Saturday, 1 April 2017

Henry "Harry" Clyne (1901-1989)

In a recent blog posts about the Rae brothers from Scotland,it got me thinking about the bachelor immigrants who spent their working lives in Canada but their entire blood relations remained in "The Old County".
Henry "Harry" Clyne lived with my Sinclair Aunts Nellie and Jessie across the road from us as long as I can remember (the 1970's) and he was one of these men who died in Canada without family.  His possessions ended up with my dad as trustee of his estate and I have them now and although I've considered it, I could not bring myself to toss them out. Perhaps his family will see this blog post and his things can go home. At the least, his life story will be remembered (as best I can tell it) in this post.

The little purple notebook with the pencil is inscribed:
Presented to H. Clyne late Crook Bilbster on the occasion his leaving the country for Canada.  By his friends of Bilbster and Stirkoke  21/3/22
The photo beside it appears to be Harry's passport picture, taken just before the adventure began in March of 1922. Bilbster  is a rural area near Wick in the highlands of Northern Scotland and Crook is the name of a cottage there.  Not yet 21 years old, Harry set sail on the Tunisian for Canada to seek his fortune.  He had at least 2 sisters, Ina and Chrissie and two brothers, Adam and Alexander.  

There is a little book indicating Harry paid union dues while living in Paris, Ontario in 1924 and 1925 as a section-man for the CN railway.  As with many young men of the time, the west was a land of opportunity and Harry heard the call.

Harry had many many pictures of Clydesdale horses and his address on letter from the late 20's was 356 10th Street in Brandon where J. S. Taylor horse promoter did business according to the card above. I am guessing he worked for Taylor and kept a lifelong interest in livestock.  My cousin Lyn recalls that Harry used to work with the Clydesdales that belonged to Jack and Lizzie Morcom and that he trimmed the horses hooves, including hers.

In this era of instant communication, it is easy to forget that months would go by without hearing from family within the country let alone overseas.  I can't find a date on the telegram but the black border envelope and letters told Harry about the deaths of his father in 1927 and his sister Ina in 1928. The first letter from his sister Ina has the sentence, " Mother thanks you very kindly for the money received today".  The second from another sister Chrissie is below.  

 A sample of the many family and friend photos Harry kept.  The only one with a name is the wedding photo taken at a studio in Wick and addressed to Uncle Harry from Bunty and Arthur.

** Bunty has contacted me and tells me the man in the air force uniform at the bottom is her father - and Harry's brother - Alexander (Sanny).  There certainly is a family resemblance there!

Starting in 1957, Harry has certificates showing him to be certified as a steam engineer and the 1903 book Practical Treatise of the Steam Engine Indicator by N.E. Hawkins was among his possessions.   Evidence can be found of trips back to Scotland in 1931 and 1954, when I assume the picture below was taken.  He was Aunt Nannie's chauffeur, driving her anywhere she wanted to go, Lyn remembers. Harry was laid to rest in 1989 at the White Bank Lea Cemetery, a few miles from the Sinclair farm where he called home for many years.

The well worn clipping titled "In Praise of Caithness" was found in his wallet showing he never forget where he came from.  I can still smell his pipe tobacco and see his flat plaid cap as he sat in Aunt Nannie's porch when I was there for tea.

**Follow Up**  April 16, 2017
 I'm so glad to have heard from his niece Bunty Pottinger from Kirkwall, Orkney through a contact on the Caithness Family History Society on Facebook.   Harry's things are now on their way home across the pond, where they belong.   

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting story, hope you find Caithness relatives.