Category Archives: Ontario

Cabbage Days

When I was a child, October meant a weekend of gathering in my grandparents’ garage with lots of other family members to make a massive batch of sauerkraut and coleslaw.

I remember the smell of boiling cabbage, although I’m not sure why, since you can make sauerkraut without boiling anything. Perhaps they used boiled cabbage in their recipe. Or perhaps the family made other dishes that day as well, like stuffed cabbage rolls. I can’t really remember. My family skipped the annual weekend in later years.

We still got a jar or two of yummy sauerkraut for Christmas during those years.

I’m not sure when that autumn tradition began, but it probably ended when my grandparents started wintering in Florida. Dividing a life between two homes was difficult enough without adding a big weekend chore to the year. By then, making it through the winter no longer meant relying on tons of jars of sauerkraut.

I’m sad that our family has lost this historic tradition and I’m not even sure which side of the family it comes from. Joseph Gabriel Arial and Marguerite Ann Hurtubese Arial both came from families that had been farming in Canada for generations. They lived through the dust bowl, the depression and World War II.

Perhaps sauerkraut got both families through many winters when food was scarce.

The word “sauerkraut” makes one think that my family’s recipe began in Germany, but even if the modern name came from that country, the recipe itself probably didn’t. Eventually, most cultures figured out that salt transforms cabbage into something that would last through the winter.

Canadian experiments storing the vegetable over winter began in 1541, when Jacques Cartier planted seeds from France along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River.

By the time that writer, botanist and surgeon Sieur de Diéreville visited Acadia 150 years later, local Mi’kmaq had learned to prepare cabbages in ways unlike recipes from the original mother country.

 l’exception des Artichaux & des Asperges, ils ont en abondance toutes sortes de légumes, & tous excellens. Ils ont des champs couverts de Choux pommez ,-& de Navets qu’ils conservent toute l’année. Ils mettent les Navets à la cave, ils font moëlleux & sucrez, & beaucoup meilleurs qu’en France; aussi les mangent-ils comme des Marons cuits dans les cendres. Ils laissent les Choux dans le champs après les avoir arrachez, la tête en bas etla jambe en haut; la neige qui vient les couvrir de cinq ou six pieds d’épais les conserve aussi & on n’en tire qu’à melure qu’on abesoin; on ne laisse pas d’en mettre aussi à la cave. Ces deux légumes ne vont jamais dans le pot l’un sans l’autre, et on en fait de plantureuses soupes avec de grosses pièces de lard. Il faut fur tout avoir beaucoup de Choux, que lesGens n’en mangent que le pignon, & les Cochons etle reste pendant tout l’hyver, c’est leur unique nourriture, & ces goulus animaux dont ils ont beaucoup, ne se contient pas de peu. Il y a de certaines iles le long de la Rivière Saint Jean, où il ne coûte rien à les nourir pendant l’Eté, &: une partie de l’Automne, les Chênes & les Hêtres y étant communs. Dés le Printemps on y jette sept ou huit Truyes pleines, elles y mettent bas leurs petits s’engraissent des fruits des arbres que j’ay marquez; lorsque l’hyver commence elles les ramènent à l’habitation , & on n’a que la peine de les tuer pour les mettre au saloir : Ces petits Cochons sont excellens en petit sale& il faut aller là pour en manger de lait tant ils sont délicats ; c’eft un plaisir d’en voir les bandes dans la saison : il sont plus courts etplus petits que les nôtres.

[With the exception of Artichokes & Asparagus, they have all kinds of vegetables in abundance, and all excellent. They have fields covered with Cabbage & Turnips which they keep all year round. They put the Turnips in the cellar, they are soft & sweet, & much better than in France; so they eat them like Marons cooked in ashes. They leave the Cabbages in the field after having pulled them up and placed them upside down; the snow which covers them with five or six feet thick also preserves them, and we only take out the meals that we need; we do not stop putting it in the cellar as well. These two vegetables never go into the pot without each other, and we make thick soups with large pieces of bacon. You have to have a lot of Cabbages all over the place, so that the People only eat the pine nuts, & the Pigs and the rest throughout the winter, it is their only food, and these greedy animals of which they have a lot, contain little skin. There are some islands along the Rivière Saint Jean, where it costs nothing to feed them during the Summer, &: part of the Autumn, Oaks & Beeches being common there. From Spring we throw in seven or eight full Truyes, they give birth to their young, grated with the fruits of the trees that I mention before; when the winter begins they bring them back to the house, and we only have to kill them to put them in the salting tub: These little Pigs are excellent in a little salt& you have to go there to eat them with milk as they are delicate; It’s a pleasure to see the bands in the season: they’re shorter and smaller than ours.]1

1Diéreville, N. de. Relation du voyage du Port Royal de l’Acadie, ou de la Nouvelle France : dans laquelle on voit un détail des divers mouvemens de la mer dans une traversée de long cours : la description du païs, les occupations des François qui y sont établis, les maniéres des differentes nations sauvages, leurs superstitions, & leurs chasses : avec une dissertation exacte sur le castor. A Amsterdam : Chez Pierre Humbert, 1710. http://archive.org/details/relationduvoyage00dire, based on travels to Acadia and New France from from October 1699 to October 1700.

