Wednesday, 13 January 2016

John "Jack" Henry (1868-1958)

John Henry was born in Ontario on the first of March in 1868 to Mary Tait and William Henry, the final sibling to be written about in this blog.  They farmed in the Listowell area of Perth County until his father died when he was 10 years old and they headed west to Manitoba when he was 13 in 1881. They lived near  a Blanshard Township in Ontario so moving to Blanshard, Manitoba must have been a small comfort to the Henry family.   His mother and his 10 siblings then settled on SW 6-14-21. He was more commonly known as "Jack" likely to distinguish him between an uncle and cousins with the same first name. The adjective "sixes" was also used to refer to this family and home as it was on section six.

Jack acquired NE 1-14-22 just west of the homestead in 1898, not including the portion where the White Bank Lea Cemetery sits.  It would have been suited to crop more than the hilly land with a ravine where the house was.

He remained on the home farm after his mother's death in 1909.  He married 26 years old Winnifred Theobald Frost Delamater in 1912 at the age 44 and went on to have nine children, six sons and three daughters. 
  • Lorne "Homer" (1913-2001) remained a bachelor worked the home farm and was active in community affairs and committees
  • William "Orville" (1914-1976) married Betty Reid, farmed the home farm
  • Alexander (1916-1980) married Effie Reid (sister to Betty) and raised 5 children.  Farmed the former Hedley homestead (NW 30-13-21) and other quarters with Esmond, worked at Murray's Garage in Oak River and served in WW2
  • Robert Thomas "Bob" (1918-1993) remained a bachelor on the home farm and was sports minded
  • Mary Ellen (1919-1987) married Donald James Moar had 4 children and lived in Brandon
  • Walter John "Watty" (1921-1986) remained a bachelor and enjoyed company and home life on the home farm
  • Rena (1922-) married Allan Reid (brother to Betty and Effie) and had 2 sons, lived on the home farm with her brothers and is the only surviving member of this generation of the family - living in Oak River today
  • Edmond Frank (1923-1980) remained a bachelor, served in the army with Alex then farmed with him east of Oak River
  • Laura (1927-2005) married Herb Stephens and farmed near Cardale and had five children

Jack was one of the original members of Oak River's first organized baseball team which was coached by his cousin, his mother's sister Ellen's son, Tom Wilson.

 The White Banklea History Booklet written in the 1980's says of Friday night dances at the school near the Henry farm:
Local music was provided by the people of the area.  Alex Stewart and Mrs. Dick Stewart provided the early music at White Bank Lea.  Later Maurice and Dot Genung, Elgin and Harvey Stewart supplied the tunes to which they danced.  Square dances were very popular and Jack Henry from the "Stone House" was known as the official caller.  Everyone enjoyed the seven step, the scottiche, the buffalo glide and the French minuette.  The waltz was always popular and in later years couples danced to the newer dances known as the fox trot, two step and one step.  Lunch was always supplied by the ladies, an on occasion this was in the form of an old time Box Social.  
Jack (with the corsage at the back left) on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 1948.  Beside him, brother Thomas (79 years old), Ned (86) and Charlie (82).  In front left to right -  sisters Joanna Braid(72), Janet McKenzie(88) and Mary Wilson (74).
He passed away at the age of 90 in 1958.  Winifred died in 1954 at age 68.  They are buried together in the Oak River Cemetery.
from Blanshard History Book 1984
The stone house, built in 1888, was a landmark for miles around and served as a meeting place for municipal council and church and Sunday School services.  Dances, box socials and strawberry socials were held there as well to raise money for projects for the two wars as well as for Oak River Community Rink.   It was replaced in 1972 with a home for Watty, Bob, Homer, Rena and Allan Reid and their children.  This generation of Henrys farmed large herds of cattle along with chickens and pigs.  Both Holstein milk cows and beef cattle were raised by the Henry Brothers.  This farm was recognized in November of 1981 (photo above)  by the Manitoba Department of Agriculture and the Oak River Agricultural Society with the Century Farm Award for being in the same family for 100 years. 

Edward "Ned" Henry (1862 - 1951)

Edward was born on May 3, 1862, eldest son of Mary Tait and William Henry.  He was no doubt highly in favour of the move to Manitoba in 1881 to be able to have land of his own.  The first few years in Manitoba were spent working on building up his home farm at 32-13-21, working for the railway and cutting bush in the winters for cash as well as lumber for his buildings.

