private radio inspector

The black-leather-lined plasticized bilingual identity card wacked my arm as it fell from the shelf. Until then, I had never really noticed the card among the many items my grandmother left me.

Luckily, its heavy construction protected the words on the card, which remain as legible as they were when my grandfather received it on January 4, 1936.

The Canadian federal “Department of Marine” issued the card to give my grandfather credibility as a radio inspector. It says:

“The bearer G. Arial is hereby authorized to issue and inspect private radio receiving licences in Edmonton East. He is further authorized to require the production of private radio receiving licences for inspection.”

Turns out that this little artifact hints at a short-lived controversy in Canadian history. The card expired on March 31, 1937, but it would be defunct before then.

The Department of Marine seems like an odd overseer of radio licences until you realize that early broadcasting began in the 1890s when Morse Code was used to enable ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication. The idea of a public broadcaster begin in May, 1907, when the Marconi station in Camperdown, Nova Scotia began broadcasting regular time signals to the public.

The “wireless telegraphy” industry continued to develop with private individuals investing in ham radios with no regulation. By June 1913, the federal government decided to regulate the industry to protect military communication.

When World War I began in August 1914, private licenses were banned altogether. Only the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada, Ltd. kept operating during the war years, in part because it became a research arm of the military.i

After the war, the private industry blossomed, particularly in Western Canada. Many of the new broadcasters came from multiple religious communities, a situation the federal government tried to prevent by setting up a public broadcasting system through the Radio Broadcasting Act of 1932.

That act led to the establishment of a licensing commission called the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission under the leadership of Hector Charlesworth. Charlesworth’s group censored many religious groups and political groups, but none more than the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Norman James Fennema described the controversy in his 2003 dissertation, Remote Control.

…in Canada we find a situation in which the original impetus for regulating radio broadcasting began with the specific aim of putting a rein on religious broadcasting. Originally directed at the radio activities of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, this expanded in the early 1930’s into a policy against the licensing of religious broadcasters, a policy initially justified on the basis of the scarcity of the broadcasting spectrum, but that survived the expansion of the system.ii

By 1935, Clarence Decateur Howe became both the Minister of Railways and Canals and the Minister of Marine,iii the ministry under which my grandfather’s job was created.

Howe favoured private broadcasting, and encouraged new private entities to flourish.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King preferred a public broadcast system however. In February, 1936, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) came into being, and my grandfather’s job ended.

Sources

i https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_broadcasting_in_Canada, accessed May 26, 2020.

ii Fennema, Norman James. REMOTE CONTROL: A History of the Regulation of Religion in the Canadian Public Square, PhD thesis, 2003, https://dspace.library.uvic.ca/bitstream/handle/1828/10314/Fennema_Norman James_PhD_2003.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.

iii https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minister_of_Transport_(Canada), accessed May 26, 2020.

The Châteauguay, Lacolle, Ormstown and Plattsburgh hostilities of 1812-1814

https://broeder10.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/war_of_1812_map.jpg

The Battle of Châteauguay

The Battle of Châteauguay on October 26, 1813, was one of many skirmishes during the War of 1812. .Approximately 1,500 Canadian and Aboriginal soldiers commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles-Michel de Salaberry confronted and halted Hampton’s force of more than 4,000 men near Ormstown They thwarted an attack by the U.S. in their attempt to capture Montreal, in order to cut off a major supply route for the Canadian and aboriginal soldiers.

Salaberry and his men used several clever tactics and tricked their opponents by blowing bugles and shouting, giving the impression that they were a much larger group.. This trickery was successful.

The skirmish itself lasted several hours and involved intense and repeated thrusts and volleys on each side.

Salaberry’s force of militiamen, Voltigeurs Canadiensfencibles and Aboriginal allies were able to fight back the Americans, who soon retreated.

The Battle of Châteauguay, a national historic site is 50 km southwest of Montréal on the north bank of the Rivière Châteauguay between the towns of Très-Saint-Sacrement de Howick and Ormstown.

This database contains several free online books of interest to both historians and genealogists.

Contents: Map of conflict area. Authors, Archives and History

Click Download to view the attached file.

