Dr. James P. Hanington – Pharmacist and Doctor

Dr. James P. Hanington (1846-1927)

James Peters Hanington (my great-grandfather), and his older brother, Thomas, could make emulsions, ointments, pills or potions for just about anything that ailed you.  They were partners in “Hanington Bros., Chemists” in Saint John, New Brunswick.  Today, they would be better known as pharmacists. According to several testimonials in the 1884 Almanac and Receipt (recipes) Book[1], they were extremely helpful in alleviating all kinds of their customers’ health problems.  Here’s an example:

Dear Sirs,                                                   Gondola Point, Clifton, Kings Co. 1878

Having been troubled for years with pains in my side and severe cough, I was tempted to try a bottle of your “JPH Cough Mixture”, and also a bottle of your “Penetrating Liniment”.  I found immediate relief.  I have used two more bottles since, and am now perfectly well.  Returning you my sincere thanks for your cheap and valuable medicine. 

Yours truly, 

Florence D. McCarthy

In 1890, the partnership was dissolved. Thomas became the local Postmaster and James moved his pregnant wife and four daughters[2] to Montreal, Quebec, where he was enrolled in Medical School at McGill University.  He was one of few of his eleven siblings to leave the province, where his grandfather was known as the first English speaking settler and founder of Shediac, New Brunswick.

The first family home in Montreal, Quebec, was at 278 St. Urbain Street[3].  The family grew to include two more daughters, one born in 1891, shortly after their arrival in Montreal and another born four years later in 1895.  Six girls!  The last one born, when her mother was 43 years old, was my grandmother, Millicent.  Could she have been the result of a special celebration once James had finally completed medical school at the ripe old age of 49?

James graduated from McGill Medical School in 1894, having completed his four year degree, which included First Class Honours in Medical Jurisprudence in his third year[4].

A few years later, he moved his family to 699 Sherbrooke Street, corner of Park Avenue[5], which was a larger home to accommodate his growing family as well as his Physician and Surgeon’s[6] office.  His office hours “8 to 10 a.m., 3 to 4 p.m., 7 to 8 p.m.” were even listed in the directory!  He was a prominent doctor in Montreal for several years.

Although he settled in Montreal, he did, however, keep a lovely old home in Shediac, New Brunswick, called “Burn Thorpe”  where his family would gather in the summers and meet up with their cousins.

JohnYoung Wawa Millicent Mrs JP Hanington DodoTootie Jenjen Dr JamesPHaningtonBurn Thorpe -2

[1] Hanington Bros’. ALMANAC and RECEIPT BOOK, 1884, Published by Hanington Bros., Chemists, Saint John, NB

[2] 1891 Canadian Census

[3] 1891 Lovell’s Street Guide

[4] McGill Medicine 1893–p.81

[5]1897-1898 Lovell’s Street Guide [6]1897-1898 Lovell’s Street Guide  Hanington Bros Almanac 1884James P HaningtonDr James P Hanington

Every Scrap of Paper

 I have stuff, lots and lots of stuff. I have letters tied with string, photographs in envelopes and albums, documents, census printouts and family trees in binders. I have boxes of stuff and filing cabinets of stuff.

One good genealogical process I hadn’t done for a while was to go back through all the information I had collected. You never know what might come out of it. As you learn more, things that meant nothing, suddenly make sense.

Recently, I looked through some binders searching for information I wanted to reference. I love looking through the stuff and reading old letters again and again. In one binder I found a piece of old paper. It looked like it came from a note book but didn’t fit the handmade one that was there. That note book belonged to my great great grandmother Susan Dodds. She married Alexander Bailey in 1843 just before they came to Canada from Ireland. It was sent to her by her sister Eliza and that is all I know about her siblings and families.


The paper had a list of names and dates:

“Bob Dodd’s daughter born Oct 24 1884, Uncle Robert gied May 5 86, Mr Peil inducted buc 18 – 84, North West Rebellion was 1884, Ellin’s Bob died Dec 11, 1886 and Mary Dodds died 7, 1887.”

