Author Archives: Lucy H. Anglin

Dear Uncle Bill

Dear Uncle Bill,

While rummaging through the Dusty Old Boxes containing family memorabilia, I came upon letters written by you to your only brother, my father, Tom.  There were also letters written to your sweetheart during WWII while you were stationed in England serving with the RCAF. So I thought the best way to remember you would be in the form of a letter.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lucy and I am one of your nieces.

Our paths never crossed.  I was only born in 1957 and you died in 1943. Your brother had seven children.  I was his fourth.  His eldest son, born in 1949, was named after you – William Sherron Anglin II.

While staying with my family in England in 2016, I visited you in person at your last known address:  Runnymede Memorial[1], Panel 179, Surrey, UK.  My grandchildren, who always enjoy a challenge, accompanied me in my search to find you. It didn’t take them long to find your panel and you – or your name, that is – inscribed on one of several stone walls, along with 20,000 other airmen,  at this dedicated memorial building on Cooper’s Hill overlooking the Thames River.

Your name was too high up for the children to touch but I brushed my fingers lovingly over your name and told you we were there. I am quite sure you knew it. You had an interest in mental telepathy, as did your grandfather, and his story was documented in the family boxes as well.  (Surgeon and Mentalist)

Throughout your letters to Tom, along with childhood memories, you shared and referred to an interest in The Rosicrucian Order which “is a community of mystics who study and practice the metaphysical laws governing the universe”.[2]

You maintained the belief in an ability to “project” yourself and to send mental messages. I can only guess that a feeling of closeness to your brother by any means must have consoled you greatly while away at war in England.

In your letters to your sweetheart, you described England in general (with the usual complaints about the rainy weather), your life with the RCAF, weekend leaves to Scotland and dances in the mess hall “wishing you were there”.  Although I don’t have her letters in response, I am sure you took great comfort in hearing from her.

You were sent on a training course at the end of May 1943 and, while away, your crew went on a mission without you – never to return. In the last letter to your girl, you confided that you were feeling “depressed” at their loss.  On the very next mission, you went missing as well.

Last picture of Uncle William

Last picture of Uncle Bill (far left) – 1943

Not long afterwards, your sweetheart sent a bundle of your cherished letters, wrapped in a bow, to your mother and wrote “I know I want to forget as soon as I am able, everything – and so I am sending you the few letters I had saved from those Bill sent me from England.  I hope that you would rather have them, than not … perhaps they will make you glad to have something more – to know something else of Bill’s life in England … rather than rake up memories you are trying to forget. For while I want to forget, I feel so sure that you will want to remember.”

Your mother never gave up hope that you would return one day.

Wendling & Josephine Anglin and sons Bill and Tom (1940)

Bill, Wendling  (the stock broker), Josephine, Tom and family dog (1940).

The abundant number of photos found with the letters in these boxes show your 27 years filled with family times – gatherings, annual trips, formal portraits, a few pets and a full life.

You will not be forgotten.


Your niece Lucy


William Sherron Anglin was an Air/Gunner and Warrants Officer II with the 429 Squadron flying in a Wellington X bomber, Serial no. HZ471.

Reason for Loss:

Took off from R.A.F. East Moor, North Yorkshire at 22.36 hrs joining 719 aircraft attacking the town of Wuppertal, the home of the Goldchmitt firm which produced Tego-Film, a wood adhesive used in the production of the HE162 and TA154 (aircraft).  Around 1000 acres was destroyed in the firestorm that followed – 211 industrial buildings and nearly 4,000 houses were totally destroyed. A figure of 3,400 fatalities on the ground has been recorded. Bomber command did not escape lightly on this operation losing some 36 aircraft.

It is thought “probable” that HZ471 was shot down by Lt. Rolf Bussmann, flying out of Venlo airfield, and attacking this Wellington at 3,700 meters with the aircraft falling into the sea off Vlissingen.

