All posts by Lucy H. Anglin

The Mothering Bureau

My great aunt Marguerite Lindsay, aged 22 in 1918, was well trained in mothering long before she might have had a child of her own. She “mothered” grown men while volunteering with the Information Bureau of the Canadian Red Cross Society in London during the Great War.

Lady Julia Drummond1, a Montreal philanthropist, established the Information Bureau within the Canadian Red Cross in 1915, when the first of the Canadian contingents landed in France.

“It was her absorbing wish to bring to the fighting men of Canada, when they returned from the battle line, sick or wounded, some sense of personal interest and sympathy, of individual thought and care.”2 Thereby, given the nickname “The Mothering Bureau.”

As soon as the wounded Canadians arrived in London, they were informed of the Information Bureau as sort of the fairy godmother of childhood dreams. Then they completed an index card (white for the enlisted men, blue for the officers), stamped and addressed to Lady Drummond, with their name, number, battalion, the name of the hospital and next of kin. Within days, not only would they receive a note from Lady Drummond herself, but each soldier met with their assigned “visitor” who learned more about him as she kept in touch with all Canadians admitted to her specific hospital.3

The Visitor reported weekly to the Bureau of the soldier’s wound or illness, his physical and mental condition, his needs and general well being. These reports, completed with initials and dates, were kept on his index card and eventually held a complete record of the soldier’s case.

The various departments would then immediately become active:

  • Letters of comfort or condolence based on these reports were quickly sent to the man’s family.
  • The parcels department would dispatch tobacco, cigarettes, and other comforts as requested by the visitor.
  • The newspaper department would send Canadian newspapers (often from their hometown).
  • The drives and entertainment department brought some diversion.
  • The hospitality department might arrange for leave in some kindly English home.

Efficient correspondence was the most important and valuable work of the Bureau.

Marguerite might have volunteered in one or several of the previously mentioned departments. However, I wonder if she worked along side Princess Mary3 (daughter of King George V and Queen Mary) as she too began her nurse’s training around the same time as Marguerite? Apparently Princess Mary told a friend: “they were some of the happiest days in my life.” Probably because she was not treated any differently from the others and the patients and her fellow nurses loved her.

Princess Mary wearing the same Red Cross uniform as Marguerite Lindsay – 1918
Miss Marguerite Lindsay – 1918

During that time, most of Marguerite’s family were also involved in the war efforts in different ways. Marguerite’s mother and sister-in-law (wife of her brother Lionel a doctor in the Canadian Army Medical Corps) were also volunteers with Lady Drummond’s Information Bureau. Her brother Stanley, a Captain, fought in Ypres in 1915. And her father, Robert Lindsay, co-founded along with Lady Drummond and Lady Perley (wife of Canada’s High Commissioner) the first of The King George and Queen Mary Maple Leaf Clubs3. (A Montreal Stockbroker…and much more) Several large London homes were donated and refurbished to provide for the welfare of Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) soldiers on leave from the front.

Robert Lindsay kept a family residence in London for several years at 8 Radnor Place, Hyde Park, just over a mile from Coulter Hospital4 (another refurbished home) at 5 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, where Marguerite volunteered her time with the Bureau. A 20-minute walk home to the shelter of family life might have provided a bit of normalcy to her hectic days.

Sometime in 1919, after the end of the war, Marguerite continued her volunteer work as one the much needed VADs (Voluntary Aid Detachments)5 at the Canadian Red Cross Hospital in Sidmouth, Devon. She must have lodged with the other nurses since the family home in Hyde Park was now 160 miles away.

What did Marguerite and the other volunteer “mothers” accomplish in the Great War?

To some of the men, they provided kit bags, tobacco and chewing gum and such, but to others – a renewed interest in a changed life and some hope for the future. All the soldiers were cared for as individuals and that’s what really mattered. A much needed human and personal touch during the time of war.

1http://faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/encyclopedia/LadyGraceJuliaDrummond-QuebecHistory.htm

2The Maple Leaf’s Red Cross, The Mothering Bureau, p. 70

3The Story of Canadian Red Cross, chapter 111, p. 16

3https://www.historyofroyalwomen.com/mary-princess-royal/mary-princess-royal-the-beloved-princess/

3http://www.canadianmilitaryhistory.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/5-Cozzi-Maple-Leaf-Club.pdf, Sarah Cozzi

4https://wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/hospitals/hospital.php?pid=13605

The Coulter Hospital opened in September 1915 in a house in Grosvenor Square lent for the purpose by Sir Walpole Greenwell (1847-1919).

5At the outbreak of war in 1914, some 46,000 women were serving as VADs and by the end of the war, over 90,000 had registered.

She Owned A Cottage

Seventy years ago in 1951, my grandmother Millicent (1895-1982) Granny-Lin finally got the cottage she had always wanted. My grandfather Sydenham (1887-1975)The Priest had it built for her on the waterfront of Shediac Bay in New Brunswick.

Truly a dream come true, she aptly named it “Iona Cottage” for “I own a cottage”!

Iona Cottage 1955

The person who designed their simple cottage somehow knew exactly what they wanted. A small eating nook off the kitchen led into the living room with a fireplace and the three small bedrooms branched off from there. A simple door leading to the patio enticed family and guests outside to enjoy the view of the Bay.

Just around the corner from Iona Cottage stands St. Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church built almost 200 years ago by Millicent’s great grandfather, and the founder of Shediac, William Hanington. There is a huge monument beside the church where he and some of his family are buried. On Sunday mornings during their summers, Millicent and Sydenham would stroll down the lane to church. Sydenham was an Anglican priest and would sometimes hold the summer church services thereby giving the local priest a break.

St Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church est.1822

Millicent grew up in Montreal as the youngest of six girls. Her pharmacist father moved the family from Shediac to Montreal in 1890 to study medicine at McGill…at the age of 45! During the summer breaks, the family returned “home” to Shediac. After completing his degree in 1894, Dr. Hanington Pharmacist then Doctor and family remained in Montreal where he set up a practice… but they always spent their summer holidays in Shediac.