Margaret votes

Nicholson Clipping of the 1912 visit to Montreal of militant British suffragette, Barbara Wiley. At least one Montreal society lady, a Mrs. Weller, wife of an electricity magnate, openly admired the suffragettes. She visited them in London and soon after invited Miss Wiley to speak at her Westmount home. where she got many of her friends to subscribe to Votes for Women, Mrs. Pankhurst’s militant -minded magazine. Most upper crust women who admired Pankhurst kept it under wraps. Mrs. Pankhurst was simply despised by many people, especially men.

Suffragist: A person who advocates for votes for women.

Suffragette: Someone who advocates militant methods to win the vote for women.

If you come from Protestant Canadians, especially Presbyterians or Methodists, it is likely you have a female ancestor or two from 100 years ago who believed that women should have the vote.

It’s safe to say, however, that none of these ancestors ever marched in a suffrage parade, as did some American women. They likely didn’t throw hatchets at store windows, either, as did some British suffragettes. Nor did they ransack golf courses or go on hunger strikes in jail like the most militant suffragettes in England.

The Canadian Woman Suffrage Movement was much more tame (dull and boring) than in the UK or even in the US. In 1913, in Canada, the movement was controlled by a group of elite matrons, most with wealthy husbands, who were highly invested in the status quo. They did not want working class women or even ‘excitable’ young women of their own class to enlist in their suffrage associations. Most of them weren’t ‘equal rights’ suffragists.

Some of these ladies wanted the vote solely to cleanse society of its undesirable elements – to impose their values on others. Some wanted to clean up or “purify” what they saw as a corrupt City Hall, that allowed prostitution (the social evil) and alcohol consumption to flourish. Others wanted the vote to improve the lives of children of all classes because they believed men only cared about money. These were maternal suffragists and probably in the majority.

Page from minute book of Montreal Suffrage Association at BANQ.. Hmm. Someone has crossed out a line claiming the association is non-militant. Ha ha. They also want to subscribe to Pankhurst’s Votes for Women magazine.

The Montreal Suffrage Association was launched in March 1913 at the height of the Canadian movement. The MSA was led by Miss Carrie Derick, McGill Botany Professor and the former President of the Montreal Local Council of Women. Two other McGill profs were on the Board of the MSA, they were male, of course, along with two church ministers (one of whom was a real Pankhurst hater) and socialite and philanthropist Julia Parker Drummond.

At their inaugural meeting, the MSA promised to conduct a ‘ sweet and reasonable education of the people.”

My husband’s great grandmother, Margaret Nicholson of Richmond, Quebec and her three daughters, Edith, Marion and Flora, were not invited to join the MSA, even if the girls lived and worked in Montreal. Even though they attended suffrage evenings sponsored by the MSA.

Still, they were avid supporters of woman suffrage. They left behind (for my own education) many newspaper clippings like the one at top covering all aspects of the topic.

I also have a 1908 letter from Margaret to her husband, Norman, recounting a huge argument she had about the vote with an anti-suffrage preacher relative. ‘I told him we don’t live in St Paul’s time and I don’t milk cows out in the field. ” St Paul was often invoked to prove women’s place is in the home.

Edith writes this in a 1913 letter from Montreal. “We are going to hear Mrs. Snowden (moderate suffragist from England) speak at St James Methodist Church, but she is not militant and for this I am very sad.”

So, she was all for the militant suffragettes, who were at their naughtiest and noisiest in 1913, employing incendiary and sensational tactics “deeds not words” to get their point across and making all the North American news feeds.

Canadian women finally won the vote, in May 1, 1918. A select few, those women with men active at the war front, had been allowed to vote in the infamous – and very undemocratic – conscription election of 1917.

Margaret Nicholson did not have a close relative in the war. She voted for the first time in December, 1921.

I have that letter too. Here is what she wrote:

December 7, 1921, Richmond, Quebec.