429 Squadron possible loss area

[1] as at November 19, 2017

[2] as at November 19, 2017.


“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” called out my grade two teacher as the last word on our daily spelling test. It was the surest way to get our full attention on that April Fool’s Day!

When I begin to work on a story about one of my ancestors, it is not always clear on how to best start the story.  One very helpful tip, from the Genealogy Ensemble writers group, has been to find a way to capture the reader’s interest in the first few sentences.

Dick Francis, a famous British jockey and thriller writer (and one of my favourite authors), began almost all of his books in this fashion.

Here are some examples of excellent openers from stories posted on our website Genealogy Ensemble:

  1. A Small Life by Barb Angus –

“I hold the documents as gently as I would the child for whom I have searched for so long. A birth certificate. A death certificate. Four days apart.”

  1. Call me Ismael by Mary Sutherland-

“He arrived when the service was almost over. He walked to the pulpit and announced the last hymn “Seigneur Tu donne Ta Grace.” As the organ played he collapsed to the floor. So ended the life of Ismael Bruneau, my great grandfather.”

  1. The Cipher by Sandra McHugh –

“When I say that my grandfather, Thomas McHugh, worked as a cipher, Bletchley Park, MI5, and Russian spies immediately come to mind. He was neither a Russian spy nor did he work as a cipher during the war. His employer was the Bank of Montreal and it was his first job when he came to Canada in 1912.”

  1. No Fairy Tale Ending by JaniceHamilton

It must have been a happy wedding. For a girl from relatively humble American roots to marry the owner of one of Quebec’s vast seigneuries, this must have seemed like a wonderful match. And the groom had recently lost his parents, so family members were no doubt pleased to see him marry. Unfortunately, there was no fairy-tale ending to this story.”

  1. Like Father, Like Son by Lucy H. Anglin –

“My husband was mesmerized by the photo of a young man hanging in a sling close to the giant propeller of the airplane he was repairing.  He had never seen it before.  It was a photo of his father, Allan, in his early twenties.”

Nonsensical words are great fun for children, but I think the opening sentences of these stories are excellent examples of how to capture my interest as an adult reader.

The Stock Broker

His timing could not have been worse.  Just a few years before the great stock market crash of 1929, my grandfather, Wendling Anglin, started up his own brokerage branch office in Kingston, Ontario.

The market crash was followed by the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis of modern times.  The stock market and Wall Street were plagued with uncertainty throughout the 1930’s.

Wendling gave up the Kingston office to take over the Toronto office.  But business was too poor to carry on and that office had to be closed as well.  So he transferred to the Montreal, Quebec, office in 1933 and became manager of Johnston and Ward.  This brokerage firm later changed its name to G.E. Leslie and Company, and ultimately became Nesbitt Thompson.

In July 1940, while Wendling was struggling to make a living as a stock broker, Canada joined the allied forces of World War II.  He writes in a letter to my father, Tom, his youngest son:  “Business is fierce, nothing at all … and I cannot get to first base with the government.  I will go after private industry.  I certainly want to do something in war effort.”[1] The answer:  Victory Bonds.

Approximately half of the Canadian war cost was covered by War Savings Certificates and war bonds known as “Victory Bonds”. These bonds, which were loans to the government to allow for increased war spending, were sold to individuals and corporations throughout Canada. War Savings Certificates began selling in May 1940 and were sold door-to-door by volunteers as well as at banks, post offices, trust companies and other authorised dealers.[2]

In December 1942, he wrote to his oldest sister, Mamie: “Market has been better, and business picking up somewhat. This I am thankful for as it was an awful let down coming back after Victory Loan. Worked hard on Loan and raised 1/4 million from my dozen companies, but as I was loaned to the government by our firm, just received my salary as usual.”[3]  Six months later, in another letter to his son, Tom: “Have been very busy on Loan, received order for $880,000 from my 14 companies – $80,000 over objective – so feel satisfied I did a good job.”[4]

The eldest of his two sons, Bill, joined the RCAF in May 1942, so raising this government money might have enabled him to feel a little less helpless in supporting him and bringing him home safely.