Millicent and Sydenham hosted many summer family gatherings at their Shediac cottage over the years. There are numerous photos taken on the patio in front of the impressive red brick chimney. An endless assortment of Millicent’s sisters (and sometimes their husbands) would line up along the side of the house enjoying the sun and cool breeze off the water. A few photos have captured some of the bravest taking an icy cold dip in the bay.

Millicent’s sisters and brother-in-law circa 1965

In July 2015, my sister and I took a “sister pilgrimage” trip to the New Brunswick area, and finding Iona Cottage was the top priority. We recognized it immediately even although the light yellow cottage from our memories had been painted a lovely country blue. The surrounding grounds looked immaculate and a quick peek in the window assured us that it was well loved inside and out. What a terrible disappointment when no one answered our knock at the door. We snapped a few photos of house and garden (and us!) for our travel album and to share with the rest of the family.

Iona Cottage – July 2015

Upon my return home, I wrote a short story about our “sister pilgrimage” and published it on the Genealogy Ensemble website Sister Pilgrimage. A year ago, the current owners of Iona Cottage read my story and contacted me by email. They are the fourth owners (since 2018) and are thrilled to share my scanned copies of the old photos of their cottage.

How surprising to learn that they already had a copy of my favourite photo… a gift from their neighbour. It captured four-year old me in front of Iona Cottage during the summer of 1961 when I visited with my mother shortly before she died of cancer that November.

Here I am at Iona Cottage – Summer 1961

My only other stay at Iona Cottage was some twenty years later when my cousin and I flew into Moncton to spend a long weekend with our grandmother. In an era before highways, two lane roads between Quebec and New Brunswick made the drive impossibly long, which might explain the lack of visits over the years

Notes for Blueprints for Iona Cottage – Feb 1951 – by Tom Anglin

Recently my cousin unearthed a real treasure in his inherited boxes of memorabilia – an envelope marked: “Blueprints – Iona Cottage”. I took a quick look before sending them off to the current owners and to my utter amazement I saw that MY FATHER had drawn up the plans for his in-law’s cottage! I had no idea. What a joy for me to see his handwritten notes in the lower right-hand corner…and no wonder the cottage was so perfect for Millicent and Sydenham.

Happy 70th Anniversary Iona Cottage!

L to R – Neighbour, Sydenham and Millicent (Iona cottage at the right)

The Courtship of Ann and Tommy – Part 1

The Courtship of Ann and Tommy – Part 2

The Courtship of Ann and Tommy – Part 3

Miss Lindsay’s Last Letter

Marguerite Lindsay wrote a letter from Cartwright, Labrador, to her brother in Montreal, Quebec. The letter was postmarked July 29, 1922. Six days later she was dead.

Marguerite, 26, volunteered as a summer teacher in 1922 with the Grenfell Mission1 at Rev. Henry Gordon’s orphanage school in Muddy Bay six miles from Cartwright. She ran the recreation program for Rev. Gordon and taught the older girls sports such as swimming and introduced the game of french cricket which the boys played as well.

In her long newsy letter to her brother, she mentioned the gunfire from the previous night which announced the arrival of the “Bayeskimo2” in Cartwright. It had taken the ship just a week to come from a very hot Montreal. She wrote: “It is really cold here and foggy quite often, but very bracing, and I like it much better than heat; also when it is cold, there are no flies, and that means a great deal.” Then she described the local bug problem with a delightful sense of humour:

“We bathe in citronella. About 50 of them were getting free transportation on different portions of my anatomy … and there is a species of black fly, and their teamwork with the mosquito is extraordinary. They don’t bother to pierce your epidermis for themselves but follow exactly in the footsteps of the mosquitoes, and they hurt. I could hardly turn my head for a day, the back of my neck was so bitten.”

Perhaps that explains the white hat with a neck flap she wore in the photo of the children and staff sitting on the steps of the school. In another effort to protect herself at night, she cleverly tacked up strips of cotton gauze in the screen-less windows.

1922 – Rev. Henry Gordon’s Orphage School in Cartwright, Labrador (top row L to R: Rev. & Mrs. Gordon, three others, Annette and Marguerite)

Annette Stiles, the other summer volunteer and nutritionist for the school, became close friends with Marguerite. In her letter, Marguerite wrote: “We were bewailing our inadequacies about things we had to tackle; but Annette very truly remarked, that anything we could do was an improvement.” Between them, they cared for about 28 orphaned children3 and gratefully “the children’s enthusiasm was very contagious – a great contrast to the boredom of some in more civilized places.”4

These unfortunate children had multiple health issues as well – many of them suffering from tuberculosis and/or scurvy and berri-berri5 – mostly due to their poor diet. It appeared that the boys were much brighter than the girls and the adult ratio in the community was four men to every woman.

She continued her letter with a brief description of her daily routine: “We are teaching the children to swim; the water is not as cold as you might think…and you would be amused to see me giving the children drill, and getting them to breathe through their noses.”

The friendly duo happily shared their combined duties. “We really have been working awfully hard, but Annette is amusing to work with. We are cooking for some 30 odd people… and some of the experiments would turn your hair grey!”

Overall she adapted to the local food: “The salmon is in now, and we get over 100 a day in the net just off the point. It is very good; am also getting used to condensed milk.” She lamented the lack of ice, but mentioned that any attempts to capture young icebergs were foiled, as it proved too difficult to tow them home behind a boat without them breaking free.

As a reward for all their hard work, Rev. Gordon gave the two volunteers the day off, to accompany a fisherman and some boys on an expedition for firewood across Sandwich Bay. It took three hours to cover the 18 treacherous miles across the stormy waters. The “fisherfolk” at the point of White Bear River welcomed them warmly upon arrival and kindly provided food and a place to stay.

White Bear River (west coast) 18 miles across Sandwich Bay to Muddy Bay (east coast)

“We had expected to sleep on the floor, so had brought rugs; but Annette and I were given a bunk in a room about the size of a dugout, which was really comfortable after we had skilfully removed a pane of glass with a knife, the window being purely for ornament. They provided us a feather bed in the bunk, warm and dry rugs, and fed us with smoked salmon and cariboo meat. It was loads of fun.”

The next morning, they walked up White Bear River for a few hours…”as pretty a place as you could find” before safely returning to Muddy Bay later the same night with ”a perfect run right into the sunset”.