Who were these people and how did they connect to the family? Just looking up these dates on Family Search I found that in 1881, a Robert Dodds born about 1809 in Ireland, his son Robert and a servant Ellen Graham were all living together in Toronto. His wife Agnes had died. Robert Jr.(Bob) and Ellen Graham were married in 1883 and a daughter Gertrude was born Oct 24, 1884, also in Toronto. Gertrude appeared to be their only child. Robert senior died May 5, 1886 and then his son Bob soon followed, dying Dec 14, 1886. Both were buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. There was no further information on Ellen but in the 1901 census Gertrude was living with her Uncle Andrew Miller and his wife Eliza, both Irish. Was aunt Eliza, Bob Dodd’s sister? Gertrude married Samuel J Wilson and she died 18 May 1935.

I also found a Mary Dodds who died Feb 7, 1887 at 40 years of age. Was she also Bob Dodd’s sister? I confirmed all these dates in less than 30 minutes sitting in my recliner. Unfortunately, I still don’t know for sure how these people connect with Susan Dodds, but they must be related as someone, and I think it was Susan recorded these dates.

In with these family dates was the North West Rebellion 1884. This shows interest in what was happening in Canada at that time. This was the year Louis Riel was captured and hanged. I am still not sure of the meaning of Mr Peil or was it Mr Riel and Inducted buc 1884?

I also have a photo album a “Mrs Barber wanted to leave to Mrs Eagle.” Eliza Jane Bailey Eagle was Susan’s daughter. In it are pictures of a Mary Dodds, Robert Dodds and Eliza Dodds. Most of the pictures have names written underneath, probably by my grandmother Minnie Eagle Sutherland, so they are all people known to the family.

Maybe somewhere is another scrap of paper with answers to these questions.


IMG_7720 IMG_7722 IMG_7725


“Canada Census, 1871,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M43R-1X4 : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds, St Partick’s Ward, West Toronto, Ontario, Canada; citing p. 4, line 15; Library and Archives Canada film number C-9970, Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 4,396,300.

“Canada Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVFS-PXP : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds, St-John’s Ward, Toronto (City), Ontario, Canada; citing p. 152; Library and Archives Canada film number C-13246, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 1,375,882.

“Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FMJC-MZK : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds and Ellen Graham, 13 Sep 1883; citing registration 015093, Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,869,764.

“Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDG5-BNR : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds, 05 May 1886; citing Toronto, York, Ontario, yr 1886 cn 22384, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,853,483.

“Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDR3-1XQ : accessed 13 March 2015), Mary Dodds, 07 Feb 1887; citing Toronto, York, Ontario, yr 1887 cn 19737, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,853,487.

Thomas Drummond, Botanist and Explorer

Among the male ancestors on my father’s side of the family were many farmers, several doctors, two carpenters, a weaver, a tailor and two botanist-explorers. These were brothers Thomas Drummond (1793-1835) and James Drummond (1787-1863), and both are remembered today through the plants that carry their names. Thomas studied plants in Scotland, western Canada and the southern United States, while James immigrated with his family to western Australia and collected plants there.


Inverarity Parish Church

Thomas Drummond, baptized on 8 April, 17931 at Inverarity Parish Church, near Forfar, in southeastern Scotland, was one of four children born to Thomas Drummond and Elizabeth Nicoll. Besides brother James, there were two girls: Euphemia, and Margaret, my four-times great-grandmother, who married David Forrester and came to Canada in 1833.

Thomas and James no doubt first learned how to identify plants from their father, who was the head gardener of an estate named Fotheringham, near Forfar.

At age 20, Thomas became manager of the nursery and botanic garden at Doohillock which had belonged to the retired director of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. During the 10 years he worked there, he became an expert on the mosses of Scotland. He also became acquainted with botanist William Hooker, who eventually became director of the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, in London.

In 1820, Thomas married Isobel Mungo,2 and the couple eventually had three children, Ann, James and Isabella, however, a quiet family life did not suit him.

This was a period when Europeans were exploring the far-flung corners of the world and learning all about the plants and animals they found there. Many of these explorers were Scots, such as David Douglas, after whom the Douglas fir tree is named. Their job was to describe these plants in their natural habitats, identify their key features and bring home specimens and seeds.

On Hooker’s recommendation, Thomas was hired as assistant naturalist on Captain John Franklin’s second expedition to the Arctic in 1825. Rather than following the main party to the Arctic, Thomas headed west with a Hudson’s Bay Company party. In the account he wrote of his journey to the Rocky Mountains on horseback and by boat along the Saskatchewan River, he described some of the birds and animals he encountered. They included blue-beaked Ruddy Ducks, a species of flycatcher that courageously attacked larger birds, and packs of impudent Prairie Dogs.