Sadly, Bill was declared “missing in action” in May 1943, age 27 years.  Wendling’s hopeless frustration is obvious in his August 1944 letter to my father:  “Wish this damn war would end so that we might get some news of Bill should he be with the underground—.”[5]

The much needed closure from an official notice of his death never came.  However, Wendling and his wife, Josephine, never gave up hope on their “missing” son.

Meanwhile, their younger son Tom and his wife, Ann (my parents), offered them a joyful diversion with their growing family of three grandchildren.

Wendling died of lung cancer in 1955 at age 63 – still waiting for his oldest son to come home.

[1] Letter written to his son, Tom Anglin, July 16, 1940 – author’s collection

[2] Wikipedia – Victory

[3] Letter written to his sister, Mamie, December 1942 – – as viewed October 24, 2015

[4] Letter written to his son, Tom Anglin, May 17, 1943 – author’s collection

[5] Letter written to his son, Tom Anglin, dated August 7, 1944 – author’s collection

The Anglin Brothers

When Robert left Ireland for Canada in 1829, young William Anglin (my great-great-grandfather) missed his older brother terribly. For the next 14 years, he wrote letters frequently as the only way to keep him close to his heart. Upon hearing of the rebellions in 1838 in Upper Canada and near Kingston, Ontario, where Robert had settled with his family, William wrote a worried letter:

Another reason why I have not written is the very disturbed state of your country – you cannot think the feelings of my mind on account of you my dear brothers and family for fear you should suffer loss of property, or life. I pray that you may receive this and that it will find you all well. I was afraid that a letter may not pass from here to you, and was kept in awful suspense to know how it would terminate – and anxiously waiting for every account – and you cannot imagine what joy it gave me to hear that the Rebels are in a great measure defeated.      ..…     I was glad to know from the papers that they did not get up to Kingston, and I hope that you in that city do still enjoy peace. We were glad to hear the stand the Protestants have made with the Army against them. Things may be worse than we know with you but do hope our next account will bring us satisfactory news. A good deal of the Army sailed from England and Ireland for America and do hope they have safely arrived before this date. I forbear to say any more on this, to me, painful subject, and know that you are better acquainted with it than I can be. I only mention what I have said to let you know what I have heard about the agitated state of your country. Under such circumstances as these I hope you will write as soon as you receive this, for I long to hear from you or to see you. 

 – Excerpt from a letter from William to his brother Robert in Kingston – Feb 23, 1838                                         

In 1843, William at age 28, arrived in Kingston, Ontario, where he finally joined two of his older brothers, Robert and Samuel, in business.  William, the youngest of four brothers and one sister, was born in 1815 in Bandon, County Cork, Ireland. He hadn’t seen his brother Robert in 14 years.

Before long William branched out into business for himself, partnering with an iron-gray pony named ‘Fanny’.  He travelled along the Rideau Canal as far north as Big Rideau Lake, and also along Lake Ontario to Hay Bay near Adolphustown, purchasing cordwood as fuel for the mail boats operating between Toronto and Montreal – steamers named ‘Passport’, ‘Spartan’, ‘Corsican’, ‘Corinthian’, and ‘Algerian’[1].

Later he purchased his own powerful tug, named ‘Grenville’, as well as two barges and continued to manage the cordwood contract with his young son’s help.  The cordwood was then freighted up on scows and barges, and piled on the Long Wharf in Kingston, later known as Swift’s Wharf.[2]

In 1847, four years after his arrival in Kingston, William married Mary Gardiner who had been born in County Durham, England, in 1817, and had also immigrated to the Kingston area with her family.

William and his wife first had two daughters, Mary Frances, who died shortly after her birth in 1850, and Annabella ‘Annie’ Jane.