A few days before Marguerite mailed her letter, she met Dr. Grenfell himself (the head of the Mission) when the year’s supplies arrived by steamer. He made such an impression on her that she wrote – “he certainly has a great personality and has accomplished more than would seem possible.” Although Rev. Gordon and the men were away Marguerite told Dr. Grenfell: “Oh we can work just as well as men. You must treat us as such.” and the two girls insisted on rolling barrels and carrying boxes with the rest of the crew.

Soon after Marguerite’s death, Dr. Grenfell wrote a letter of condolence to her mother and spoke of “…the pleasure of meeting and knowing the joyous spirit of your daughter and the full measure of energy she was so gladly giving to help others.”

On August 4, 1922, six days after mailing her last letter home, Marguerite died accidentally while on a walk in the nearby woods.

For the whole story on Marguerite please read:

Miss Lindsay – Part 1

Miss Lindsay – Part 2

Miss Lindsay – Part 3

how i came to write miss lindsay’s tale

1https://www.findinggrenfell.ca/home/files/pg/panel-people-v4-large.jpg as referenced 2021-08-07.

2 Ship Bayeskimo – https://wiki2.org/en/Hudson%27s_Bay_Company_vessels as of 2021-07-15

3Most of the children were orphans due to the Spanish Flu Epidemic in the area

4Among The Deep Sea Fishers, The Cartwright Expert Cook by Annette Stiles, p. 127.

5Beriberi is a disease of the nervous system caused by a person not getting enough thiamine B(vitamin B1) in the diet

Why the third William Lindsay gave up a promising career as a lawyer

(The Three William Lindsays – Part 3)

Circumstances beyond his control* compelled the third William Lindsay to abandon a brilliant career as a lawyer. In 1841, at the age of 17, he entered the public service as an Extra Clerk in the Legislative Assembly of Canada while also studying law.

I wonder what those circumstances may have been?

The third William Lindsay (1824-1872), my three times great-uncle, exhibited great potential in his law studies as well as becoming an accomplished scholar. He spoke French as fluently as English – a must as the Clerk – but could also speak Latin and Greek as well.

William studied law with such an impressive ability that even before his admission to the Bar many of his teachers predicted a very successful career ahead of him.

But why did he never practise law in the end ?

Perhaps the established family tradition influenced his decision. Like his father and grandfather before him, he became the third William Lindsay to progress to the senior positon of Clerk for the Legislative Assembly. It’s certainly the most plausible explanation. But who knows, maybe there were lucrative perks that came with the “clerkship” that enticed him.* It seems we will never know for sure.

All that to say he certainly had big shoes to fill! There must have been high expectations placed on him not only as the son of the most recent Clerk of the Legislative Assembly but also as the grandson of William Robert Lindsay who held the same office for twenty years in the early 1800’s during the time Lower Canada possessed a separate government and legislature. A multitude of historical changes in the structure of today’s Canada have all been recorded by the “Lindsay” hand.

William was born in Quebec City. He had six brothers and five sisters. One of his brothers, Robert A. Lindsay (1826-1891), was my two times great grandfather who followed their father’s other profession and enjoyed a life long banking career with the Bank of Montreal.

In November 1845, at the age of 21 and just after completing his law studies and passing his Bar exams, William married Marie Henriette Bourret in Quebec City. Eventually, they had 13 children, although four of them died in infancy.

William’s career as a clerk progressed quickly. He was promoted from Extra Clerk to Assistant Law Clerk and Translator to the Legislative Assembly of the then Province of Canada. The progression continued until he ultimately became the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.

In 1867, The House of Commons came into existence, when the British Parliament passed the British North America Act, uniting the Province of Canada (which was divided into Quebec and Ontario), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into a single federation called the Dominion of Canada.

William was appointed the first Clerk to this newly established House of Commons1.

William Burns Lindsay 1824-1872

The multiple steps taken toward Canadian independence in the past, during the clerkship of William’s father and grandfather, had finally come to fruition.

William’s main duty as the Clerk of the House began with the reading of petitions and bills, and later progressed to recording the House’s proceedings. Those notes on the proceedings were kept in journals which tracked the decisions and other important transactions of the House.

In September 1872 at age 48, just five years after becoming Clerk to the House of Commons, William’s career ended abruptly. He died in Ottawa during the smallpox pandemic2. He left a family of several children and a widow who then died two months later. His mother-in-law also succumbed to the disease at the same time. The youngest of their orphaned children was only five years old at the time.

Nine years later, according to the 1881 Census, William’s eldest daughter Maria Louisa (then aged 30) was still looking after her three teenage siblings and living in Quebec City. Her older brothers Crawford (and his family) and Lionel (a priest) also lived nearby and perhaps offered support of some kind.

William was the third and last of the Three William Lindsays. His eldest son “Crawford William” went by the name Crawford and did not become a clerk, however, he did inherit his father’s talent with languages and became a translator.

Limestone Sculpture of William Burns Lindsay by Christopher Fairbrother 1979

Notes:

1.As the family genealogist, I research my ancestors and write their stories. Recently, I found three generations of ancestors with the same name and the same role in an evolving Canada.

Their birth and death dates were vital as the first step to sorting them out. I noticed, however, that previous genealogists also struggled to sort them, as two of the three were sometimes labelled “Senior” and “Junior” (and sometimes in reverse order) and then “The Elder” and “The Younger” were assigned to another two. To keep things simple in my story, I will label them first, second and third – in the order of their births.

2.* Handwritten notes – Stanley Bagg Lindsay – dated March 1939

3. My cousin Ian Lindsay recently shared the following in an email 2021-05:

Somewhere I saw the report of the parliamentary committee that looked into the work of the Clerk’s office. By that time, while it was never going to be a sinecure, it was an opportunity to make friends, at the very least with stationers. (An old friend explained the best job was Minister of Supply and Services, where one could feather all your friends’ nests, and bide your time.) In any case, the Committee asked about the qualifications for the job were, and WBLII explained that the clerk had to be fluently bilingual and versed in all the relevant technical terms of both languages. Here, I point out that his son was fluently bilingual and versed in technical terms. The Committee next asked the same question of the Assistant Clerk, who explained that, when needed, he just asked one of the French guys for help. I think a grave injustice was done.