He was known as "Long Ned" so I assume he was a tall man and needed a nickname to know him apart from his cousin, "Red Ned" Henry, son of John.  In 1895, he was apparently the framer for a 100 foot long stone and frame stable for John Hall Stewart. This family had immigrated from Scotland in 1881 and were neighbours to the Henry family. Presumably he did an acceptable job as six years later, Ned married daughter Annie Stewart. When they married in 1897, he was 35 years old and she was 28. Their large farm home was built in 1902 with red brick from the Rapid City Brick Factory.   Ned and Annie went on to have five children.
  • Margaret (1900-1979) "Maggie" married Allen McPhaden moved to Grimshaw, AB and had three children
  • William Erle (1902-1970) married Vera Higham lived on the home farm and raised one daughter
  • Mary Ellen (1903-1976) "Nell"married Jack Robertson lived in Rivers had one daughter
  • Clara (1908-1999) married Curly Heapy lived in Oak Lake and had a family of three.  One of her sons, Gerald and his wife Charlotte and their family, returned to farm the Ned Henry homestead in 1976 and became part of the community after retiring from the RCMP
  • Robert Edward (1909-?) married Teenie Wolvanski and raised 4 children in Strathclair.
The White Bank Lea History booklet is available online here at Manitobia and the last pages of land ownership over the years indicate Edward Henry acquired the following quarters in the year indicated.  

SE 32-13-21 - 1893 
NE 31-13-21- 1895
NE 32-13-21 - 1895
SW 32-13-21 - 1898
NE 29-13-21 - 1901
NW 29-13-21 - 1907

Ned Henry served as Councillor of Ward one in the RM of Blanshard from 1895 to 1913.  He then went on to become Reeve from 1913 to 1922.  Ned kept Clydesdale horses and shorthorn cattle and was one of the directors of the first Agricultural Society Board in Oak River.

The following is taken from a Roots-Web webpage as copied from the Oak River Post from 1940:
5/9/1940 (Oak River - E. A. CORBETT, correspondent) Ex-Reeve Edward HENRY, pioneer of the Oak River district, celebrated his 78th birthday May 3. Born in Perth county, Ont., Mr. HENRY came west in 1881 and settled on the farm on which he still resides. He was councillor for Ward 1 of Blanshard municipality from 1895 until 1913 and reeve from 1913 until he resigned in 1922. He was one of the founders of the Oak River Agricultural society and is now an honorary director and life member. In 1897 he married Anne STEWART of Oak River, who died in July, 1919. There are three daughters and two sons, Mrs. A. MC FADDIN, Grimshaw, Alta; W. E. HENRY, Oak River; Mrs. John ROBERTSON, Winnipeg; Robt. HENRY, Wasagaming; Mrs. C. HEAPY, Oak Lake.
His wife died at age 50 in 1919 leaving Ned with a young family - the oldest from 19 down to 10 years old.  Ned lived until 1951, age 89 and is buried with Annie in White Bank Lea Cemetery.

William Henry (1864 - 1933)

William was born in Perth County, Ontario on March 11, 1864 to Mary Tait and William Henry Sr.  His father died when he was nine years old and his mother and 10 siblings moved west to Blanshard, Manitoba in 1881.  Mary had 10 children but the eldest three were girls (including my great grandmother Elizabeth) and therefore ineligible to take out homesteads.  He turned 18 in the spring of 1881 and in 1883, he applied for Homestead #14910 the SE 6-14-21, adjacent to the home farm. He also farmed on the south half of 5-14-21 for some years.

Photo taken from White Bank Lea History Book
He married Elizabeth Michael (called Lizzie on the 1901 census) of the McConnell district in 1898 when he was 34. She was born in Ontario of Irish immigrant parents. This later marriage seems typical for Henry brothers as they were busy building up their homesteads before marrying and often working away from Blanshard to save up money.  All went well and in the 1906 census, the couple had 5 children aged 6 and under and 10 years later there were seven children.  William and Elizabeth had a large family of 8 children who were pupils at White Bank Lea School until tragedy befell them in 1920.  Within three days, four of their children died from an influenza epidemic.  The Oak River Post ran the following obituary;


To lose four children in two days has just been the exceptionally sad
lot of Mr. and Mrs. William HENRY, the cause of death in each case being
pneumonia following influenza. George T., aged 18 years and 11 months,
and Della aged 14 years and 5 months, died less than an hour apart on
Friday morning, and Wilfred James, aged sixteen, and Edith aged eleven,
passed away early Sunday morning. The deceased were all of a robust
constitution and particularly well developed for their age, but in spite
of this and all that medical science could do for them, the disease was
of such a malignant type that they could not withstand its ravages.
The four children were buried in White Bank Lea cemetery, the former
two on Saturday forenoon and the latter two on Sunday evening, Rev. Wm.
FERGUSON officiating.
Four pleasant faces will be greatly missed from the life of our
community, and our tenderest sympathies are extended to the fond parents
in their grief.