Thomas also explained how he gathered plants. “When the boats stopped to breakfast, I immediately went on shore with my vasculum, proceeding along the banks of the river and making short excursions into the interior, taking care to join the boats, if possible, at their encampment for the night. After supper, I commenced laying down the plants gathered in the day’s excursion, changed and dried the papers of those collected previously; which operation generally occupied me until daybreak, when the boats started. I then went on board and slept until the breakfast hour, when I landed and proceeded as before. Thus I continued daily until we reached Edmonton House, a distance of about 400 miles, the vegetation having preserved much the same character all the way.”3

Thomas spent the winter alone on the shores of the Athabasca River, sheltered by a spruce-bough hut. He rejoined the brigade the next summer and spent the winter of 1826-27 at Edmonton House, where he was nearly killed by a grizzly bear. He nearly died a second time as he attempted to rejoin the Franklin group: a gale blew the small boat he was aboard far into Hudson Bay.

explorers garden

Explorers Garden, Pitlochry, Scotland

In October 1827, he finally arrived back in England, having succeeded in collecting hundreds of plants, birds and small animals during his travels. The following year, he was appointed curator of the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society’s garden. He returned to Scotland in 1830.

A few years later, Thomas returned to North America to continue his botanical explorations in Texas and Louisiana. There he faced floods, cholera and near-starvation. He died in Havana, Cuba in 1835, survived by his wife and children in Scotland. About a dozen plant species, including the well-known Phlox drummondii, a moss genus and a small mammal, are named after him.

This story has also been posted on writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca

Photo credits: Janice Hamilton

Related articles: Glimpses of a Life (the story of Margaret Drummond Forrester) http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2013/10/glimpses-of-life.html

Notes: I have never been fond of cold, wet weather or long, uncomfortable hikes in the woods, so the discovery that one of my ancestors endured these and many other hardships as a 19th century botanist and explorer came as quite a surprise. Thomas Drummond has to be one of my most interesting ancestors.

A number of articles have been written about his life, including one in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/drummond_thomas_6E.html). My favourite, however, is “Drummond of Forfar” by Louise H.R. Meikle, Thomas’s three-times great-granddaughter. It was published in The Scots Magazine, April 2005. A portrait of Thomas Drummond can be seen at http://images.kew.org/thomas_drummond/print/4232976.html.

It is interesting to note that many articles give Thomas Drummond’s birth date as approximately 1790. Genealogy has been able to contribute to our knowledge about him by providing more precisely the dates of his baptism and marriage. We have to rely on letters written by his contemporaries regarding his death, although the exact date does not seem to have been recorded.

An article at http://www.forfarbotanists.org/thomas_drummond_detail.pdf lists many of the plants Thomas discovered. It is on the website of the Friends of the Forfar Botanists (http://www.forfarbotanists.org), an organization that has created a garden in memory of the Drummond brothers and several other local horticulturists.

Another Scottish organization that recognizes the Drummond brothers’ accomplishments is the Scottish Plant Hunters Garden in Pitlochry, Perthshire. (http://www.explorersgarden.com). Visitors to this lovely garden can see species of plants brought to England and Scotland by 19th century Scottish-born botanists such as David Douglas, David Lyall and Archibald Menzies.


  1. “Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950,” Database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XYJZ-DBX : accessed 16 June 2015), Thomas Drummond, 08 Apr 1793; citing INVERARITY AND METHY,ANGUS,SCOTLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 993,436.
  2. “Scotland, Marriages, 1561-1910,” Database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XTVL-QJS : accessed 16 June 2015), Thomas Drummond and Isobel Mungo, 18 Nov 1820; citing Forfar,Angus,Scotland, reference ; FHL microfilm 993,432.
  3. Drummond, Thomas, “Sketch of a Journey to the Rocky Mountains and to the Columbia River in North America” p. 95-96, 178-219. Botanical miscellany, Volume 1, edited by Sir William Jackson Hooker, London: John Murray, Albemarle-Street, 1830, p. 183. https://books.google.ca/books?id=8LkWAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA95&dq=Thomas+Drummond+sketch+of+a+journey+Hooker+Botanical+miscellany&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAWoVChMI3eblpMqUxgIVSM2ACh10DgBc#v=onepage&q=Thomas%20Drummond%20sketch%20of%20a%20journey%20Hooker%20Botanical%20miscellany&f=false

Genealogy Collections




Genealogical and historical societies are important resources for family history researchers looking for information about a particular location because they are great links to people who really care. Many  hold important document collections too.