1https://wiki2.org/en/House_of_Commons_of_Canada?wprov=srpw1_0 – referenced 2021-05-23

2https://www.jstor.org/stable/41977998?seq=1

Why the Second William Lindsay Maintained Two Careers

(The Three William Lindsays – Part 2)

About a year ago, my cousin and I were invited to luncheon with a distant family member who wanted to share her inherited Lindsay papers. The delicious luncheon filled our bellies and the precious family papers filled our souls. Among the papers were copious legible (!) handwritten notes by my great uncle, Stanley Bagg Lindsay, with some details of the lives of all three William Lindsays.

A Sample of Stanley Bagg Lindsay’s Notes (my great-uncle)

Why the second William (Burns) Lindsay (1796-1862) mantained two careers

In many families the eldest son often follows in his father’s footsteps when choosing a career. However, the second William Lindsay’s older brother died in 1817 when William was only 21.

Before then, in 1808, 12-year old William actually began work as an apprentice writer* in his father’s office, who was the recently appointed Clerk of the House of Assembly for Lower Canada. However, instead of eventually following in his father’s footsteps full time, William first pursued a career in banking.

William worked as one of three employees when the Bank of Montreal first opened in Quebec City in 18171. He began as the bank teller and eventually worked his way up to became an officer of the bank. During his time at the bank, William requested and obtained leaves of absence to attend to his duties at this father’s office during the Assembly sessions.*

At the age of 23, William married Maria Jones in Quebec City in 1819 and eventually they had 11 children. Their first son was his namesake, William Burns Lindsay, who would also continue the family tradition as the Legislative Clerk (see next story).

William Burns Lindsay and his wife Maria Jones

About ten years after they married, William’s father resigned from the Assembly in 1829 due to his failing health. (see The Three William Lindsays part 1) Not surprisingly, thirty-three year old William was unanimously appointed Clerk of the House of Lower Canada thus providing a fairly smooth transition and continuity of management. After 12 years establishing his own career in banking, he ultimately did step into his father’s political shoes.

At the time of his resignation from the Bank, “he had earned and obtained the good will and esteem both of his employers and of their customers, the merchants of Quebec.”* His unique combination of careers would have provided him with useful contacts with not only the elite “but young Canada’s most enterprising merchants and aspiring financiers”2 at that time. It must have placed him in a very powerful position indeed.

His work continued as Clerk of the Assembly right up until the 1837 rebellions (also known as the Patriots’ War)3, pitting the rebels against the colonial government of Lower Canada in an armed conflict, that had been brewing for nearly three decades. For the next few years, William commanded a volunteer artillery company*, until the restoration of order.

At this point, William was appointed Clerk to the Special Council4 set up to administer the affairs of Lower Canada until the Act of Union of 1840 when Lower Canada and Upper Canada were united into the one Province of Canada, as a result of these rebellions.

Lord Sydenham5, the first Governor General for the United Province of Canada, convened the first Parliament of Canada in 1841 in Kingston, Ontario6, and appointed William to be the clerk of the Legislative Assembly. Perhaps the Grand Trunk Railway enabled a commute between Assembly sessions while Kingston was the capital, as the 1842 census listed Quebec City still as his home.7 William held this office for the next 21 years until, according to his obituary, he died “almost in harness: for, though very unwell, he attended his place in the House … and within a few days of his death he signed official papers.”*

William died in Quebec City in 1862 at the age of 65 years.

The funeral took place from his residence in Quebec City while the flag on the Parliament Buildings flew at half mast during the funeral. An eloquent tribute to his worth was paid by the premier Hon. Mr. Cartier8 and the House of Assembly adjourned to testify respect to his memory. The members attended the funeral together putting any differences aside for that day. “As an efficient public officer, Mr. Lindsay was a very remarkable man…he was emphatically the right man in the right place … he never suffered himself to become a political partisan or to show more favour or grant more facilities to one side than the other.”*

Upon his death in 1862, William’s namesake (the third William Lindsay), succeeded to the clerkship of the Legislative Assembly thereby taking his father’s place and continuing the family history.

My great great grandfather, Robert A. Lindsay, was the brother of the third William Lindsay

Next: Why the third William Lindsay gave up a promising career as a lawyer

Notes:

As the family genealogist, I research my ancestors and write their stories. Recently, I found three generations of ancestors with the same name and the same role in an evolving Canada.

Their birth and death dates were vital as the first step to sorting them out. I noticed, however, that previous genealogists also struggled to sort them, as two of the three were sometimes labelled “Senior” and “Junior” (and sometimes in reverse order) and then “The Elder” and “The Younger” were assigned to another two. To keep things simple in my story, I will label them first, second and third – in the order of their births.

* Handwritten notes – Stanley Bagg Lindsay – dated March 1939

1https://wiki2.org/en/Bank_of_Montreal – referenced 2021-04-26

2https://history.bmo.com/pragmatic-visions/ – referenced 2021-05-04

3https://wiki2.org/en/Lower_Canada_Rebellion?wprov=srpw1_0 – referenced

4https://wiki2.org/en/Special_Council_of_Lower_Canada – referenced 2021-04-26

5https://wiki2.org/en/Lord_Sydenham – referenced 2021-04-26

6Kingston was named the first capital of the United Province of Canada on February 10, 1841. While its time as a capital was short (ending in 1844), the community has remained an important military installation.

7The capital moved from Kingston to Montreal in 1844 and then alternated between Quebec City and Toronto from 1849 until Queen Victoria declared Ottawa the permanent capital in 1866.

8https://wiki2.org/en/George-%C3%89tienne_Cartier – referenced 2021-04-26

The Three William Lindsays

As the family genealogist, I research my ancestors and write their stories. Recently, I found three generations of ancestors with the same name and the same role in an evolving Canada.

Their birth and death dates were vital as the first step to sorting them out. I noticed, however, that previous genealogists also struggled to sort them, as two of the three were sometimes labelled “Senior” and “Junior” (and sometimes in reverse order) and then “The Elder” and “The Younger” were assigned to another two. To keep things simple in my story, I will label them first, second and third – in the order of their births.