More than 330 years since that description, cabbage and pork remained popular throughout Canada. As a child, our family enjoyed cottage roll dinners every Sunday night. A cottage roll is a very fatty salted roast of pork and it was always served with lots of cabbage, potatoes and onions. I still drool thinking about it. It was my mother’s recipe and I suspect that it came from my great great great grandmother Mary Willard, who came from Ireland. It doesn’t seem far off from the “Jigs” dinners they still serve in Newfoundland, although those include split peas as well as salty pork, cabbage and potatoes.

Many immigrants to Canada brought favourite cabbage recipes with them. Food historian Dorothy Duncan has written about Pennsylvania Germans bringing sauerkraut to Canada and Scottish settlers pickling cabbage in barrels and combining it with cheese and potatoes in a dish called “rumbledethumps.”

There’s a neighbourhood in Toronto named “Cabbagetown” to this day because Irish immigrants escaping the famine used to fill their front yards with the vegetable in the 1840s.

It’s said that Polish immigrants brought us cabbage rolls, but our family enjoyed those often when I was a kid too and as far as I know, we have no Polish in our blood. I love cabbage rolls and still make them to this day. My mom used to boil the cabbage in huge pots and then rolled hot cabbage around a mixture of beef and rice; coating the whole thing with a can of tomatoes and tomato juice. My recipe is a bit easier and vegetarian to boot. I just put the cabbage in the freezer for a day until it wilts enough to wrap around a mix of rice and lentils. I have to add twice as much tomato juice as she did so that there’s enough liquid in the tray to cook my cabbage rolls for at least an hour and half, but other than that, my cabbage rolls taste close to hers.

It’s nice to continue traditions. Perhaps I’ll make some sauerkraut this weekend in memory of my grandparents.

Writing up the ancestors with Janice Hamilton

It was a joy to speak with journalist and genealogist Janice Hamilton about her ancestors, her recent book « Reinventing Themselves, » and surprises she’s discovered while researching and writing her family history.

Listen to the episode on Mixcloud, SounderFM or any other podcast player you use.

For more information, refer to:

Reinventing Themselves Book

Writing Up the Ancestors Blog

Janice’s stories on Genealogy Ensemble

University of Manitoba Archives Hamilton Collection

Frank Opolko’s interview of Janice:

James Sutherland Music Man

James Sutherland’s death from apoplexy (cerebral hemorrhage) was noted in The Music Trade Review published in New York in 1915. The Sutherlands were not known for their musical abilities so discovering that James had been the well known proprietor of Sutherland’s Old Reliable Music House in Toronto, was a surprise.

Music Trade Review 1915

James was born in Toronto in 1850. He moved with his parents, William Sutherland and Elizabeth Mowat to West Gwilliambury and then to Carrick, Ontario where his father had obtained crown land. He worked on the family farm and attended school until 1867, when he returned to Toronto. He was seventeen and lived by himself in a boarding house.

His brothers William and Donald, soon followed him to Toronto. All the Sutherlands, it seems, preferred being merchants to farmers. He and Donald were first book sellers. There was no mention of a music store until 1884. The store was then situated at 292 Yonge Street and perhaps a complement to Donald and William’s book store, Sutherland’s Dominion Book Store at number 286. In the late 1800s, music stores sold mostly sheet music rather than instruments. They sold some pianos but they were not an everyday purchase. In the early 1900s, gramophones became popular and so stores also sold the wax coated cylinders and vinyl discs.

James married Elizabeth Bridge in 1882. He was 32 and she only 17. She wasn’t a Toronto girl but from back home, born and raised in the Carrick, Ontario area. They had four children; sons James Russell, Alexander Uziel, Neill Clarence and a daughter Verney. James, according to his obituary, was an upstanding citizen and business man as his memberships show. He was a member of Knox Presbyterian Church, the Yonge St Mission and the Order of the Canadian Home Circles.

He died in 1915 at 65 years of age and his wife Elizabeth not long after, in 1921. They were buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery but not in the same plot. They are both lying in adult single graves.

With three sons, I was hoping to find a living relative with the Sutherland name. The eldest son, James Russel married Laura Bansley in 1914. He died of influenza in 1918. They had no children.

Alexander married Florence Petherbridge in 1915. He was an electrician and signed up for military service during WWI. He survived the war but like his brother died of influenza, in 1919. Florence then went back to live with her parents, Charles and Elizabeth Petherbridge taking baby Douglas with her. Twenty years later Douglas visited a friend in the US. His border crossing is the only further mention of him.