Jacques Gagné’s latest compilation lists sixty-eight of the best-known Quebec organizations, with details about how to contact them and what they offer. Download the Genealogy Societies in Québec – Genealogical Collections pdf.

Also, please tell us how these organizations have helped you conduct your research. We know that many of the people who run these organizations work very hard on behalf of all of us, and we’d like to thank them for their efforts.

If you know of an organization that isn’t in this compilation, but should be, we’d love to know that too.





Baptist Churches in Quebec 1794-1967


Montreal City West Baptist Church St. Laurent, Quebec

Montreal City West Baptist Church St. Laurent, Quebec

Anyone looking for information about ancestors who were active in Baptist Churches in Quebec between 1794 and 1967 will appreciate Jacques Gagné’s latest compilation, which tells you which records exist and where you might find them.

Jacque’s compilation is divided into Quebec cities and towns, including Berthier, Sherbrooke, etc. Researchers with ancestors in Quebec can look up the town in which their ancestors lived and see how many Baptist Churches were in that town and where the records for each church were sent.

The records that still exist are divided between twelve different repositories with locations throughout Quebec, in Ontario and in the United States. Jacques provides links and addresses for each repository so that researchers can contact the repository directly to look at records online or  make arrangements for a visit.

Historian René E. S. Péron summarized the history of the Baptist religion as an introduction to the compilation so that researchers can get a sense of how decisions their ancestors made influenced the lives we live now. René’s article was posted on the blog last Thursday.

Download your copy of the entire compilation at Baptist Churches in Quebec.

Please let us know how this compilation helped you find your ancestors.


The Mysterious Charlie G: A Edwardian Era Love Tragedy

Edith and her beau circa 1909 somewhere near Potton Springs in the Eastern Townships of Quebec

Edith and her beau circa 1909 somewhere near Potton Springs in the Eastern Townships of Quebec

Edith Nicholson (1884-1977), my husband’s Great Aunt Dede, never married. She told her nieces and nephews and great nieces and great nephews that she lost her Great Love in a hotel fire. The couple wasn’t ‘officially engaged’ but there was ‘an understanding’.

Some believed DeDe, some didn’t.

In 2004, I found 300 Nicholson family letters from the 1908-1913 period in an old trunk – and in a letter dated May 3, 1910, Edith writes of this loss to her mother, Margaret:

Your letter received this am. It was so good to hear your voice over the phone. It was quite natural. Oh, how I wish I could talk over everything with you. It seems terribly hard to think it all for the best, when there are so many that are of no use living on and others that are held in esteem cut off in a moment. One thing, I am very thankful for that he wrote me. No doubt one of the last things that he did. I can’t express my feelings. I never felt so badly in my life. But I suppose there are few who have had so pleasant a one as I have, and trouble comes to all.

So the story was true, after all!

Edith mentions many young men in her letters, sent from Montreal where she was working as a teacher back to Richmond, where her Mom lived. Edith often uses only initials when talking of her romantic life. Apparently, back then, courting was something to be coy about.

It took me long while to figure out but her Great Love was one Charlie Gagne, bank clerk, from Levis, Quebec. A French Canadian man, most likely. Now, that was a surprise.

It seems Edith and this Charlie had an on-again off-again relationship through 1908-1909.

Gagne is a French Canadian name but from the letters it is clear Charlie spent time around Edith’s group of Richmond Protestants. Perhaps he was a convert from Catholicism. In Montreal, Edith worked as a teacher at French Methodist Institute in Westmount, a school where Catholics, mostly French Canadians, were converted to “the Way.”

The Nicholson’s also left behind a photo album from the 1910 era. I have photographs of Edith on a country outing with a handsome young man. If this is Charlie of the May 3, 1910 letter, he is a slim, with a charming smile and a cocky attitude and he is a great dresser. Edith Nicholson would have accepted no less.

There are a few other mysterious mentions of Charlie, or Charlie G or CG in the 1909-10 letters.

In August 1909, Edith writes her Mom saying she managed to ‘show’ Charlie to her father at a train station, (it sounds like a set up) but her father was cool to her young man.