Annie was born in 1853. Sadly, on July 1, 1878, while watching a fireworks display in the Cricket Field from the roof of a neighbors’ house, she took ill and developed pulmonary tuberculosis.  She was only 26 years old when she died on April 18, 1879.[3]

Then came two sons, William Gardiner Anglin (my great-grandfather), in 1856, and James Vickers Anglin, in 1860. They grew up in the house at 56 Earl Street where they moved as young boys with their parents in 1865.

Both sons eventually studied medicine at Queen’s University and became well respected surgeons in Kingston. William, however, also built an extension on his father’s house at 56 Earl Street which served both as his own home and medical office.  To this day, the name “Dr. W.G. Anglin” is still etched on the window at 56 Earl Street.[4]

When William’s mother died in Ireland, in 1863, twenty years after William’s arrival in Kingston, his eldest brother, John, was finally able to move to Upper Canada to join the rest of the family.

The Anglin brothers were re-united once again.


[2] The Anglin Family Story – Part 2 –

[3] The Anglin Family Story – Part 2 –

[4] Helen Finlay, owner-operator of  52 Earl Street Cottages, Kingston, Ontario

Dusty Old Boxes

The latest de-cluttering guru tells us to keep only things that give you “joy”[1].  All other items should be thanked for their purpose or usefulness or memory and then given away.  At the end of this exercise all that should remain is an environment of pure joy!

We are told to start with clothes, then books, kitchen cupboards and desktops.  Then, after all that practise discerning the feeling of joy over an object, we should be ready to tackle photos and personal memorabilia.

On the top shelf of my largest storage cupboard are three dusty old boxes that have been there for years.  They were to be the last step of my de-cluttering exercise.

I slowly opened the lid of the first box and found masses of old photographs, mostly black and white, some labelled and others not.  The first handful of photos was of loving couples and families enjoying reunions at the dinner table.  Others showed groups of people standing proudly on the front step of a house. The next scoopful was of children at play sometimes happily holding pets in their arms or on their laps.  Another handful produced proud young adults in various uniforms – ready for war or to start a new career. The next bunch showed lazy days on sandy beaches, birthday parties and yearly Christmas gatherings.  Frozen moments in time captured forever, I quietly and gently put them back in their box.

The next box was filled to the brim with letters and cards. Some still neatly tucked into their envelopes, others held together with yellowing scotch tape and looking well fingered.  Most of them had handwritten messages in big loopy writing that was difficult to read.  The stamps alone told another story postmarked from places and dates from long ago.  Amongst the letters were children’s drawings, thank you notes, lists of party guests, menus and lots of much loved recipes.  But my very favourite find in this box was the love letters, written with such passion and folded lovingly into perfect little rectangles decorated with doodled hearts.

The last box contains loads of newspaper clippings mostly of all the family’s birth, death and wedding announcements from over the years.  Underneath all the newspaper, I found grandmother’s lace handkerchief and what looks like a tiny baby’s christening dress and a lock of hair.  I picked up a lone slim book and several dried flowers fall to the floor.  There are numerous small diaries, every page filled with the writing which continued up the sides of the page. Carefully folded in some tissue paper was an old dated sampler proudly stitched by a young girl two hundred years ago.  Treasure after treasure had been lovingly stored in this last box.

I quietly closed their lids and stacked the three boxes on top of each other.

Just then, it dawned on me that someone had already sorted the family memorabilia into those three separate boxes, leaving me to find three dusty old boxes of pure joy.

[1] Spark Joy by Marie Kondo


The Needlework Sampler – 1811 A.D.

I am so excited!  I am embroidering my very own sampler.  Creating the border around the outside edge has been excellent practice getting used to the needle and thread.

What a shame, though, that there are so many daily chores to be done before I am allowed to work on my sampler!  I wish my little brother would help out a bit more.  However, I must remember that Mother and Father work so very hard and we must do our part without complaint.

The border is almost finished.  I have mastered this simple first stitch.  I love the stiffness of the cotton fabric. The silk threads feel heavenly to touch but are annoying when they get tangled. Too bad the colours weren’t brighter. Mother says it’s more important to learn the stitches.  She’s going to teach me a lot of them – the cross-stitch, the slipstitch, the whip stitch, the satin stitch and even the French knot! I can’t wait!

Sometimes it’s difficult to pay attention during weekly classes at school.  The headmaster tells us that James Madison is our President and that we have 15 stars and 15 stripes on our flag which represent all our states.  The British are restricting our local trade and making our young American men join their Royal Navy. Imagine that!  And the Indians…is America ours or theirs?  It’s very hard to be a good pupil when I’d rather work on my sampler!

I’ve started on my alphabet letters now.  Capitals first and then the lower case ones.  They are quite tricky and take a lot of patience.  Oh, how I wish I had more patience!  But Mother says that I am doing very well and that some girls are two or three years older than I am before they start their samplers.

The other day, my brother put a huge beetle in my sewing basket!  Ewww! Why do boys have to be so silly? Maybe if he did more chores, he wouldn’t have time for pranks!

Numbers are wonderful. Stitching twelve numbers is much easier than all those alphabet letters – twice around!

It’s hard to believe the number of stitches that I’ve done already but there are many more to go.  Much patience is required.

…and less chores!  Just think how quickly I could finish my sampler if I didn’t have my daily chores!

Hurry! The daylight won’t last much longer and it’s getting difficult to see my stitching with the dim lamplight.

I am working on my name now.  I like my name.  Mary House.  It looks and sounds very neat and tidy – like a row of my very best stitching.

Beside my name, I am adding the date.  It takes a while to create a sampler so the only dates that are sewn are the year: “my eleventh year” and 1811 A.D.  “My eleventh year” sounds so much grander than “ten years old”.  I know A.D. stands for the number of years since the death of Jesus.  Ah! Maybe I should pray for more patience.

My stitches are improving and I haven’t had to undo as many lately.  Undoing stitches is almost worse than doing chores!

I’m working on the poem next.  It goes like this:

                          When I am dead and laid in grave

                          And all my bones are rotten

                          When this you see remember me

                          Lest I should be forgotten

I wonder who wrote this poem.  It makes me sad.  And can you imagine someone admiring my sampler after I die?

Finished at last!  Mother praised me saying that I did a very fine job indeed.  I am thrilled with it and will store it safely under my bed.


Mary was my 3x great grandmother. She died in 1830 at 29 years old.  Her sampler hangs proudly in our home.  She is not forgotten. 


Surgeon and Mentalist

Shortly before graduation from medical school at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario in 1883, William G. Anglin (my great grandfather) and a few fellow medical students attended the performance of a “thought-reader”, English mentalist Stuart Cumberland[1]. So impressed with what they had seen, they went back to their place and tried one of the simpler experiments.

 The operator was blindfolded, and the Medium, placing the back of the fingers of one hand on the operator’s forehead was to think intently as to what was required to be done. For instance – pick up an article from some position and place it in another position – the operator having previously gone out of the room while the experiment was being agreed upon. Everyone singly failed, and I was the last one to try. Immediately I went across the room and picked up a small object from the mantelpiece – crossed the room and placed it on the middle of a chair. Tore off the handkerchief from my eyes and said: “That’s what you wanted done”. “By George, you’re right, Anglin, we will try you again”, and I did correctly five or six other experiments – each a little more difficult than the last. Could not account for the success, but in every experiment I was conscious that I was doing the right thing. When my fingers touched the desired object, I closed on it with a feeling of certainty.[2]

The next week William left for Halifax to sail for Liverpool to continue his medical studies in England. He met a fellow doctor and, eventually the conversation turned to “thought-reading”.

It proved to be a very entertaining voyage for the passengers, as he successfully performed time and time again. A passenger would say – “Well, Doctor, I hid a pin somewhere on the ship – an hour ago” and blindfolded, William would take the passenger’s right hand and, holding the fingers to his forehead, he would say, “Think where it is”, and they would start upstairs and downstairs, and along corridors to the spot, and he would pick up the pin from a curtain or a chair wherever it had been placed.[3]

Later in life, his son Douglas, referring to his father’s diary, lamented “End of Diary – too bad – I wish we could have heard about my father’s time studying in London and Edinburgh, where he was entertained at many high society places on account of his thought-reading.”[4]

Following his medical degree from Queen’s in 1883, William spent eighteen months as the house surgeon at the Royal Infirmary, the Sick Children’s Hospital, and the Royal Maternity Hospital in England. Then he successfully completed the M.R.C.S. exam (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons) in England.

When he returned to Kingston, in the fall of 1885, he lectured for a session in surgery at the Women’s Medical College. A year later, he became Professor of Pathology and finally head of the department of Clinical Surgery.

Around that time, William built an addition to his parents’ home at 52 Earl Street in Kingston, which provided him with both office and home. 3

This is where he brought his childhood sweetheart and bride, Harriet (Hattie) Eva Gould, in 1886. The name ‘Dr. Anglin’ remains embossed in the upper portion of the glass of the front window to this day.[5]

He remained a member of the Medical Staff at Queen’s until May 1915 when he departed with the Queen’s Stationary Hospital for Cairo, at age 59. Cairo, Egypt - Dec 7, 1915 - Lt Col AnglinHe served as a civil-surgeon with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel until 1916 when he became ill with Malta fever and phlebitis. He was given a medical discharge and sent back home.

William’s attestation papers, dated May 1st 1915, declared that he was fit for duty but noted a missing middle finger on his right hand.  In 1904, it was reported that Dr. William G. Anglin was severely ill, and lost a finger due to this illness. There was much relief when it was announced that he would live.[6] Middle Finger The story told was that by using his “thought-reading” skills, he was able to physically draw down the infection in his right arm to his middle finger. The amputation of that one finger removed all traces of infection from his body probably saving his life… and enabling him to continue his work as a surgeon.[7]




[1] Wikipedia-Stuart Cumberland (1857–1922) English mentalist known for his demonstrations of “thought reading”.

[2] Personal recollections – W.G. Anglin, 52 Earl Street, Kindston, Ontario – November 14, 1927

[3] Personal recollections – W. G.Anglin, 52 Earl Street, Kingston, Ontario – November 14, 1927

[4] Written note from Douglas Anglin at the end of Personal recollections – W.G. Anglin, 52 Earl Street, Kingson, Ontario – November 14, 1927.

[5] Helen Finlay, owner-operator of  52 Earl Street Cottages, Kingston, Ontario

[6] The Kingston Whig, January 12, 1904,

Queen’s archives, Biographical History – Anglin, William Gardiner (1856-1934)

[7] As told to Lucy Anglin from Thomas Gill Anglin, grandson of W.G. Anglin, who read his grandfather’s diary


Like Father, Like Son

My husband was mesmerized by the photo of a young man hanging in a sling close to the giant propeller of the airplane he was repairing.  He had never seen it before.  It was a photo of his father, Allan, in his early twenties.  This photo, shown to us by the helpful volunteers at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, was the highlight of this very special trip.Allan R Hunt005

My husband, Jim, had taken me “home” to Winnipeg to share a trip down memory lane for his 70th birthday.  A peaceful visit to two local cemeteries to find both sets of grandparents was followed by a tour of his childhood neighbourhoods in different parts of town. So many of the locations featured memories of his father that it almost felt as though there were three of us on this trip.

Along the way to find the three different houses where Jim grew up, I heard precious stories of friends and bicycles, playing in the lanes behind the houses, walking down the street to the corner soda fountain and waiting on the school wall for his older sister to finish her day. The last house he showed me was the one his father had built.

Amazingly we even managed to find the two summer lakefront cottages just an hour or so out of Winnipeg where Jim had spent his summers as a boy. It felt like Allan was guiding us from place to place.

My favourite story featured Jim and his friends crawling under the fence at the military airbase down the street from where his father worked to lie in the tall grass staring at the parked fighter jets.  They would be “shoo-ed” away gently and run home in fits of giggles. Allan’s aircraft maintenance career began at remote air bases in Ontario and Manitoba. He first worked on cargo float planes and then switched to commercial passenger planes when Trans Canada Airlines was formed in 1937. He was employee number 25 of the company which eventually became Air Canada. Later, it grew to 40,000 employees. The family moved to Montreal in 1958 to continue his career.

Jim followed his father’s footsteps into a 30-year career with Air Canada and enjoyed the thrill of travel as a privilege that comes with it.  They had travelled many times together as a family over the years and he continues to do so now with his own family. I learned a bit about how early Jim’s passion for the airline industry began, however, when  we visited Jim’s primary school in Winnipeg.  We walked into the principal’s office and spoke with the secretary.  I was so surprised to watch my six foot two husband shrink into a little boy as he shook the principal’s hand telling her he was from the class of ’52-’58.  She walked us to his old classroom where he remembered having to stand in the cloakroom as a punishment.  His crime? Making a paper airplane and flying it across the room!

By the end of our trip, I felt as if I got to know both Jim and Allan a little better.  Years ago when we married, I often lamented the fact that I never had the chance to meet Jim’s father.  When I said as much to his sister one day, she answered: “Well, you sort of have met him!”

I guess it’s true. Not only does Jim look very much like his father, especially as he grows older, but he tells me that he has many of the same mannerisms.  For example, chatting easily to strangers, quoting his father’s old sayings and efficiently scraping out the peanut butter jar!


The Priest

Sydenham Bagg Lindsay (1887-1975)

The recent McGill graduate and qualified Associate of the American Guild of Organists in New York City cautiously approached his father, in 1908, with his dream to enter the priesthood.  His father, a stockbroker, answered simply: “Not much money in it!”  But there was no doubt Sydenham Bagg Lindsay had a vocation.

He studied theology at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College and then at Lichfield Theological College in England.  In 1910, he was ordained Deacon in Montreal and then an Anglican Priest in 1911.

He served in various parishes in the Montreal area including St. John the Evangelist where he met his wife, Millicent Thorpe Hanington, daughter of Dr. James Peters Hanington.  They were married in 1918 at the height of the flu epidemic when only thirty guests were allowed in the church!

Soon after that, he became Assistant Priest at St. Matthews, Quebec City, then Trinity Church in Beauharnois.  Two years later he was given his first parish – St. Mark’s in Valleyfield.  He continued with his ministry all over the Diocese of Montreal and some of his parishes included St. Aidan’s in Ville Emard and St. Simon’s in St. Henri. Finally in 1940, he became the rector of the Church of the Advent on Wood Avenue, in Westmount.

During the depression, when he was at St. Simon’s in the slums of Montreal, not only did  it take real ingenuity to produce the Christmas pageant without any money but the confirmation veils were stolen just a few minutes before the Bishop arrived![1]

World War II brought an end to the depression, but also, alas, an end to the lives of some of his parishioners.  His daughter, Mary Kerr, recalled that “many a bereaved parent, spouse or friend told us what a help my father was in their time of sorrow.”[2]

As rector of the Church of the Advent, he built up the parish and the boys’ choir which became quite famous and drew a large congregation.  It was a great thrill for him.

In his “spare” time, Sydenham was a classics scholar and church historian and kept up a correspondence with people all around the world, including missionaries and the fellowship in Western Canada.  He also regularly contributed to the “Letters to the Editor” column in the newspaper writing “no more than three or four sentences but always to the point, saying all that need be said in a few words”[3].

He also wrote and published the following four books:  A Historical Sketch of St. Columba’s Parish, Montreal, The Church of England and the Reformation (A Lecture Delivered in the Diocesan College, Montreal, on the 10th March 1954), Bishops of the Lindsay Clan (1957) and The Three Hours’ Vigil (1965).

In 1950, he was made an honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral   His health began to fail in 1953 and he retired as Rector of the Church of the Advent.  He stayed on as assistant priest, happily and humbly helping his successor. There may not have been “much money” in his calling but his “golden” jubilee in the ministry was celebrated in style in 1960. I was only three years old at the time.

I, however, remember him fondly as my Grampa-Lin, quietly joining in the family get-togethers.  He loved his grandchildren and amused us in his special way.  When pouring out drinks at family dinners, he would ask us: “Would you like ginger ale or Adam’s ale?” – Adam’s ale being water, of course!

 Church of the Advent


[1] Personal recollection of his eldest daughter, Mary Thorpe Lindsay Kerr, 1993.

[2] Personal recollection of his eldest daughter, Mary Thorpe Lindsay Kerr, 1993.

[3] The Gazette article “Canon Lindsay’s 50 years of Service.” Oct 14, 1961

Great Granny Bagg (Kittens on the Wedding Dress)

Mary Heloise Bagg Lindsay (1854-1938)

Mary Heloise’s church life was most probably her refuge from ongoing family sagas! It is my belief that as the educated daughter of a wealthy Montreal real estate tycoon, the wife of a successful Montreal stockbroker and the mother of six challenging children – she appreciated the solitude of her Sunday morning church service. Her obituary, in 1938, summarized Mary Heloise Bagg Lindsay’s life as having “been a member of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Church of England and having belonged to St. John’s Church”[1].

My great grandmother, Mary Heloise, was one of the four surviving daughters of Stanley Clark Bagg and Catherine Mitcheson.  Born in 1854 at the Fairmount Villa, in the Golden Square Mile of Montreal, she grew up to marry Robert Lindsay in 1881.  Her only brother, Robert Stanley Bagg, was heir to the family fortune, her two older sisters married men in the clergy and her younger sister married a scandalous real estate tycoon who mysteriously disappeared when his debts caught up with him.

Her first matrimonial home, in 1881, was located at 436 St-Urbain[2], which was a subdivision of a very large villa lot stretching down to Sherbrooke, where Fairmount Villa stood and where her mother still lived. By 1920, she and Robert had moved to 6 Prince of Wales Terrace and then later on they lived at 1009 Sherbrooke Street West, where she died at age 84.

Ada was her firstborn child. On her wedding day, it was discovered that the family cat had had her litter of kittens on the wedding dress that had been laid out on the bed![3]  Olgivy’s, the local department store, was persuaded to open on a Sunday so that they could quickly acquire another dress. Lionel, her eldest son, became a well-loved family doctor and raised a large family of his own. Her second son, Sydenham, (my grandfather) was called into the Anglican ministry, much to the dismay of his father who was quoted as saying:  “Not much money in it!”  He managed to raise four children, so it seems he did alright.

Her last three children did not marry.  Stanley followed in his father’s footsteps becoming another successful Montreal stockbroker, after serving as a captain in WWI. He doted on his nieces (especially my mother) and nephews.  Marjorie remained a spinster when permission to marry her one true love was denied[4].  And sadly, her youngest child, Marguerite, died tragically at age 26.

Marguerite was a volunteer teacher in Labrador’s mission schools. Presumed drowned in August 1922, they found her body in December of that same year, and discovered she had died from self-inflicted wounds.  It was rumoured that the cause was connected to a love affair.

Thankfully, the church was indeed a big part of Mary Heloise’s life.  Without it, she might not have been able to survive the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

[1] The Montreal Gazette, August 15, 1938.

[2] Lovell’s 1890 – 1906.

[3] As told to me by my aunt, Katharin Lindsay Welch, telephone conversation – June 2013

[4] As told to me by my aunt, Katharin Lindsay Welch, telephone conversation – June 2013

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