Neill Sutherland married Mabel Ashby July 9, 1926. His marriage certificate listed him as a 22 year old chauffeur and she was a 16 year old spinster. John their son, born in September 1926 unfortunately died in July 1927. I have not found any other children.

Daughter Verney born in 1891 leaves even less of a trail. She only appears in two census and her father’s 1915 obituary. Her name is spelled many different ways on the documents. While I would like to find out more about her she would not leave Sutherland named descendants.

I still find the Music Store a strange occupation for James. His brother Donald left a Presbyterian church when they were considering buying an organ as he felt the human voice was all that was needed to praise God. I wonder what he thought about his brother selling gramophones? At least he didn’t sell on Sunday.

Notes:

The Music Trade Review Vol LX No. 15 April 10, New York 1915

Toronto City Directories 1879 – 1915.

Toronto Daily Star: Obituary Mr James Sutherland. Page 11. Friday March 25, 1915.

Ancestry.com. 1871-1921 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013.

Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familiarization/ark:/61903/1:1:2763-347 : accessed 18 May 2016), James Sutherland, 30 Apr 1915; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 4954, line 33082, volume Volume 03, 1908-1919, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,217.

Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2763-8FM : accessed 18 May 2016), James Russell Sutherland, 14 Dec 1918; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 4954, line 38164, volume Volume 03, 1908-1919, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,217.

Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2763-683 : accessed 18 May 2016), Alexander U Sutherland, 19 May 1919; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 5404, line 38405, volume Volume 03, 1908-1919, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,217.

Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/2763-JZH : accessed 05 Dec 2014), Elizabeth Sutherland, 23 Feb 1921; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 5404, line 41137, volume Volume 04, 1920-1931, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 001617217.

Single graves aren’t necessarily single, as James and James Russel were buried in the same adult single grave and Alexander and his mother Elizabeth were also buried in another adult single grave.

Douglas Sutherland gave his Aunt Kate Petherbridge as his Canadian contact when he crossed the US border in 1938. Kate had visited her sister Florence Hatler, who I assume had remarried, in Detroit Michigan in 1928.

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

Who were the Irish Presbyterians?

My father’s family were all professed Presbyterians, a religion which originated in Scotland. This included both those on his Scottish father’s side and his Irish mother’s side. Religion was very important in all their lives. They were part of a church, “which had a noble band of loyal devoted men and women who have counted it their chief joy to seek its highest welfare”.

It was not until 1843 that marriages performed by Presbyterian ministers were legally recognized in Ireland. My two times great grandparents, Susan Dodds and Alexander Bailey married in that year in Armagh were some of the first to have a recognized Presbyterian marriage.

The name Presbyterian comes from their form of church governance, an assembly of elders. These protestant churches trace their roots to the Church of Scotland whose theology emphasizes the sovereignty of God and following only the scriptures. The Scottish Reformation of 1560 shaped this Church, when many broke with Rome, led among others, by John Knox. This religion was brought to Ireland from Scotland with the migrations of people in the 1600s. Irish Presbyterians were never a single entity. Groups splintered, formed new congregations, united with others and broke apart again.

The majority of the Irish remained Catholic even when Henry VIII founded the Anglican Church, the Church of England and then the Church of Ireland. Most protestants lived in the north. While they soon outnumbered the Church of Ireland, the life of an Irish Presbyterian was not easy.

The government passed the Test Act in 1704, which stated that those wishing to hold civil or military office had to prove they had taken communion in the Church of Ireland. The Church of Ireland demanding tithes also angered the Presbyterians. Even after the Toleration Act of 1719 passed and Presbyterians were not penalized for their beliefs, they still felt estranged, which contributed to the large scale North American emigration in the early 1800s.

When the Susan and Alexander Bailey arrived in Toronto, they probably attended Knox Presbyterian Church, opened in 1820 as the First Presbyterian Church of York, Upper Canada. This church started by Scottish immigrants, welcomed the Irish but they wanted their own church and organized the Second Presbyterian Church in 1851.

Cooke’s Presbyterian Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The congregation raised money for a minister’s stipend and met first in St Lawrence Hall and then an empty Methodist church on George Street. This church soon became too small for the current members and the many others asking for seats. A new property purchased at Queen and Mutual St for 475 pounds soon a housed brick church.

There used to be many churches in the area as Toronto had a Sabbath Day Law with no public transport running on Sundays. People had to walk to church.

The new building became Cooke’s Church, named for Henry Cooke an Irish Presbyterian minister who in 1834 united the Irish Presbyterians. With his ordination in 1808, his ministry began in Northern Ireland. He reformed both the church and public education. He believed that the only music in churches should be what God created. There could be voices singing but no man-made musical instruments. When he died there was a massive funeral march through Belfast with all religious denominations in attendance.