In September 1909, Edith’s mother Margaret writes her father Norman and says “Charlie has gone to Mexico. So that flirtation is over.”

In October 1909, Edith writes her Mom saying she hasn’t heard from Charlie G and that she has no intention of trying to contact him. “He could still be in Mexico, for all I know.”

In February, 1910, Edith writes that she is taking medicine, for ‘her heart has had a jolt’.

Then there’s NOTHING but that May 3 letter about Charlie’s death. Edith writes that she is looking at his picture in the Montreal Star and that “it does not do him justice.”

So I had bits and pieces of a sad love story, but I had to fill in the blanks. I couldn’t even be sure it was Charlie G. who died in the hotel fire.

One sentence in the May 3 missive was especially enigmatic. “It seems if it had only been an accident, it would be easier to understand.”

So, about 5 years ago, I tripped over to the McGill Library to check out the May 1910 Star.

Amidst the pages and pages of stories of Edward VII’s death, I found a story about a Cornwall fire, the Rossmore House Fire, where a Charlie Gagne, bank clerk from Levis, perished.   Proof at last.

Charlie had recently been transferred to the Cornwall branch from the Danville, Quebec branch, which is near Richmond, Edith’s home-base. (The February jolt!)

Only half of Charlie’s body was found at the scene and that was burned beyond recognition. There was only a tie pin to identify him.

The fire had started in a stairwell and, as a boarder who knew the hotel well, Charlie tried to use the stairway to escape the fire, as did a few other boarders, including an entire family.

Most hotel clients had been rescued by fireman at their hotel window, or had frantically jumped to safety.

There was no photograph with this Montreal Gazette newspaper article, though – so I was confused.

Then Google News archives came online and I saw that the Rossmore Fire happened on April 29!

I headed down to Concordia’s Webster Library to check out the January-April reel of the 1910 Montreal Star.

Sure enough, the Cornwall fire was front page news on April 29 as the Star was an afternoon paper.

The next day’s issue had a back of the newspaper follow up article on the fire with a photograph of Charlie Gagne, Levis-born bank teller at the Bank of Montreal.

The photo was of a sober-faced Charlie, but it was without a doubt the man of the family album.

At long last, mystery over.

Then, much later, on Ancestry.ca, I found Charlie’s name on the 1901 Census and his 1910 death certificate that claims he died accidentally in a fire. Charlie, the snappy dresser, was the son of a modiste, a widow, and he had a younger sister. And he was buried as a Roman Catholic!


By René Péron

Religious history tells us that what we call The Reformation was indeed part and parcel of several attempts to reform certain aspects of the once dominant Roman Catholic Church. Be it under the influences of Francis of Assisi, Erasmus, Waldo, Hus, most prior moves towards reform from within said Church lasted but short periods of time. It remained for two convinced and strong willed men, namely Martin Luther and Jean Chauvin (whom we know best as Jean Calvin or John Calvin) to found separate though like-intentioned movements for deep and exacerbating reform.

Out of these said movements there was born a surge of people who became followers of the revised theological thinking as promulgated by each of the above named men, each in his own right and own sphere of influence. Thus the followers of the one became known as Lutherans and those of the other as Calvinists.

As is also well known, homo sapiens being a questioning animal, even the followers of the above two men started questioning some of their theological pronouncements. Over the years, much to the dismay of many, such questionings became points of division within the very core of the first Lutherans or Calvinists. These divisions on doctrinal or other issues within “reformed” Christianity over the last several centuries have led to a multitude of groups, such bearing names which they gave themselves or were given by others to differentiate, separate them from other believers in Christianity. Some of these names were outright fanciful whilst others were based on their beliefs or organizational set-ups. Thus Lutherans, Calvinists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Brethren, to name a few.

As North America as we know it today was founded by members of these diverse religious groups said members formed communities of like minded folk and their religious entities bore, bear, names borrowed,  adopted, from the movements found in the country of origin, be it the British Isles or the European continent. . Canada, particularly after the Conquest, inherited similar religious names through the migration of people from the British Isles as well as Europe. To these was the added influence of those U.S. citizens known to us as (a) Loyalists, or more simply as (b) people who crossed back and forth over the common border between Canada and the U. S. A., loosely guarded and even more loosely observed or recognized. Some of these latter individuals belonged to splinter religious entities, thus forming dissentient groups in Canada, keeping their identifying religious nomenclatures. Needless to say, further dissenting members of the established groups perpetuated the practice of adopting names to identify themselves.