Mr. Fraser and I went down to vote at around 11:30. I did not want anyone calling of me and asking to drive me to the poll. I wanted to go independently. Mr. Duboyce called at about 3:30 and asked me if I had voted. I said, “ Do you suppose I would wait until this late hour to vote?” He was going to take me down in the car. He then came up and asked if my neighbour, I mean Ethel, would go to vote. Well, she would not. Later, I was invited over to Ethel’s. She said Tobin did not need her vote, but if she was going to vote, she would vote for him. Mrs. Farquarson did vote, but seemed ashamed. I have not seen her since. Mrs. Montgomery came last night, but too late to vote.

Of, I am so delighted with this country!

It did not feel degrading in any way.

Margaret Nicholson and her daughters, circa 1910 in their fancy white dresses.
Margaret’s 1921 letter to her husband. “How I love this country..”

If you would like to read more on the weird Montreal Suffrage Movement in 1913, you can find Furies Cross the Mersey on Amazon.ca.

I mix the story of the Nicholsons with the story of Carrie Derick and the Kenney sisters, Sarah and Caroline, who moved from England to Montreal and tried to start a militant movement. They were the sisters of Annie Kenney, Mrs. Pankhurst’s famous first lieutenant. I believe I was the first person to figure this out..thanks to Google News Archives.

If you want to read more about the Canadian suffragists and their involvement in the Conscription election, read my Service and DIsservice, also on Amazon.ca KINDLE.

Quebec During the American Invasion 1775-1776

 

 

The following excerpt:

The Journal of François Baby, Gabriel Taschereau, and Jenkin Williams sets the tone for the contents of this database. It focuses on the American invasion of Canada in 1775- 1776

“Available for the first time in English, the 1776 journal of François Baby, Gabriel Taschereau, and Jenkin Williams provides an insight into the failure to incite rebellion in Québec by American revolutionaries. While other sources have shown how British soldiers and civilians and the French-Canadian gentry (the seigneurs) responded to the American invasion of 1775–1776.”

This journal focuses on French-Canadian peasants (les habitants) who made up most of the population; in other words, the journal helps explain why Québec did not become the “fourteenth colony.”

The authors presented in this database and other sources have shown how British soldiers and the French-Canadians responded to the American invasion of 1775–1776

This database consists of the writings of numerous authors who wrote diaries, journals, manuscripts, documents, and books on the subject. Many of these are complete and free online.

In addition there   is  a list of Repositories.

Click here to view Quebec During the American Invasion 1775-1776

 

Pierre Gadois the First Farmer

There is always a lot of talk in this province about who is a “real” Quebecer. Our current Premier Francois Legault, wants to limit services in English to “Historical Anglos”. While I can certainly claim this right, having been born and raised in Quebec, as were my parents, I also have “Pure Laine” ancestry. I descend from Pierre Gadois, the first person to be granted land on the Island of Montreal.

St Martin Church in d’Ige, France

L’eglise Saint-Martin d’Igé in Orme, Basse-Normandie, in north west France has a plaque with the names of men who left for Canada and the saying, “Je me Souviens” (I remember). I don’t know when the plaque was installed in this ancient church but Pierre Gadois arrived in Nouvelle France (Canada) about 1636. He left in one of the earliest waves of immigrants from L’Igé. Nicolas Godé, his sister Francoise’s husband also has his name on the plaque. That family arrived in Ville Marie (Montreal) six years later.

Pierre, his wife Louise and two children sailed to New France as part of a settlement initiative by Robert Giffard de Moncel, the first Seigneur of the French Colony. They first settled near Quebec City on the Beauport Seigneury where Pierre farmed. Another child, Francois was born during this time and baptized in 1636. Pierre decided to move to the safety of Montreal after several Indian attacks. It was recorded that Hurons entered his house a number of times, beat him and robbed him of food.

While he arrived in Montreal after the founding ceremony in 1642, he was still a very early settler. In 1648 Paul de Chomedy de Maisonneuve the governor of the colony, awarded him the first land grant. Why was he given 40 arpents of land? Had he proven himself a good farmer? The answer was probably yes. The colony needed food to survive and as the majority of inhabitants were soldiers farmers would be important citizens. Pierre Gadois was well thought of as he was also elected the fourth warden of Notre Dame Church.

According to notarial records, Pierre farmed his land and later added to his acreage. It was François Dollier de Casson, the author of the Histoire du Montréal 1640- 1672 who referred to him as “Le Première Habitant” or first farmer of Ville Marie.

He built a small wooden house of 390 pi² (French square feet slightly larger than English ones) on some of his land. An out building of almost the same size was also erected. This land is now in what is called “Old Montreal” bordering on de La Commune on the south, rue St Pierre on the east and possibly McGill Street on the west.

Montreal was not safe from Indian attacks even with its protective palisades. Pierre continued to defend his land and his family. Even when he was well into his sixties, he fought bravely defending Charles Le Moyne and other colonists who had been attacked by the Iroquois.

I descend from Pierre’s daughter Roberte Gadois and her husband Louis Prud’homme. Roberte became the owner of a number of pieces of property, after her father’s death. The family continued farming as their profession continued to be recorded as production-aliment or food producers.

Montreal kept growing. When François Dollier de Casson laid out the first streets for Montreal, one, Rue Sainte-Pierre was named in memory of Pierre Gadois. A small monument in Place d’Youville, placed there in 1992 during Montreal’s 350thanniversary also honour’s The First Farmer.

Pierre Gadois Stone in Place d’Youville, Montreal

Notes:

Pierre Gadois (Gadoys) Born 1594 & died Oct 20, 1667 in Montreal age 73.Married Louise Mauger in 1627.She was born in 1598 and she died 18 March 1690 in Montreal at age 92!

Their Children:

Roberte Gadois was born Sept 15, 1628 in France & died Sept 14, 1716, Montreal, the day before her 88th birthday.

Pierre born Nov 17, 1631 died May 18 1714

Eitenne ?

Ernest?

Francois born Dec 2, 1636 No further information.

Jeanne born Jun 26,1638 died June 26, 1638

Joseph born Sept 28 1639 died Oct 1639

Jean-Baptiste born March 2, 1641 died April 15, 1728

Pierre’s father was Francois Jean Gadois and his mother Barnabe Gadois

He was the brother of Francois, Francoise and half brother of Valentine Gadois.

Dollier de Casson, Francois. Histoire du Montreal 1640-1672. pg 88

Adhemar – Fiche Biographique Centre of Canadian Architecture

https://www.remparts.info/adhemar_php/bio.php?I_NUMERO=GAD0001 accessed Jan 02, 2020.

Jean-Jacques Lefebvre, “GADOYS, PIERRE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed September 3, 2020,

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gadoys_pierre_1E.html

http://www.perche-quebec.com/files/perche/individus/gadois.htm

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gadois-12

http://www.perche-quebec.com/files/perche/individus/emigrants-en.htm#12 plaque in d’Igé

http://www.perche-quebec.com/files/perche/lieux/ige.htm#1

Here you can read the story about his wife Louise Mauger. https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/09/11/la-fermiere-louise-mauger/

Marin Boucher another Percheron immigrant’s story. https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/09/09/marin-boucher-pioneer-of-new-france/

The Protestant Channel Islanders

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63931298

From about 1596 onward, Protestants families from various regions of Normandie and a portion of Bretagne, the modern-day Département of Côtes-d’Armor  first settled within the Channel Islands. Many of these families had resided along the coast of Normandie (Manche) were fishermen. They continued their trade on the Channel Islands. Around 1789 hundreds of families moved to Gaspesia and the Maritime Provinces, where many continued their seafaring activities in the new world.

Click on the attached PDF for a The Protestant Channel Islanders 50+page research guide. Researchers who have been looking for Protestant families who came to New France will find this guide helpful. It contains :

Protestant historical societies – National

  • Historical Societies – Regional
  • Archives – France
  • Archives départementales
  • Archives municipales communales
  • Bibliothèques -Libraries
  • Ancient Protestant newspapers
  • Publishers
  • Regional Genealogy
  • Most common family names
  • Genealogy Ensemble

 

Marin Boucher Pioneer of New France

The Percheron Immigration recruiting of the mid 1600’s was designed specifically to establish a permanent colony in New France. Robert Giffard (1587- 1668) was the first colonizing seigneur and did so at the request of the French King Louis XIII.

There was a specific condition attached. Giffard became Seigneur of Beauport as he was to be granted a large tract of land, including the resources. This area became known as the Seigniory of Beauport located close to Quebec City. It was the beginning of the Seigneurial system of land holding in New France based on the feudal system in France.1. He was persuasive and able to recruit skilled craftsmen to join him in this new adventure.                                          

.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mbouchrt.png

Marin Boucher, my 9th great-grandfather was one of the skilled stonemasons who was up to the challenge of joining

Giffard. He joined the Percheron immigrants. Although he had already established his family, he, his second wife, Perrine and three of his children chose to embark on this great new adventure.2.

Marin Boucher was born on the 15th of April 1589 in the Parish of Saint Langis, Mortagne-au-Perche. His first marriage took place in 1611. He married Julienne Barry. Together they had seven children. She died in 1627. Several years later he married Perrine Mallet. This marriage also produced seven children.3.

In 1634 Marin was already 45 years old. Nevertheless, he made the decision to join the other recruited Percheron families. They made their way overland to Dieppe with family souvenirs, their tools, and high hopes. The ships were waiting for them. They boarded the ship Captain Pierre de Nesle, Le Petit Saint- Christophe in April. 4.  They arrived in Quebec City June 4, 1634

Marin, with other skilled workers built Giffard’s home and 11 houses for the settlers. At that time, he also acquired a piece of land on the St. Charles River. He settled there with his family and worked as a stone mason and cultivated his land.

 Eventually he sold that home. In 1641 he had staked out land for both he and his son and son-in-law in Beauport on the St. Lawrence River. In 1650 upon receiving the formal title to that property he settled in Beauport Seigneury on property that was 1150 feet wide along the river and 4 miles in length away from the river. 5

Map of the property of Marin Boucher, and those given to his son Jean-Galeran, and Jean Plante. his son-in-law..

  Marin Boucher’s signature6.

In 1663 it was noted that Marin Boucher’s land was in Chateau Richer. Several of Robert Giffard’s disgruntled settlers had relocated after his death. His son, Joseph had revoked their land. They then moved to Chateau Richer. The parish grew and a new stone church was built. Bishop Francois de Laval confirmed 170 parishioners, including Marin and his wife Perrine along with their family members.6.

Marin’s decision to settle in New France proved to be a positive one. He is considered the first pioneer of New France. The 1667 census noted that Marin owned 8 head of cattle and 20 arpents of cultivated land. He and his family prospered. At that point he also owned enough land to provide for each of his children and their families.

At the age of 82, on the 28th of March 1671 Marin Boucher died.

Translation of the Burial record

“In the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ 1671, on the 29th of March died Marin Boucher after having lived as a good Christian and received the Holy sacraments of eucharist, penance and the last rights of extreme unction, was buried in the cemetery of Chateau-Richer by Monsieur Morel accompanied by the Reverend Father Nouvelle and by me doing priestly functions for them on the coast of Beaupre.” 7

(signed) F. Pillion, missionary priest

Marin Boucher is buried in La visitation-de-Notre-Dame Cemetery in Chateau Richer.

There are an estimated 350,000 descendants of Marin Boucher in North America. Are you also one of them?

Sources:

  1. http://www.perche-quebec.com/files/perche/individus/giffard-robert.htm   Accessed Sept. 1, 2020
  2. http://www.perche-quebec.com/files/perche/individus/boucher-marin.htm    Accessed Sept. 1, 2020
  3. www.prdh-igd.com      Accessed Sept. 1,2020
  4. https://naviresnouvellefrance.net/html/vaisseaux2/gensdemer/gensdemerGermanGi.html#gensdemerGermanGi
  5. 5.https://www.google.com/search?q=First+Families+of+New+France+Boucher+Drouin+cote&rlz=1C1CHBF_enCA912CA912&oq=First+Families+of+New+France+Boucher+Drouin+cote&aqs=chrome..69i57j33l2.49159j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8   Accessed Sept. 1, 2020