The congregation kept growing. The church was renovated, enlarged and then in 1891 a new church that could hold 2000 worshipers was built on the same site. The Irish always knew they would be welcome in Cooke’s Church.

The new Cooke’s Presbyterian Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

My great grandparents, William Eagle from County Monaghan and Eliza Jane Bailey, were members of Cooke’s Church. William served as an elder until his death. Both their daughters, Amy and Minnie, were very involved in church life. Amy sang in the choir and served as secretary and treasurer of other societies. Minnie was the President of the Young Women’s Mission Band which had formerly been the Ernest Helpers Society. Their mother Eliza served on the Women’s Association as well as being Honorary President of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society.

Donald and Alice Sutherland, another set of great grandparents, although Scottish Presbyterians were also members of Cooke’s Church. Their children were named in the anniversary booklet. Mary, the Christian Endeavor Society flower convenor and Wilson on the Junior Visiting Committee. It is there that my grandparents, William Sutherland and Minnie Eagle met and were married by Reverend Andrew Taylor.

In 1925 the Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregational Unionists joined together to form the United Church of Canada. Cooke’s Church was for the union while Knox Church was against it and responsible for the continuation of the Presbyterian Church of Canada. It is still an active church celebrating its 200th Anniversary this year.

Cooke’s Church interior with their large organ.

Cooke’s Church closed in 1982. There were few parishioners left as most had moved away from the downtown. It’s glory years only a memory when it was the most pretentious structure in the city, a landmark on East Queen Street and a great spiritual influence. It was torn down in 1984 and is now a parking lot.

Notes:

Roulston, William J. Researching Presbyterian Ancestors in Ireland, Ulster Historical Foundation 2020.

Alison, James. Annals of Sixty Years Cooke’s Presbyterian Church Toronto 1851 – 1911. 1911.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterianism accessed October 18, 2020.

In Ireland there were many Presbyterian Sects:

The Presbyterian Church of Ireland

The Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church

The Secession Church

The Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanters) Church

There is a story about my great grandfather Donald Sutherland leaving his church because they purchased an organ. He seemed to subscribed to the ideas of Henry Cooke. According to a story in the Toronto Star, in 1880, a group of parishioners heard the choir had brought a organ into the church for choir practice. These people entered the church and dragged the offending instrument into the street. A riot ensued. Some were arrested and all were suspended from the church. They went off and formed their own church. Was this the incident Donald was involved with?

A story about Susan Dodds https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/1691

Phineas Rixon and His Three Wives

Do you have a photo of Phineas? I am writing a family history book, and would love to include his picture, but I’ve never come across one. If you can help, please contact me at janhamilton66@gmail.com.

Farmer Phineas Rixon and his wife Barbara had been out doing errands in town. After they returned home, he was getting ready to do chores when he was stricken by a heart attack. The doctor came, but Phineas never regained consciousness. He died two days later, age 78, on Friday, September 9, 1938, on the farm he had operated for almost 40 years.

The local newspaper, The Colborne Express, reported, “the large number floral tributes and friends present [at the funeral] showed the high esteem in which he was held.”1

These few facts about his last days are the most detail I found about my great-great uncle’s long life. Phineas seldom moved far from his birthplace in rural Northumberland County, Ontario, a few miles from the shores of Lake Ontario. However, considering that his first two wives and his daughter predeceased him, and that he married a third time at age 76, his home life must have had its ups and downs.

Phineas (also spelled Phinehas, Phenas, and other variations) was born on May 8, 1859,2 the son of Martha Rixon and probably of her cousin Thomas Rixon.3 His unmarried mother moved to the United States when he was about nine, leaving him and his sister Samantha (my great-grandmother) to be brought up by their grandparents, Thomas and Betsey Rixon, on their farm in Cramahe Township.

It is not clear where Samantha and Phineas lived after their grandparent’s deaths; by then they were teenagers, and they likely stayed with relatives.

In 1878, Phineas joined the militia and was listed as a private in the 40th Regiment Northumberland. He next appeared in the 1880 U.S. Census (as “Fenis Rickson,”) working as a labourer in Michigan. He must have stayed in the United States for at least a year as he was not counted in the 1881 Census of Canada.

At age 24, he married 18-year-old Almeda Warner, daughter of John Warner and Harriet Morden. Phineas’s and Almeda’s daughter, Samantha Almeda Rixon (usually known as Mattie or Medie,) was born in June, 1884. Almeda died of typhoid fever in December, 1897, aged 32, leaving Phineas with a 13-year-old to raise and a farm to run on his own.