In all of this one must not lose sight of the historical fact that in the early days, after the conquest, non-French speaking immigrants were most apt to affiliate, join, with the then official state church, namely the Church of England. However many areas soon saw the arrival of itinerant preachers of the then established denominations, some originating in the British Isles, others in the U.S.A., ; these men would often visit communities which were not, or at least not well, served by the state church. Thus there soon were pockets of folk who formed Baptist, Methodist, or other church groups as they gathered around the said itinerant preachers, adopted their way of expressing their religious beliefs and took on the nomenclature which defined their particular approach to “religion”.

Perhaps this modus operandi was most noticeable in those geographical areas where the established state church had not found it expedient to send representatives. Understandably such areas were in the undeveloped hinterland. Those places, distant from the large centres, such as along the U.S./Canada border, were most susceptible to experience this phenomenon.

All of which leads one to remark or note that when the Province de Québec saw the beginnings of its own “reform” movement amidst the French speaking population in the early 1800s the people who converted to Protestantism  were apt to follow the same pattern in joining one particular religious denomination or the other. One can cite as an example the group which many historians recognize as the first to firmly put down roots and later affiliate itself with a recognized denomination, namely the Baptist one. Its founders, from “la Suisse” (Switzerland), namely Louis Roussy and Mrs Henriette (née Odin) Feller  had felt a spiritual calling to come to Québec to evangelize. Supported by a non-conformist missionary /religious society, La société des missions évangéliques de Lausanne, in Suisse, encouraged by a fellow Christian, namely Henri Olivier, who was already trying to evangelize French language Canadians in the Montréal region, they briefly came to that city and endeavoured to convert the local folk to their view or approach to the Protestant faith.

A rich Kings’ daughter

The Kings’ daughters (Filles du Roi) who came to Canada between 1663 and 1673 under are often described as poor, orphaned or prostitutes.

Yet my ancestor Catherine Clerice doesn’t seem to fit that description.

Catherine was indeed recruited by Louis XIV’s team and she did indeed get a dowry of 50 livres from the King. Her goods also included an additional 250 livres of her own money, which would have purchased 10 arpents of land in New France at that time if Gerry Lalonde is to be believed.

So why did she leave her family, her friends and everything she knew at only 18 years old? It may have been a strong sense of adventure, a lack of prospects, a sense of duty or just a momentary teenage impulse with long-lasting consequences.

Whatever her incentive, she left La Rochelle, France in June 1671 on a 300 ton ship known as the St. Jean-Baptiste.

The ships were very crowded and sanitation was not top priority.  Disease was common among the women as bacteria and germs spread quickly among the crowded and filthy conditions.  Food was a scarce commodity on the voyage as three months was too long to keep perishable foods such as fruit, vegetables, and meat from spoiling.  Physical conditions on the voyage were terrible, but the girls on the ship also felt a great psychological burden during their passage.  These were very young women who left their families, their country, and most of their belongings behind in order to go to a completely new world.  Fear of the unknown left many of them uncertain about their future and even their survival.”[1]

She arrived in Quebec on August 15, 1671.

Within six weeks, she was betrothed to Jacques Lussier. Their contract “marriage act” was written by Romain Becquet on October 4, 1671 and the home of Anne Gasnier, who was a Kings Daughters’ patron.

The couple joined another nine couples to be married at Notre-Dame de Quebec on October 12. Toussaint Dubeau, Louis Denis dit Lafontaine and Rene Dumas witnessed their wedding. The first parish priest of Quebec, Henri de Bernieres, officiated.

Together, they had twelve children, including my own ancestor Louise.

The couple remained in Varennes, Quebec until both died.

According to Jerry DeKeyser, the property of Jacques Lussier was divided up after he died.

At that time, upon the death of one of the parents, the law obliged the survivor to have an inventory taken by a notary and to carry out the division of the property. On 13 March 1713, Catherine Clerice gathered her family before notary Adhemar and witnesses; she had the list of property, left by her late husband. All the furniture and real estate were written down on paper: the two tin chandeliers, the small earthen ware plates, the iron grill with seven bars, the very ornate wardrobe of Jacques Lussier, the farm with four arpents of frontage on which lived two oxen, four milk cows, three calves, three horses, and so forth. Then followed the deeds, papers and instructions. The ancestor had nearly 3,000 livres in ready cash, a fortune for that time.