Photos taken from White Banklea History Book
Children of William and Elizabeth:
  • Mary Ethel (1899-1983) Married William Bedwell and had 2 children
  • George Thomas (1900-1920)
  • William "Clifford" (1902 - ?) married Ellen Agnes Robbins raised one son, moved to Trancona 
  • James Wilfred (1903-1920)
  • Della Etta (1905-1920)
  • Mabel Elizabeth (1906-1980) married Gus Higham moved to Brandon  and had 4 children
  • Edith Edna (1909-1920)
  • Edwin (1918- ?)  was in WW2, married Florence McDonald, moved to Lloydminster and had 3 children

William died in 1932 at the age of 68.  His wife Elizabeth passed away in 1954 at the age of 80.  The parents and five of the children are buried together in White Bank Lea Cemetery, close to the farm where they lived their lives together. 

Friday, 8 January 2016

Stuart and Jane Carruthers

Stuart Carruthers was born on October 11, 1870, in Finch, Ontario.  His father Andrew William Carruthers was 54 and his mother the former Jean Steven was 37. He was 6th born in a family of eight which included my great grandmother Margaret.  Stuart can be found on the 1871, 1881 and 1891 census of Canada living with his family in the Winchester subdistrict of Dundas County. His first name was written "Stewart" on some of them as it is in some of the later documents as well.   He married Jane Smirl who had been born in nearby Hallville in 1872 on December 20, 1893, in Russell, Ontario.  The unidentified picture below was among my Grandma's and I think it looks like some of the Carruthers.  The style of clothes and the type of picture would be about right for 1893 but if anyone can confirm or deny my guess, please do!  My Grandpa Frank Kinnaird lived with Stuart and Jane after the death of his mother in 1894 so it would make sense that he had a picture of them.  The 1901 Canadian Census shows Stuart, Jane, 3 sons, 7 year old Frank Kinnaird and  John O'Neil living at Concession 11 Lot 23 Cannamore, Ontario.  Google maps names a Carruthers Road which intersects with a Stevens Road near this place today!  Five years later J.J. O'Neil would be married to Stuart's sister Christina and they would be living in Manitoba with Frank, starting a new life on the prairies!

Stuart and Jane had a family of five, four boys and a girl, all of whom married and lived their lives in the same general area of  Ontario:
Orrin Victor ( 1895-1950) married Beulah Jessie Ford
Keith (1897-1964) married Amy Marcellus Loughridge
William John (1899-1978) married Mary Oliphant
Carl Maxwell (1901-1973) married Laina Amelia Lahte
Sybil Maude (1904-1991) - married James Hugh Watson

Orrin Victor Carruthers and William Francis Kinnaird 1896
Like his father Stuart/Stewart, Orrin had another way to spell his first name - Orne.  He sent the following two  postcards to Frank:

 North Winchester
(Postmarked December 1907)

Dear Cousin,

I received your card and we are all well we have pretty good sleighing now I have just tried my promotion examinations.  James Evans is working here now.  He came a few days ago.
  Write soon.

(Postmarked October 1907)
Dear Cousin,

I thought I would write you a few lines we are all well we are through picking potatoes I suppose you's are all through harvesting.
 Write soon. 


Orrin married Beulah Jessie Ford in 1919 and they had 5 children.  Sadly two boys died in WWII, Carl Stuart and Ford Ross Carruthers and their stories are in the link.

Keith Carruthers and Amy Marcellus Loughridge married in 1918

The other Carruthers brothers sent postcard as well.
 North Winchester
December 7, 1908
Dear Cousin,
I am going to write you a few lines letting you know I think you are forgetting the boy down here called Keith Carruthers and I want you to hurry up and write. 
 From your remaining friend, 
K.C.(Keith Carruthers)
Crysler, Feb. 7 (postmarked 1910)
I thought I would drop you a card to let you know we are all well. Hoping you's are the same. Are you going to school now? I am. 
 John Carruthers

Postmark - Cannamore, Ont October 5, 1906
Dear Frank 
 I am just sending you this card to let you know there is such a person as Carl Carruthers down here and I want you to write me as well as the other boys. I am (?) big boy now and can read and write too. 
 from Carl
Stuart Carruthers died young on January 12, 1917, in Morewood, Ontario, at the age of 46.  Tragically, his wife Jane died a short 11 months later on November 3, 1917 at the age of 45.  They are buried in Morewood Presbyterian Cemetery with his parents and sister Margaret.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

George and Nettie Carruthers

George Andrew Carruthers was born on July 5, 1885 in Morewood, Ontario.  His mother was the former Elizabeth Gordon and his father was Archibald Carruthers.  Both of his parents were 27 when he was born and he was the middle of their 5 boys.  Sadly, Elizabeth died in 1893 and his father remarried Annie Gainer and they had 2 more boys and 4 girls together, including two sets of twins.
Archibald with his second wife Annie Gainer about 1900 
On the 1901 Canadian Census he was a 15 year old boy living with his farming parents but 10 years later a 26 year old George Carruthers is found in Calgary, AB, living as a lodger at 1039 5th Avenue West.  Google Street view here, has it looking a little different today than it did then!