Within four years, Phineas had remarried. The 1901 census showed Phineas, 41, married to Mary Leslie, 34. With them were his daughter, Mattie, 16, and Mary’s mother and her two sisters, both in their twenties. He had also moved from Cramahe Township to lot 6, Concession 4, Haldimand Township.4 An advertisement for an estate auction held soon after Phineas’s death said the auction would be held on the John Leslie Homestead, about a mile east of the village of Vernonville, so Phineas and Mary must have lived on what had been her parents’ farm. 

Phineas and Mary were married for about 30 years. After she died in January, 1931, he remained single for the next five years. In May, 1936, he remarried. His third wife was a widow, Barbara Jemima (Haynes) Cowey.5

Phineas was buried in Castleton Cemetery, Cramahe, Northumberland County, with his first wife and his daughter. Medie, who was married in 1906 to farmer Claude Tweed and had six children, died in 1915.  Barbara, died in 1939, age 73.

Photos: courtesy Gabrielle Blaschuk

Sources:

1. The Colborne Express, Thursday Sept. 15, 1938, p. 1.

2. Year: 1901; Census Place: Haldimand, Northumberland (West/Ouest), Ontario; Page: 3; Family No: 26. Ancestry.ca, 1901 Census of Canada (database on-line, entry for Phineas Rixon, accessed Aug. 9, 2020,) citing Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1901. Ottawa, Ontario, 2004, Series RG31-C-1, Statistics Canada Fonds, Microfilm reels: T-6428 to T-6556.

3. This complex story is recounted in the following two posts:

“The Ancestor Who Did Not Exist,” Writing Up the Ancestors, April 11, 2017, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-ancestor-who-did-not-exist.html

“Martha J. Rixon’s Short and Difficult Life,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 14, 2017, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2017/05/martha-j-rixons-short-and-difficult-life.html

4. Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 74; Census Place: 74, Northumberland, Ontario; Page Number: 7, Ancestry.com. 1921 Census of Canada (database on-line, entry for Phineas Rixon, accessed Aug. 9, 2020,) citing Library and Archives Canada. Sixth Census of Canada, 1921. Library and Archives Canada, 2013, Ottawa, Ontario. Series RG31. Statistics Canada Fonds.

5. Archives of Ontario; Registration of Marriages 1936; Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1938, online database, Ancestry.ca and Genealogical Research Library (http://ancestry.ca, accessed Aug. 4, 2020,) entry for Barbara Cowey, citing Ontario, Canada, Select Marriages, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

Little Emigrants

Up until recently, I had a vague awareness of the history of child emigration from Great Britain to Canada, Home Children as they were called, but took little interest. I am not descended from a home child so it had nothing to do with my family.

Until I learned that it did.

Shortly after I sent my DNA sample to Ancestry.com, I heard from Shirley Joyce of Toronto. We share the same great, great grandparents, John Angus and his wife, Rachel Martin, from Tulliallan in Scotland and through them there is a home child connection.

John (b. 1813) and Rachel had three children: David (b.1842), Ann (b.1844) William (b.1847). The 1841 census documented John as a labourer and his wife as a homemaker 1.

David, their first born, became a shoemaker in Partick near Glasgow and married Anne Rankine. They had nine children, including my grandfather James Rankine Angus, who emigrated to Canada as an adult in 1901 2.

William, the youngest, became a rope and sail maker. I know little of him.

Shirley Joyce told me more about Ann, the middle child, who became a domestic servant. She had six children between the years 1865 and 1886 fathered by three different men. She only married the father of her last two children, Hugh Stein, in 1881, at age 37. Ann’s daughter Rachel, one of the twins born in Largs in 1876 to Ann and an unknown father, became Shirley’s grandmother. 3

Ann’s mother, Rachel Martin Angus, great, great grandmother to both Shirley and me, cared for the children while Ann worked. Not an uncommon practice. However, Rachel at age 36, found herself widowed in 1880 4 . One can only imagine Rachel’s financial and emotional situation at that point as she tried to raise four grandchildren on her own with little or no income. According to Shirley, in 1882 Rachel gave up on the youngest, the six-year old twins Rachel and James, abandoning them to an orphanage in Glasgow, the Glasgow Union Workhouse.5  Two months later they were put on a ship and sailed to Canada, destined for a home child distribution centre, Marchmont Home, in Belleville, Ontario. 6. 

Why did Rachel feel she must abandon her grandchildren? Why did the orphanage accept them so readily? Did Rachel receive counselling on possible options? Did she know they could be sent to Canada if she left them? Did the orphanage contact the mother of twins about the situation and ask her to take responsibility? Shirley tells me that, according to her grandmother’s records from Quarriers,  Ann’s new partner knew nothing of her previous children.7.

Did no one in the extended family step up to help?

In the defence of my great grandfather, the shoemaker, the twins’ uncle and the father of nine children himself, how could he take on two more mouths to feed. Did he even know of his mother’s and sister’s predicament?