Two days later, the Lussier family, very united, and very respectful to their mother, held a house auction. The disposable things were sold according to the best offer from the heirs and according to its portion of the inheritance. The paternal house and all that was necessary for her subsistence were left to Catherine Clerice.

The ordeal was too much. Ancestress Lussier, at the age of 68, went to join her husband on the first of March 1715. The pastor of Sainte Anne de Varennes, Canadian born Abbot Claude Volant de Saint-Claude, signed the registry after two witnesses; Jacques Girard and Jean Charbonneau.”[2]

[1] By Sarah Gahagan on her report “Les Filles Du Roi” at http://www.fawi.net/ezine/vol3no4/FASWST2003/Gahagan.html.

[2] DeKeyser, Jerry C. “Genealogical Details For: Jacques Lussier, B. 1646   d. Abt Oct 1712 — Ancestors and Descendants of the DeKeyser and Related Families.” Genealogical Details For: Jacques Lussier, B. 1646   d. Abt Oct 1712 — Ancestors and Descendants of the DeKeyser and Related Families. 2013. Accessed May 27, 2015. http://www.cs.iusb.edu/~dekeyser/familytree/vft_indpage.php?idno=4491.

RCAF Iroquois Squadron 431

By Sandra McHugh

In World War II, RCAF Iroquois Squadron 431 executed 2,584 sorties, dropped 14,004 tons of bombs, lost 72 aircraft, and suffered 490 aircrew causalities, including 313 deaths, and 14 operational personnel deaths.1 My father, Edward McHugh, was part of the ground crew of this squadron.  He was an electrician by trade and when he enlisted during the summer of 1940, it was determined that the RCAF needed aircraft electricians. He began his training in Canada as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Program (BCATP). Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King had agreed that Canada would manage the BCATP at 231 facilities across Canada, mainly at air bases.2

Great Britain’s Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command was formed on July 14, 1936 and became part of the air defence of the country.  It was made up of groups and the Canadians were included in these groups. Group 6 was established on January 1, 1943 and was entirely made up of Canadian squadrons. At its peak, there were 14 squadrons belonging to group 6, including Iroquois Squadron 431.3

Squadron 431 operated Wellington X, Halifax V, and Lancaster X aircraft.  The Halifax and Lancaster aircraft had higher speed and greater bomb loads than earlier aircraft.4 The Canadian squadrons were stationed in Burn, Tholthorpe, and Croft, Yorkshire, allowing them to make sorties out across the English Channel, out into the North Sea, and into mainland Europe. Their targets included military targets, U boats, industrial centres, and Nazi occupied territories. The battle honours of Squadron 431 include the English Channel and North Sea, the Baltic, Fortress Europe (areas occupied by Nazi Germany), France and Germany (1944-45), ports in the Bay of Biscay, the Ruhr valley, Berlin, German Ports, Normandy, and the Rhine.5

My father almost never spoke about the war.  Despite the camaraderie and deep friendships he forged during his time of service, it was a dark period of his life and he wanted to forget about it. The few times he spoke of it, he mentioned the busy work leading up to a mission, whereby the ground crew would be working intensely to ensure that everything was the best it could be.  Each person was acutely aware that a small detail could mean the difference between life and death.  Each team of the ground crew was assigned to one bomber and they would wait for their bomber to come back after the mission.  Sometimes the bay remained empty and the bomber never came back.  My father never got over the pain of waiting for a bomber that would not return.


A special thanks to W.E. Huron for his publication about Squadron 431: The History of 431 R.C.A.F. Squadron and more, 1942-1945: Burn, Tholthorpe, Croft

1 Heron, W.E., A Yorkshire Squadron, the History of 431 R.C.A.F. Squadron and more, 1942–1945: Burn, Tholthorpe, Croft, General Store Publishing House, 2009, p. 8


3 Heron, W.E., A Yorkshire Squadron, the History of 431 R.C.A.F. Squadron and more, 1942–1945: Burn, Tholthorpe, Croft, General Store Publishing House, 2009, pages 3 and 4

4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Bomber_Command

5 Heron, W.E., A Yorkshire Squadron, the History of 431 R.C.A.F. Squadron and more, 1942–1945: Burn, Tholthorpe, Croft, General Store Publishing House, 2009, p. 8

Ground crew. Edward McHugh, wearing overalls, is in the front.