How the First William (Robert) Lindsay Founded a Public Service Dynasty

Like many first generation Canadians, my 4x great grandfather established an impressive personal and professional life in his adopted homeland. I can’t help but wonder, however, if he paid too heavy a price for his success.

In November 1828, a doctor confined him to his room writing that he needed more “rest, mentally and physically, than he has had up till now.”1

How could such a thing happen?

The First William Lindsay (1761-1834) came to Quebec, Canada from England in 1773 as a 12-year old boy to live with his uncle. Ten years later, at the age of 22, he opened a dry goods business with a partner near the St. Lawrence River harbour in Quebec City.2 At the age of 29 years in 1790, he married Marianne Melvin and they had nine children in 14 years.

While still operating his retail business, William also served as Justice of the Peace for the district of Quebec. Then he entered the public service in 1792 as clerk assistant of the new Lower Canadian House of Assembly, after the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the British colony called the Province of Quebec,3 into Upper and Lower Canada.

William Lindsay’s Signature

In 1805, he assumed the role of registrar for the newly founded Quebec Trinity House which oversaw the safety management of the burgeoning port facilities and navigation in the harbour of Quebec.4 Also during this time, he held a position of Grand Officer with the Free Masons in Quebec, eventually becoming their Grand Secretary by 1807.5

And then life got really busy.

This first William was known above all for his role in the assembly. At the age of 48, and having gained sixteen years experience as clerk assistant since 1792, he was commissioned as clerk in 1808 and was the second person to hold that office in Lower Canada.

Initially, he received the oaths of allegiance of the members of the Legislative Council and the House of Assembly, revised and printed the rules and regulations as instructed and produced numerous reports.

Before long, his duties included purchasing needed items, hiring workmen and overseeing their work, collecting debts, and paying accounts. By 1812 the clerk’s job had become more administrative than secretarial. This new job description, however, did not include an increase in his salary.

By the time William finally received his requested wage hike three years later, he also had the added responsibility of overseeing a staff of extra workers needed to complete the required duties.

Ten years later, in 1824, when William’s obligations were already overwhelming, the salaries of all officials and writers were cut by 25 per cent and he had to enforce the work schedules as well as prevent his employees from attending to personal matters during working hours. A few years after that, William also became responsible for “filling the empty positions in the house.” However, the assembly members reserved the right to approve or reject appointments!6

Although William always managed to satisfy the members of the House of Assembly, there was a heavy price to pay. The stress from his job wreaked havoc on 67-year old William’s health. In 1828, his doctor ordered immediate bed rest, and delivered a medical certificate to the speaker.

Nowadays, we call it “burnout.”

The prestige of the job must have outweighed the ill effects on his health because, around this time, the first William recommended his son, William (Burns) Lindsay, to the assembly for the deputy clerk position. In September 1829, the second William Lindsay officially succeeded his father who then died five years later at the age of 73.

The first William Lindsay not only faithfully served the assembly for half his life but left a dynasty of loyal hard working clerks for, first his son and then his grandson, succeeded him in that very same public office.

Next: Why the second William Lindsay changed careers (to be published May 5, 2021)

1Yvon Thériault, “LINDSAY, WILLIAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 23, 2021

 http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lindsay_william_6E.html.

2Yvon Thériault, “LINDSAY, WILLIAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 23, 2021

 http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lindsay_william_6E.html.

3https://wiki2.org/en/Province_of_Quebec_- accessed 2021-03-04

The Province of Quebecwas a colony in North America created by Great Britain in 1763 after the Seven Years’ War. During the war, Great Britain’s forces conquered French Canada. As part of terms of the Treaty of Paris peace settlement, France gave up its claim to Canada and negotiated to keep the small but rich sugar island of Guadeloupe instead. By Britain’s Royal Proclamation of 1763, Canada (part of New France) was renamed the Province of Quebec. The new British province extended from the coast of Labrador on the Atlantic Ocean, southwest through the Saint Lawrence River Valley to the and beyond to the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Portions of its southwest (south of the Great Lakes) were later ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1783) at the conclusion of the American Revolution although the British maintained a military presence there until 1796. In 1791, the territory north of the Great Lakes was divided into Lower Canada and Upper Canada.

4Ancestry, Canada – Quebec Past and Present: A History of Quebec, 1608-1876, in two parts, by J.M. Le Moine, (Augustin Cote & Co., 1876), 241.

5Ancestry, Canada – Outlines of the history of freemasonry in the Province of Quebec, Chapter V, “Ancient Freemansonry in Lower Canada”, by John H. Graham, (John Lovell and Son, 1892), 75.

6 Yvon Thériault, “LINDSAY, WILLIAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed February 23, 2021  http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lindsay_william_6E.html.

The Not-At-All Wicked Stepmother – Part 3

In the five years since her arrival from England in 1961, Elizabeth Fulcher married my widowed father, mothered his four children and had a baby of her own.

Although her roles as wife and mother of seven kept my stepmother plenty busy, Elizabeth continued her interest in teaching. In 1969, with two babies of her own, she organized a nursery school counselling the parents while they observed their children at play. However, it proved to be stressful and more difficult than she imagined.

Instead, Elizabeth taught herself the necessary bookkeeping skills to look after my father’s accounting needs in his engineering company thereby reducing his operating expenses. In compensation, Elizabeth allocated the rental income from Tom’s office tenants to her household budget which had remained unchanged since the day they married.

My father Tom grew up during the Depression which most likely left an impression on him. He worked long hours running his company in order to support his growing family and always managed his money carefully. Never would he consider debt to make ends meet.

Fortunately, Elizabeth knew how to ration pretty much everything from growing up in wartime England. Many of the same clothes were worn by child after child. Various craft projects littered the kitchen counter between meals. We all enjoyed the trunk full of old fancy clothes which provided endless hours of dress-up skits over the years.

Her only request? Once a month they wined and dined out… just the two of them.

At one point, Elizabeth received an inheritance from her family in England. She quietly used the money to pay for necessary repairs around the house. Alternately, Tom invested his family inheritance to provide a family nest egg for emergencies. The arrangement seemed to work well for them.

In 1976, Tom sold the Knowlton cottage after 20 years of memorable family summers, and bought land in Franklin, Vermont, with the proceeds. He designed and built a large shell of a two-story house with a deck spanning the entire width of the upper floor overlooking a fabulous view of the nearby fields and the mountains in the distance.

The Anglin House in Franklin, Vermont

Over time, Elizabeth saw to the finishing touches like walls, cupboards and a septic tank making it into more of a home. Together they blazed trails in the woods, planted gardens and, for a time, beekeeping produced the family honey. What a sight to see Elizabeth handling the large red tractor like a pro… sometimes towing a trailer full of kids!

Elizabeth driving the Tractor with a Trailer of Kids

The children eventually brought their children to enjoy autumn walks, bonfires, winter sledding, berry picking, crafts, games and the breathtaking view. A wall of photos captures some of these memories – even a family wedding.

Elizabeth graduated from McGill University in 1988, at age fifty, with a Degree in Special Education. She continued teaching children with learning disabilities part-time for a while and felt secure that she could support herself if need be.

After Tom died in 1995, Elizabeth joined The Unitarian Church near her in Montreal. She volunteered actively for ten years in variety of ways. In 2015, the church awarded her “The Unsung Hero Award” to acknowledge and celebrate her efforts. Even today she volunteers her time with their “Caring Committee” and organizes visits with anyone in need of some company.

Elizabeth receiving The Unsung Hero Award in 2015.

This year, due to the Coronavirus lockdown, the family was unable to gather at the house in Vermont for our usual Thanksgiving turkey dinner feast. Instead, Elizabeth enjoyed time with a whole bunch of us on a “Zoom” meeting and afterwards sent this heartwarming note to all her stepchildren, children and grandchildren:

“I feel as if I have been with all of you (on the Zoom video) and am really lucky to have such a wonderful family. You may not realize it but you all are the most significant aspect of my life. I did not want a career, I wanted a family and I am so pleased with the way you live and your authenticity. With love from Elizabeth, Mum or Nanna”.

Elizabeth and her twin Diana celebrating their 80th birthday with some of the family – July 2018

The not-at-all wicked stepmother – Part 1 (The Unsung Hero)

The Not-at-all Wicked Stepmother – Part 2

The Not-at-all Wicked Stepmother – Part 2

When my mother died in November 1961, my father hired various nannies to run the household and look after his four children. The revolving nanny door made it difficult and stressful for everyone and finding a new wife and mother quickly became Dad’s priority.

A friend suggested he compile a checklist of his seven most important criteria, which were all essential and the absence of any one eliminates the prospect. Several names were scrawled on his list but there was nobody named Elizabeth. Our future stepmother must have been completely off the grid!

Elizabeth Fulcher arrived in Montreal from England in 1961 to teach at a girls’ private school. Once she had settled into her new life in Montreal, she joined a social club in the spring of 1962, and she met my Dad, Tom Anglin, there. After a few games of tennis, they began to date regularly. Thinking back to that time, she recalls: I thought he was a nice, honest person”.

This wasn’t going to be your typical whirlwind romance.

Elizabeth took the opportunity to get to know the four of us children, as well as Dad, while they were dating. It seemed to be a mutually advantageous relationship for us all as Elizabeth had always wanted a family and now a family wanted her. However, the decision required rational thought as well as emotional feeling. Years later, she admitted her love for us equalled her love for our father.

Tom proposed nine months later, in February 1963, choosing the woman who would love his children just like Captain Von Trapp chose Maria in “The Sound of Music” — our favourite family movie. Elizabeth recalled, “He proposed after we went to a dinner dance at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. I had an idea that he was going to, it was in February and could have been a Valentine’s Day Dance. He could charm and was a good dancer so I always felt good about dancing with him.”

Their Engagement – Elizabeth and Tom going to the Ball 1962

My father arrived in England, only two days before the wedding in July 1963, after organizing summer camps for the children and a leave of absence from his company. Fortunately, he had already passed muster when Elizabeth’s twin, Diana, spent the previous Christmas with us all.

They married in the local church in Iken, steps away from where Elizabeth grew up. Her stepmother, Eileen, decorated the church with masses of flowers, Diana was her bridesmaid and the children of the local farm hands made up the choir. Family and friends watched eagerly as Elizabeth walked down the aisle to the organist’s rendition of…what else but “Oh Canada”!

The newlyweds briefly honeymooned around Western Europe skipping the last stop as Elizabeth just wanted to go “home” and start her new life as wife and stepmother. “We had four days in England to pack up and leave,” she says. “Then we picked up the kids from camp the next day. We all drove out to the summer cottage in Knowlton (Eastern Townships, Quebec) and Tom went back into Montreal to work during the weeks”.

I had just turned six years old when I stepped off the camp bus. I remember looking down at the clogs on my stepmother’s feet and thinking “those are funny shoes” and at the same time realizing “this is my new mother”.

The whole family moved back to Montreal at the end of the summer. The children (aged six to 14) started back to their schools and Tom returned to work. Elizabeth launched into her new life with an impressive and loving energy. Fully committed to her new role, she oversaw the needs of the children, carefully managed a monthly budget, and prepared dinner for six every night… never failing to greet Tom at the door with a kiss and asking about his day.

There wasn’t a hint of wickedness in our new stepmother.

1963- My stepmother, Elizabeth, with her new (instant) family

Five more summers in Knowlton flew by with just the four of us children before the family grew to include my three half-sisters born between 1966 and 1971.

Ultimately, her physical education training continued to prove useful as she juggled a houseful of babies and teenagers!

The not-at-all wicked stepmother – Part 1 (The Unsung Hero)

The not-at-all wicked stepmother – Part 1 (The Unsung Hero)

Elizabeth Fulcher emigrated to Montreal, Quebec, from England in 1961 at age 23, to fulfill a teaching contract at a private girls’ school. Little did she know that within two years time she would marry my father, a widower 20 years her senior, and become step-mother to his four children aged six to 14.

Does the movie “The Sound of Music” come to mind? Perhaps…but we couldn’t sing and, thankfully, our father didn’t blow a whistle to discipline us!