Glasgow (and Par-tick), rough and dirty at the time, suffered particularly poor air quality from industrial pollution and coal fires.  Hundreds of multi-story tenement buildings had been erected to house the workers flooding into the city to feed the rapid expansion of the ship building industry. Overcrowding and primitive plumbing contributed to rampant disease. Life expectancy was low 8. It is understandable that the various agencies responsible for abandoned children would see Canadian farms as a healthier alternative to life in the Glasgow environment.

Between the years 1869 to 1939, an estimated 100,000 children were sent to Canada to be used as indentured farm workers and domestic servants. Believed by Canadians to be orphans, only two percent truly were. Most simply came from destitute and desperate families such as that of twins Rachel and James.

Some of the Home Children were welcomed into their Canadian placement homes and even adopted. Consequently, they thrived. Most lived outside the family circle in sheds or barns and were treated simply as hired labour. If they did not satisfyIMG_3791 the owner, they were returned to the distribution home and sent out again to another placement.

The children were often poorly clothed, overworked and under fed. Few received the education for which they were entitled under their contracts. The agencies responsible for them, such as Quarriers for Rachel and James, provided little or no oversight.

Public opinion too often shunned these children. Canadians needed their labour but they were seen as diseased urchins, riff-raff, even thieves. They grew up marginalised, lonely and ashamed. As they grew older, they hid their home child background and rarely, if ever, spoke of it. Yet for all of that, most became hard working Canadian citizens as did their descendants.

Today I look at two names on the British Home Child Registry: Rachel Ann Angus and Robert James Angus, twins age 6, and I am appalled. Yes, childhood was not seen then as it is today. Children were viewed as little adults and expected to work. But they were also expected to remain with their families. How frightened these two small children must have been as the ship pulled away from the dock taking them far from anything they had ever known. They were not even kept together in Canada but placed on separate farms.

IMG_3794IMG_3793

Footnotes:

  1. Angus family tree. Owner Barbara Angus (Tarrant). Ancestry .ca
  2. Ibid
  3. E-mail correspondence with Shirley Joyce
  4. Angus family tree. Owner Barbara Angus (Tarrant). Ancestry .ca
  5. E-mail correspondence with Shirley Joyce
  6. British Home Child Registry. https://www.britishhomechildrenregistry.com/
  7. E-mail correspondence with Shirley Joyce
  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Partick

 

Background Information:

https://www.britishhomechildren.com/

https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle-2-15039/the-15-000-scots-children-shipped-to-canada-1-4616584

British Home Children: Their Stories. Global Heritage Press, 2010.

Joyce, Sandra. The Street Arab: the Story of a British Home Child. Welldone Pub., 2011

Pettit, Mary. Mary Janeway: the Legacy of a Home Child. Natural Heritage Books, 2009.

 

 

 

The Story of Three Thomas Wells’s

or

In Praise of Small, Local Museums

 

THOMASWELLS

My husband’s grandfather, Thomas Gavine “Fuddy” Wells, born 1868, Ingersoll, Ontario.

My husband’s grandfather, Thomas Gavine Wells, or “Fuddy” was born in Ingersoll, Ontario in 1868,“ the year after Canadian Confederation” as my father-in-law, Thomas Gavine Wells Jr., liked to say.

According to my father-in-law, Fuddy’s father, also Thomas Wells, was a lawyer from  England. His mother was a White – and, by the way – the Whites invented the hockey net.

This is everything my father-in-law, who loved to regale us with family stories, knew about his father’s British branch.

It has taken me quite a few years to confirm through the historical record that this information is correct –  well, except for the hockey net part.

…..

A few years ago, I started researching the background of my husband’s grandfather, Thomas “Fuddy” Wells, the one born in 1868 in Ingersoll.

As a young man,  Fuddy came to Montreal to work as an accountant for his uncle, Thomas White, who had founded an accidental company, Laurentian Spring Water, when he stumbled upon a golden aquifer under Craig Street while digging a well to service a shoe factory. Fuddy eventually became a salesman and then the President of the company.

Laurentian Spring Water was the first bottled water company in North America – and that deserves a story of its own – but not here.

DAPPERGENTS

The dapper gentlemen of the St. George’s Lawn Bowling Club, Westmount, Quebec. Fuddy is seated above the man on grass with splayed legs.

 

This piece is about my more recent search for more information about Fuddy’s father, Thomas, the lawyer in Ingersoll, Ontario, who was from England, but what part?

But, finding that out was difficult. Putting up my husband’s DNA  on Ancestry did nothing to clear up the mystery. Wells is a common name, as is White.

Making things more difficult, Fuddy’s 1868 birth certificate isn’t online, nor is Thomas, the lawyer’s, marriage certificate.

CENSUS

However, Fuddy’s four marriages (yes) are online, giving his birth date as 1868 and his mother as Mary White.

The  1901 and 1911 censes claim Fuddy was born in England, in 1868, (that would explain the lack of a Canadian birth certificate) but the 1881 census (above) confirms he was Canadian-born.

The paper-trail isn’t always to be trusted, it seems.

According to an online notice from the Canadian Law Almanac, Fuddy’s father, Thomas, started his law career in Ingersoll in 1866 – the year before Confederation.

Now, I put all this information aside for a year or two until a few months ago when a genealogist friend  said she’d give it a try using UK records.  After a bit she got back to me: “No luck. There are just too many Thomas Wellses,” she said.

Then, trolling the Internet for more information,  I stumbled  upon a brand new net nugget: a citation in the footnotes of a book published in 1989 for “Diary of Thomas Wells, teacher, 1851-1864, Ingersoll Cheese Factory Museum.”

I immediately contacted said Cheese Factory Museum to be told that Thomas Wells’ diary was in the Ontario Archives – and, then,  I couldn’t find it on their database. Darn!

But, shortly  thereafter, I received another email.

An intrepid researcher at the Ingersoll Museum had taken it upon herself to do a little research about Thomas Wells and she had discovered his obituary in the Woodstock Journal. Bingo!

Thomas, it seems, was born in Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire, 4 miles from the famed University.

His father, John, had a farm there, 326 acres, 10 employees.*

Thomas came to Canada in 1854, to Ingersoll in 1856, and worked as a teacher as he put himself through law school. He was a sportsman, like many of his descendants, and played baseball among other games. (He kept a diary that was used for a very detailed thesis and subsequent book on amateur sports in small-town Ontario.)*

Thomas, said the  obit, was “the Dean of Western Ontario lawyers” and was still practicing law at 93 years of age, right up until his death in 1926!

Now, that ‘s a scintillating family story my father-in-law  should have passed on to his four children and fourteen grandchildren.

It was every bit as good as the  ‘hockey net’ one – and it has the added benefit of being true.

(Adding this after the fact. Although Wikipedia does not give Frank Stocking credit for the hockey net (He was the husband of Thomas’s wife’s cousin a daughter of the founder of Laurentian Spring Water, Robert White) there is evidence he invented the sturdy net with frame.

INGERSOLL

The Professionals of Ingersoll. Thanks to the railway, Ingersoll (between Toronto and London) was a town of note in the 1870’s, with a healthy sporting rivalry with nearby Woodstock. But the hockey net was NOT invented there. According to online info, the hockey net  was invented in Beamsville, Ontario.

 

WestmountHIGH
Westmount High School Football Team, circa 1936. Thomas Gavine Wells Jr., my father-in-law, second row, fourth from left.  He played semi pro hockey for a Montreal team, but that career was ended at 19 when Emile “Butch” Bouchard, the future defenceman for the storied Montreal Canadiens, checked him into the boards at the Montreal Forum. He broke a leg. (Wikipedia describes Bouchard as ‘the best body checker of his era.’ OUCH!)

 

*Fulbourn Valley Farm, as described in a Victorian Era list of Cambridgeshire farms on the Internet. This was a farm slightly above average size for the era in England.

There are other snippets about John and his Cambridgeshire farm on the Net: hail was a problem for his barley crops; his maid lied a lot;  his wife took over the farm when he died; and there were two ransacked Roman burial tombs on the farm.

JohnWells

*For the Love of the Sport: Amateur Sports in Small-Town Ontario. Bouchier, Nancy B. (Her thesis is available at Canada’s Thesis Portal.)

(Funny story: researching Fuddy’s life in Montreal for a book, Milk and Water: Scandals, Lies and Covers-Up in Jazz Age Montreal, I came across a 1903 snippet in a newspaper about the St George’s Club and how they evaded Westmount prohibition by claiming to be a private club and not encumbered by city by-laws.)

The lack of a birth certificate would just mean that his Anglican Record from St. James Anglican in Ingersoll is not online. His father, Thomas, was warden of the Church.

The Wedding Trip

The itinerary of my grandparents’ 1906 honeymoon sounds more like a business trip than a romantic get-away, nevertheless, they both seemed to enjoy their trip to Chicago, Toronto and Montreal.

The bride and groom were Dr. Thomas Glendenning Hamilton 33, a Winnipeg physician (usually known by his initials, T.G.,) and Lillian May Forrester, 26, a nurse. Lillian trained at the Winnipeg General Hospital, graduating in May, 1905, but she resigned from nursing when they became engaged.

The bride, Lillian Forrester
Lillian on her wedding day.

The wedding took place at the Winnipeg home of the bride’s uncle, lawyer Donald Forrester, at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 26, 1906: According to the newspaper, “The bride, who wore a pretty gown of white net over taffeta and carried bride’s roses, was given away by her father, Mr. John Forrester, of Emerson…. There were no attendants, only the immediate relatives of the happy couple being present.” Following the brief Presbyterian service, the bride changed into a red and grey travelling outfit and they left for their honeymoon on the 5:20 train.

Lillian kept a diary of the wedding trip, leaving out any romantic details. They spent their wedding night on the train to St. Paul and reached Chicago late the following evening. Staying at the 16-story Great Northern Hotel, they visited Marshall Field’s department store, viewed the impressive tower of the Montgomery Ward Building and attended a play. They also visited the 1,400-bed Cook County Hospital which, Lillian noted, treated 25,000 patients a year and did an average of 10 operations per day. They then headed to Detroit for a brief stopover, and Toronto, where they began by exploring the area around Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto.

Niagara Falls was on their honeymoon bucket list. T.G. and Lillian spent a snowy day there, seeing both the Canadian and American falls. They dressed in waterproof clothing to access the back of the falls, and took a cable elevator car to view the Whirlpool Rapids.

After several nights in Toronto with T.G.’s Aunt Lizzie Morgan, they boarded a train for Montreal. Lillian noted some of the towns they passed through en route, including Belleville, where she was born.

It was now early December, and there was a heavy snowfall in Montreal, nevertheless they took the street car to Notre Dame Cathedral, which they found to be “as grand and beautiful as we anticipated.” Lillian ordered 50 visiting cards – she would need them in her new social role as the wife of a busy physician – and she visited several stores “and spent her first pin money.”  She described Morgan’s department store as “the most beautiful store we have ever seen. The art gallery, glass room, electrical room and furniture department are all exceedingly fine.”

T.G. was planning on running for election to the school board in Winnipeg, so he took advantage of the trip to do some research. While Lillian was shopping, he interviewed the Superintendent of Schools.

No visit to Montreal is complete without a trip up Mount Royal. T.G. and Lillian went to the top in a sleigh and enjoyed “a splendid view of city, canal, river and Victoria Bridge.” On the way back downtown, they visited the Royal Victoria Hospital, ”a beautiful, well equipped building” with 300 beds.  The next day they explored the Redpath Museum, had dinner at the Windsor Hotel (one of the city’s best) and took the overnight train back to Aunt Lizzie’s in Toronto.

It was a Sunday so, after church, T.G.’s cousin accompanied them to visit relatives. The following day, T.G. met with the Superintendent of School Buildings in Toronto and with a former principal of Wellesley Public School, said to be the most handsome and modern school building in Toronto.

Over the next few days they visited more family members and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Scarborough, where T.G.’s father and grandparents were buried, as well as the farmhouse where T.G. spent his childhood. On their final day in the city, they attended a lecture on new developments in vaccines.

Finally, they headed west to Chicago and Minneapolis. Back in Winnipeg, Lillian’s brother picked them up at the train station and they went to buy furniture.

The last entry of the trip diary was dated almost a month after their wedding: “Dec. 22. Had tea at 8 a.m. in our own house.”

Note: a slightly longer version of this article is posted on my family history blog, writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

The Fur Trade: A Wealth of Resources

Over the last few weeks, Genealogy Ensemble has posted a series of research guides on the merchants, ship owners and others who were involved in the lucrative fur trade based in New France. This week, I have put together a list of archives, web site addresses and other resources that you may want to consult as you dig deeper into your research on these merchants.

The first repositories on this list are Quebec’s provincial archives, la Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. The links I have included will not only help you find the main archives in Montreal and Quebec City and other regional branches, but show you how to e-mail a question to an archivist.

Other archives with collections related to these merchants include Library and Archives Canada and various archives in France. I have written guides to several French archives in the past. See https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/10/21/researching-the-new-france-archives/ https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/01/27/the-national-archives-of-france/ https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/12/16/bnf-gallica/ and https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/05/13/researching-your-french-ancestors-online/.

To better understand the Canadian-based resources, see my posts https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/11/18/patrimoine-quebec-a-genealogical-library/ and https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/10/21/researching-the-new-france-archives/

Other resources on the list include university libraries and museums. I have also included links to various genealogy and history societies in North America and Europe. Several of these, such as the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, provide a great deal of background information on the fur trade era. Don’t forget that the merchants of New France were scattered from Acadia (in Canada’s eastern provinces) to Louisiana. Finally, I have included the names of several publishers and booksellers that could prove of interest.

Click here to see the list of repositories and publishers: Repositories of Documents Booksellers Publishers

This is the last post in the series. Previous articles in this series on the merchants, ship owners and fur traders of New France can be found at:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/05/the-merchants-ship-owners-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-1-a-g/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/10/the-merchants-and-fur-traders-of-new-france-part-2-h-to-z/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/05/26/the-trading-companies-of-new-france/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/06/02/french-seaports-and-new-france/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/06/09/books-and-articles-about-the-merchants-ship-owners-and-fur-traders-of-new-france/