Ground crew. Edward McHugh, wearing overalls, is in the front.

Ground crew.

Ground crew.




In 1916, William sailed for India. He was to take up garrison duties in Multan, India (now Pakistan) so as to release regular troops to fight in the War.

William Clegg lived in Liverpool during the early 1900s. He was married to Louisa, and together they had eight children; one child stillborn, one child who died at aged two and another at six years of age, leaving five living children.

At that time and for many years afterwards life in Liverpool was hard. Living conditions were crowded, poor and unhealthy. There was not much work, and only the few could hope for a fulfilling life. William earned his living as a paint grinder a dirty, noisy and unhealthy job.

In April 1914, one of the children named Evelyn aged six died. This must have been a very hard year for the family. When WW1 was declared on August 1, 1914, William joined the Territorial Army. He probably wanted get away from the death and poor living conditions and maybe hoping to get a better level of pay to support his family. He was 32 years of age, and he left Louisa eight months pregnant!

The Territorial Army is an army of volunteers which supports the British Army. Volunteer units have existed for centuries, but in 1908 they were merged to form the Territorial Force. Members of the Territorial Force were mobilised in the First World War and served alongside the regular army. [1]

One of the units was The Fifth Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, which had its HQ at 65 St Anne Street Liverpool.

William was supposed to be part of the Home Guard and serve in England but at some point he agreed to transfer to the Rifle Brigade. He was immediately sent to the Curragh in Ireland, and then to Douglas on the Isle of Man for training.

By 1916, he and other troops were on their way to India as part of the “The Indian Trooping Season.”

Normally, troop ships left England in September and returned on another ship, with the last ships leaving India in March. This pattern was probably established once troop ships no longer sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and started using the “Overland Route’ and then the Suez Canal after its opening in 1869.[2]

Travel was restricted to the cooler months so that acclimatised troops from Britain were not traveling from the ports of Bombay or Karachi to their cantonments during the heat of an Indian summer.

William travelled on the troop ship “Ballarat,” which was mistakenly diverted to Karachi by senior officers.

It was against regulations cross the Sind Desert from Karachi to Multan because of abnormally hot temperatures, but William and the other troops with him did so anyway.  They were exposed to terrible conditions. More than 200 men suffered from heat stroke and 20 of them died.

During an inquiry, three senior officers were blamed for not looking after the men. Questions were raised in India and England.

The governments of India sent the following telegram to the British House of Commons:

We can now give a considered opinion, having received a report of committee. The responsibility for diverting the ship from Bombay to Karachi rests with Brigadier-General Roe who was acting as Quartermaster-General at the time. He knew acclimatised troops had never before been sent in large number by rail in the middle of Summer through the Sind Desert. He knew, or should have known that the Commander -in-Chief in December 1915, had decided that Karachi should not be used as a port at which wounded and sick British troops should be landed and distributed to other stations, on account of danger of sending in the hot season through Sind.

It follows, that before (the ship) Ballarat was diverted to Karachi, Acting Quarter-Master-General should have consulted Commander-in-Chief but did not do this. Having taken on himself responsibility, he should certainly have warned Karachi military authorities to take special precautions for safety of troops during journey by rail. He did not do this.

We, therefore, must hold him responsible, and propose to remove him from his appointment as Deputy Quarter-master-general. It is clear from evidence, that the mischief began before disembarkation, many men having been seen on deck bareheaded in the sun, a thing no officer with Indian experience would have allowed. All the officers on board were quite inexperienced, and we cannot hold them blameworthy.” [3]

The lengthy telegram went on add that the troop train left Karachi with 13 officers and 1013 men and was insufficiently equipped, overcrowded and without experienced officers.

The three British officers named in the inquiry were “cashiered,” which means they were dismissed from their positions for a breach of discipline.

William Clegg and 19 others died in the Multan Military Hospital, which is now in Pakistan. He left behind his wife and 5 children.

He was originally buried in Multan but the commonwealth War Graves Commission has found it impossible to maintain War Graves in Pakistan so his name also appears on the large British War Graves Cenotaph in Karachi.

William was the grandfather of my husband John Clegg.

[1] http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/research-guides/army-auxiliary-1769-1945

[2] https://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Trooping_season

[3] http://papersPast.natlib.govt.nz/dominion


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers

%d bloggers like this: