separately in limited supply. E Bay has other pieces for sale including a gravy boat and covered serving dish so it was an extensive pattern.

The set above belonged to my Grandma Kinnaird and was made in Canada by the Rideau Pottery company. Online information about this company is hard to come by so it must have operated for a very short time.  I haven't found any similar dishes online bu will continue to look.  Aunt Marge remembers that her Mom ordered them from the Eaton's catalog.  She likely sold some turkeys to have the extra money for the dishes she needed.

We don't use these anymore but they are now packed away with other dishes from Randy's family that have a history and may be used again someday!  

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Picture of Great Aunt Eleda

When I wrote this blog post about my paternal grandfather's sister Eleda Simms in September of 2015, I lamented I didn't have a very good picture of her.  My cousin Marilee recently came to the rescue with a picture from her Mom's album.  The picture below that she knew was of Eleda would have been taken about 1958 and the back says "the family including myself".

Luckily, there was a another picture taken on the same day (below) with the names of the children on the back of it naming them as Bobbie and Sandra in the back and Janice and Jimmie in front.  The family tree from Aunt Dodie helped determine these were great grandchildren of Eleda's older sister Mary Bryan. Mary and Ezra Bryan's oldest daughter was Luella Agnes (1906-1996) who married a man named Benson George (1901-1983).  Their only daughter Shirley (1930-2010) married William Crummy(1928-2006) in 1947 and eventually had 5 children, the older four are pictured below. 

Eleda would have been about 63 years old in the picture and was likely living with the Crummy family and helping to take care of the house and the children at the time.  A caretaker her whole life, Eleda died in 1973 at the age of 78 in the Ottawa area.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Kinnaird Farm W1-11-27

This blog post will tell the story of the farm where my Kinnaird grandparents raised their family, midway between the Hargrave and Pacific districts west of Virden.  Ninety-one years later it remains a family farm with four generations of Kinnairds having called it "home".
Kinnaird Farm W1-11-27 in 1968

James and Elizabeth Lane arrived from St. Mary's Ontario and were granted the west half of 1-11-27 W1 on October 6,1899 through the C.P Railway grants as the certificate below from the Western Land Grants section of Library and Archives Canada shows. Being an odd numbered section, the land was purchasable from the railway and not to be homesteaded.  The local history book, "Binding Our Districts" from 1989 says the Lane family started by building a shanty and stable and breaking the prairie soil.  They built the two story house in 1908 and continued to farm until the family with 2 children Myrtle and Ewart, moved to Virden in 1920. 
George and Isabella McDonald and their children George, Ella and Sandy were the next residents of the west half of 1-11-27 and rented it from the Lanes until Grandpa Frank Kinnaird purchased it in 1925.

Keith Kinnaird painting the house - mid  1940's.  The house has been moved and renovated and current pictures of it are on this blog post.

Frank Kinnaird's horses pictured above - Nell, Mac, Tony, Jean and Laddie - would have seen daily work throughout the twenties, thirties and forties both winter and summer. Along with using them to farm, Frank graded the nearby roads with them as well.  Aunt Marge recalls the first tractor arrived in 1946 and it looks like a Fordson model D but it also may be an Allis Chalmers or a Massey Harrison- honestly they all look alike to me! **Update - Aunt Marjorie and her amazing memory come through again!  She recalls it was a John Deere AR and it came second hand from someone at St Claude, MB. **

              These two pictures above are identified as the O'Neil outfit  from the 1940's.  J.J. O'Neil's and his wife Tine were Frank's uncle and aunt and he lived with them when he moved from Ontario in 1906 as a young boy of 12. 

Lunch in the field above - from left Keith, Frank and Margaret Kinnaird and Mr. Hayward - mid 40's
Picture on the right - Kinnaird turkeys.  Kinnairds have raised a variety of livestock over the years including dairy and beef cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys - along with dogs and cats!

Sawing wood - written on the photo are the names Ronie, Bob, Jim, Dave and Dad

Scenic pictures of the farm.  Is that snow on the stooks on the right?

 Threshing bills for 1944 and 1945 - 56 hours in 1944 and 39 hours in 1945.  Using the inflation calculator, this would convert to just over $3000 each year in 2016 money value.
Colourful share certificates and pocket ledgers with notes and lists along with the threshing bills remind of us the days when everything was written down with pen and paper.  

Above is the Kinnaird hen house after the Blizzard of 1947.  This 10-day storm closed some rural roads and railways in Saskatchewan until spring and affected communities from Winnipeg to Calgary. It began on January 30 and ranged across the prairies until February 8th.  The entire winter is one remembered across the west for extreme cold and heavy snow.

Now I memory I can recall from visiting at Grandma's!  The bale elevator created mountains of bales- with the help of some strong Kinnaird backs!