It may or may not have been him on that census but I do know over the years, George had made several trips from his home in Ontario to Manitoba to help with harvest and then established himself at 29-10-27, 4 miles south of Hargrave.  That would have been about the time George on the left and my Grandpa, his cousin, Frank Kinnaird had the above photo taken.
On August 20, 1912 George married Charlotte Jeanetta (Nettie) Pollock in Winnipeg.  He was 27 and she was 22.  She was born in Berwick,Ontario so they likely grew up together there. In 1920, they moved 1 1/2 miles west of Virden , just west of where the  Vet Clinic is today.  
The pictures of this farm below were taken in 2015 and as they seem very unusual in that the barn (below right) was built with brick walls as was pointed out during an "ancestral tour" around Virden with my cousin Rea last summer.  

George and Nettie had 2 children.  Ewen Pollock Carruthers was born in 1916 and his sister Gladys Ruth in 1922.   Ewen wrote about their farm for the Hargrave area history book called Binding our Districts, published in 1989 available online at Manitobia and I quote him from it below:
Life on the farm in the Pacific School District area of Manitoba was a strenuous and very interesting adventure in the 1920's and 1930's, and one which I enjoyed immensely.  By present-day standards it would probably be considered harsh and difficult, but for me any my immediate family, it was a great adventure.  Times were indeed difficult, but I had an enterprising father and mother who were equal to the challenge of light sandy land with soil drifting, drought, grasshoppers, rust, very low grain prices, etc.  Certainly the times called for courage and ingenuity!
We were engaged in "mixed farming".  We had quite a large number of cattle, both dairy and beef, hogs, bees, a large productive garden, and most important, a large poultry business with R.O.P. Breeding stock.  
He goes on to say their family was very active in the poultry industry for many years and his father supplemented his income by being a poultry inspector. I had to Google "R.O.P" and found it stands for Record Of Performance, a standard record keeping system to promote strong poultry lines. More from the history book:
He was also interested in soil conservation and was the first to actively practice "strip farming" in our part of the province.  In addition, to supplement the soil fibre and provide excellent feed for livestock, he grew large quantities of sweet clover.  Also, he was early in using fall rye and flax in crop rotation planning.

Ewen  Carruthers married Pearl McDonald in 1943 and their wedding photo above was among my Grandma's pictures and was identified by Aunt Marge.  Ewen was in the Air Force in WWII and later became a cardiologist in Kelowna and died there in 2002. Gladys took nurse's training at Montreal and went on to work as a Public Health Nurse in Winnipeg.  She married Lee Schreibeis and lived in Pennsylvania and later New York State.  She died in 2008.

George Andrew Carruthers died at the age of 92 on Christmas Day in 1977 in Kelowna, BC and Nettie had predeceased him there in July of 1975.  It's nice to know a bit about the people that once lived there as I drive by their former home.  Every empty farmyard has a story.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Farm Weeds Book of Clippings

This blog post tells about a large book, approximately 4 centimeters thick, that was given to me about 10 years ago by my Aunt Dodie.  It is called "Farm Weeds" and at the bottom of the cover it says Department of Agriculture Canada and the year 1906.  The original book was written by George Clark and James Fletcher and the 53 illustrations were done by Norman Criddle.  The front cover has an image of a burdock and the back is of purslane.  It likely belonged to my great grandfather, James Sinclair for use on his farm north of Oak River.

New editions of this book were released in 1909 and 1923 and the entire book can be read online here on Peel's Prairie Provinces Website though the University of Alberta library.  The original version was even reprinted in 2000.  A quote from page five says it was written at the direction of the Minister of Agriculture of the time, S.A. Fisher, due to
"considerable losses of the farmers of the western provinces owing to the presence of such a large percentage of foul weeds in the bountiful crop of 1905" (p.5)
Online searches for this book found a few well worn copies for sale at $60 and even $90.  They were unsold, mind you but still hard to believe it could be worth that much.  I say "could be" because when you open the book, you see...

 the weed book was used for a scrapbook and notebook!  The pages are mostly covered with clippings from the newspapers of the 20's and 30's.  There are mostly poems and lyrics to songs both well known and never heard before. 

The handwritten song "Little Sister's Gone To Sleep" would have been especially meaningful since the Sinclair family lost an infant daughter Wilhelmina in 1896.

It was compiled by my great aunt, Ellen Sinclair as is indicated inside the front cover, who never married but lived on the home farm all her life.  The poem below in her handwriting sums up her generous hospitality with the tea kettle always on and buns and sweets for all her guests.