July 1938 was a busy time at Friston Hall1, the village between Saxmundham and Aldeburgh, north of the river Alde in Suffolk on the East Coast of England. Elizabeth and her twin sister, Diana, were born and their sister Margaret (Maggie) was only 11 months old. They were often mistaken for triplets much to Maggie’s dismay.

Map of Suffolk area near Aldeburgh with Friston (north of the River Alde ) and Iken (south of the River Alde)

Some six years later, during Hitler’s last offensive air attack during WWII, the empty family home was doodlebugged1 in August 1944. Luckily, all three girls were at their cousin’s birthday party.

Their father, Henry Fulcher (1906-1985), moved the family to one of the farm cottages while their mother, Tweedie Mann (1908-1952), retrieved whatever could be salvaged from the bombed main house. During their nine month stay in the farm cottage, they endured outside plumbing and indulged in weekly baths in a tub by the fireplace.

When Elizabeth and her family eventually moved back to the main house, they all slept together in the dining room, as the upstairs remained in shambles and the chickens occupied the lounge.

As the war raged on, families all over Britain managed their food frugally with coupons. The farm labourers “enjoyed” extra rations twice a year but they only lasted a week.

There was always enough food because we lived on the farm. At one point for breakfast, we each had a third of an egg on toast with a third of a rasher of bacon which was rationed. We would have cereal before this, so we weren’t hungry”.

Elizabeth’s father ran a small dairy farm in Friston as well as his father’s dairy and prize winning barley farm in Aldeburgh. He sold his father’s farm in 1948 to buy another in Iken five miles away across the river Alde. “Poplar Farm” consisted of 13 separate properties – three farmhouses and ten cottages – and 800 acres of land. The local milk truck collected the milk produced by the 60 Friesians1 (dairy cows) daily which supplemented the farm’s income from wheat, barley and sugar beet.

Around this time, the three young girls were sent away to St. Felix Boarding School2, some 30 miles away from the farm. Elizabeth, only ten at the time, remembers: “I didn’t like it there, as I was afraid of the teachers. I would cry every time someone spoke to me. I couldn’t remember the poems we needed to recite, and I couldn’t spell well either”.

Elizabeth, Margaret (Maggie) and twin Diana – 1949 – Poplar Farm, Iken, Suffolk, UK

Two years later, in 1950 when the twins were 12 years old, the birth of their brother Roger surprised the family. And just two years after his birth, while the girls were still away at boarding school, their mother died suddenly from polio.

Auntie Marion4 looked after Roger and Henry when Tweedie first died in July and stayed with us for the summer. We went back to school in September. We were worried about Roger, he was only three years old. Auntie Ophie came to look after Roger, but she had a bad temper, and our Father wasn’t very involved. No one said Roger had down syndrome, they just said he was slow.”

The whole class came to Poplar Farm for a picnic and a swim at Iken Cliff to celebrate the twins’ graduation from boarding school. One of their school friends, Judith, came as well and it was her mother Eileen who eventually married the twins’ father Henry in 1957.

Eileen stepped into multiple roles as Henry’s wife, farm accounts manager, step-mother (especially to Roger) and encouraged a more social lifestyle. As an example, she hosted a catered party for 120 guests for Elizabeth and Diana’s 21st Birthday.

Elizabeth, being more athletic than academic, excelled at sports. “The only people we knew growing up were farmers or teachers and we didn’t want to stay on the farm so we became teachers”. She pursued a degree in Physical Education at a teacher’s college in Aberdeen, Scotland while her twin attended teacher’s college in London.

After teaching for a couple of years in Aberdeen, Elizabeth wanted something more and accepted a job with the Trafalgar School for Girls in Montreal, emigrating to Canada in 1961.

And “more” was what she found!

1https://wiki2.org/en/V-1_flying_bomb as accessed 2020-07-17

2https://wiki2.org/en/Holstein_Friesian_cattle as accessed 2020-08-24

3https://wiki2.org/en/St._Felix_School as accessed 2020-07-17

4Auntie Ophie and Auntie Marion were Tweedie’s sisters

petticoat pioneer

Charlotte Haines (1773-1851) was only ten years old when the breakaway 13 colonies won the War of Independence in April 1783. Those residing in the new United States of America, who had remained loyal to the British Crown, were persecuted and forced out of their homes and their belongings seized. Chaos reigned everywhere and families were torn apart.

One fateful day around this time, young Charlotte sneaked away to visit her British Loyalist cousins, against the expressed wishes of her American Patriot stepfatheri. Upon her return, standing outside the front door, he refused her entry back into the family home.

Charlotte was my three-times great-grandmother. Her daughter Margaret Ann Peters married Daniel Hanington and their son James Peters Hanington was my grandmother’s father.

The British government came to the aid of these Loyalists and arranged for transportation for those who wished to leave the new America. Charlotte’s grandparents, Gilbert and Anna Pugsley, rescued young Charlotte and her brother David. Together they sailed from New York for ten days on the “Jason”ii, with 124 other “refugees” as part of the final large scale evacuation and landed in New Brunswick (then still part of Nova Scotia) in October 1783…just in time for the brutally cold winter.

Charlotte has been the favourite subject of a couple of books and several folktales. She warranted her own chapter in “Pioneer Profiles of New Brunswick Settlers”iii and is the main character in a children’s book titled “Charlotte”iv. One folktale claimed that she was the first Loyalist to set foot ashore (not true) and in doing so, she lost her “slipper” in the mud (possibly). The matching slipper (unlikely) was donated to the New Brunswick Museum years later, however, it looks somewhat too big and stylish for a ten-year old girl. But they make wonderful stories and fully recognize young Charlotte as one of the first “petticoat pioneers” of New Brunswick.

Children’s story about Charlotte Haines by Janet Lunn

Fourteen thousand Loyalists established a new settlement in 1783 along the St. John River and shortly afterwards they petitioned for their own colony. In 1784, Great Britain granted their request and divided Nova Scotia into two — New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Loyalists, who made up 90 percent of the population of New Brunswick, became a separate colony with its capital, Fredericton, 90 miles upriver from Saint John.

The Loyalists and their children were entitled to free land once they provided the necessary proof. Charlotte, as the biological daughter of John Haines, a Loyalist on record, appears in 1786 documentation as one of the grantees of 84 lots on Long Island, Queen’s County, along with several other prominent Loyalists – although she was only 13 at the time. I can imagine her grandfather Pugsley nodding discreetly in her direction as he looked after her interests.

For their first three years, the British provided the Loyalists with a few simple tools, blankets, material for clothing and seeds for wheat, peas, corn and potatoes. The rations of basic food supplied by the British supplemented the abundance of game and fish available to them in the forest and streams. Most lived in tents on dirt floors until they were able to build primitive log cabins. Tree by tree, stump by stump, the fertile uplands were cleared to widen the fields making them ready for crops.

The Loyalists kept meaningful social contacts through various community events. Neighbours organized “frolics” whereby the men would work together to clear land, move rocks, build a barn or complete some other task which proved impossible for one or two people. At the same time, the women prepared meals and the children had a chance to play with friends. Women also held their own frolics to make quilts, card wool or shell corn. These Loyalist neighbours were dependent on one another in times of sickness, accidents and childbirth and supported one another at gatherings for weddings, funerals and church services.

Perhaps Charlotte met her future husband at one of these popular frolics. At 17, Charlotte married William Peters (also from a United Empire Loyalist family) in 1791 in Gagetown. Soon afterwards, the happy couple moved downriver, settled in Hampstead and built a home where the St. John River widens to a magnificent view.

At that time, there existed only ten miles of roadway in the whole province and another 20 years would pass before there would be an 82-mile long road linking Fredericton and Saint John. However, in the meantime, the river served as a “highway” enabling the transport of passengers and necessary goods between the two cities.

When the steamboats first chugged noisily up the river in 1816, William decided to compete with them and he built a 100-foot long side wheeler powered by 12 horses walking up and down the deck and propelling the boat along.

A drawing of The Experiment – an example of another horse powered side wheeler.

William actively pursued his interest in politics, and as the first representative of Queen’s County in the New Brunswick Legislature, he spent a lot of time in Fredericton (50 miles away) attending the sessions of Parliament.

Meanwhile, back home, Charlotte managed their entire land-holding on her own. Eventually they had 15 children, five sons and ten daughters. She bore her last child at 50 years old according to the baptismal certificate. They all survived except their son John who drowned at 21 attempting to save another man’s life.

Not only did she clothe, feed and care for them all (including the servants) but also provided much of their early education as well. On Saturday evenings in the summer, the fiddlers would play rollicking tunes and the tapping of dancing feet could be heard in big houses and cabins alike. When winter shut down the fields, and with food plentifully stored in the cellar, the spinning wheels would begin to hum during those coldest months.

By the time William died in 1836, they had recently relocated to Woodstock (100 miles upriver from Hampstead) with two of their younger children, James and Caroline. Their older children were married with homes of their own scattered along the St. John River Valley. Around this time, she wrote a letterv to her daughter Susan, Mrs. Thomas Tilley:

I take my pen to address a few lines to you to inquire after the health of you and all of your family.  The grate distance we are from you prevents me from hearing.  You heard of the death of your Father at Woodstock.

Charlotte described William’s death in some detail and then continued:

I hop [sic] this may find you all well.  I am not well.  My head troubles me very much.  There is not one day that it don’t ake [sic] so that I cant hardly stir.  My cough is something better.  James and Caroline is well and harty [sic] and quite contented hear.  I like the place and if your Father has lived and been hear to see to it we might have made a good living.  It is pleasant and a good place for business but we must try to due the best we can.  The place is out of repair and soon would have been a common if we had not come hear.  I should be glad if my friends was near to us.  I don’t know as ever I shall see you all again.  I thought to have gon [sic]to see you all before I came up hear but I was so sick that I could not go down to see you.  James and Caroline wishes to be remembered to you and all the family.  I desire to be remembered to Thomas and the children and tel them I should be glad to see them and you.  Give my love to all inquiring friends and except a share for yourself.
This from you afectionet [sic] Mother, Charlotte Peters

Although she had her share of aches and pains at that time, she lived another 15 years and ultimately enjoyed the blessing of 111 grandchildren.

She had a powerful influence over all her family for she believed that their heritage carried a great responsibility to others. When the grandchildren would visit, her graceful hands were always busy winding yarn or knitting a sock while patiently answering their questions and reciting passages from the bible.

One of her grandchildren, Samuel Leonard Tilley, later known as Sir Leonard, served as Premier of New Brunswick and went on to became one of the Fathers of Confederation.

Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley 1864

A common tale states that Tilley proposed the term “Dominion” in Canada’s name, at the London conference in 1866, which he gleaned from Psalm 72:8 – “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth”. Ultimately, as Minister of Finance in the federal government, he was also instrumental in seeing the transcontinental railway completed.vi

Young Charlotte Haines might have felt all alone in the world at age ten but, when she died 68 years later, the epitaph on her tombstone proclaimed her legacy: “…Lamented by a large circle of descendants and friends by whom she was universally beloved and respected.”

The gravestone of Charlotte Haines Peters and family – St.John’s Anglican Church, Gagetown, Queens County, New Brunswick

iCharlotte’s mother, Miss Pugsley, died when she was very young. Charlotte’s father remarried Sarah Haight before he died. Then Sarah remarried Stephen Haviland who was Charlotte’s stepmother’s husband (step step father?)

iiThe Ship Passenger Lists, American Loyalists to New Brunswick, David Bell, http://www.uelac.org/Loyalist-Ships/Loyalist-Ships.php as seen 2020-03-28

iiiCharlotte Gourlay Rovinson, Pioneer Profiles of New Brunswick Settlers, (Mika Publishing Company), 1980, p.143.

ivJanet Lunn, Charlotte, (Tundra Books), 1998.

v https://queenscountyheritage.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/loyalist-of-the-day-charlotte-haines-peters/ as seen 2020-04-02

vi Conrad Black, Rise to Greatness: The History of Canada, (Random House), 2014.

Image – https://wiki2.org/en/Experiment_(horse-powered_boat) as seen 2020-06-11