6.https://gw.geneanet.org/loiseau?lang=en&n=boucher&oc=0&p=marin  

7.https://www.google.com/search?q=First+Families+of+New+France+Boucher+Drouin+cote&rlz=1C1CHBF_enCA912CA912&oq=First+Families+of+New+France+Boucher+Drouin+cote&aqs=chrome..69i57j33l2.49159j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8   Accessed Sept. 1, 2020

8. https://www.wikitree.com/photo.php/8/80/Boucher-64.jpg   Accessed Sept. 1, 2020

Other references used:

https://gw.geneanet.org/loiseau?lang=en&n=boucher&oc=0&p=marin  Accessed Sept 1, 2020

https://www.geni.com/people/Marin-Boucher/6000000005948363015Free! Accessed Sept 1, 2020

https://www.wikitree.com/photo/pdf/Boucher-94  Accessed Sept 1, 2020

https://sites.rootsweb.com/~villandra/RenoP/2154.html   Accessed Sept 1, 2020

https://www.nosorigines.qc.ca/genealogieQuebec.aspx?name=Marin_Boucher&pid=774&lng=en Accessed 09.01.20

https://greenerpasture.com/Ancestors/Details/852 Accessed Sept 1, 2020

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/seigneurial-system

 

A Policeman’s Lot Is Not A Happy One.

A policeman’s lot is not a happy one. When constabulary duty’s to be done, to be done, a policeman’s lot is not a happy one, happy one. [1]

 

Francis Bulford (Front row, 2nd from the left) With Newquay, Cornwall Division 1929/30

(I can’t help but notice their enormous feet!)

My Grampy, Francis Bulford, was born in Devonport, Devon, England on 28th October 1884.

In 1905, he was a 20-year-old seaman in the Royal Navy when he decided to join the Cornwall Constabulary, and on the 1st November 1906, he was appointed to the force as Police Constable number 106. He retired in 1936 with 29 years of service.

After reading various newspaper clippings about the doings of my Grampy, I thought of the above verses by Gilbert and Sullivan as his duties were usually routine, but sometimes they were unusual, or even frightening.

His first posting was to Porthleven, a small fishing port not far from Helston. His ‘beat’ included the village streets, as well as the surrounding meadows, beaches and cliffs.

During Grampy’s time on the police force, he and his family lived at a three-bedroom rented property in a street known then as “Little Gue” at either number 14 or 15. My cousin Diane tells me her Mum (one of Grampy’s daughters) identified the building some 35 years ago. It was their home as well as the Police Station and the two small windows at street level were then barred.

This was where the cells were. The property is still standing, and the photo shows the modern window frames.

The house in Little Gue Street

Diane also told me about a time early on in his career when he was tied to a rope around his waist and was lowered down the cliffs to bring up a dead body at a place called Hell’s Mouth, on the north cliffs of Cornwall. Even the name sounds frightening.

It was Monday evening, January 1916 and Constable Bulford was doing his ’rounds’ at 10:30 pm when he happened upon a dead body, washed ashore on the rocks at Breageside, Porthleven.

Porthleven 1906

When PC Bulford was interviewed by the local newspaper, The Cornishman, a month later, he described the bodies as follows: [2]

The first body found was a big body, about 6′ 6″ stoutly built, badly cut upon the rocks with no clothing and decomposed, and headless. PC Bulford sent for a stretcher and the local doctor, Dr Spaight.

The next day, Tuesday, at about 9:30 a.m., a second body was found by PC Bulford on the Sithney side of Porthleven. This body was about 5 feet in height, slightly built, with no identifying marks except cuts from the rocks, decomposed, nude and again headless.

The local doctor examined the bodies, but there was no possibility of identifying them or finding the cause of death.

The newspaper suggested that these were two of the crew of the SS Heidrun, a Norwegian collier ship that had departed from Swansea, Wales with coal for Rouen, France. It was wrecked on December 27th, 1915, four miles off of Mullion, with the loss of all 16 hands.

The crew members whose bodies were found are buried at Church Cove, The Lizard Landewednack, Helston, Cornwall. The church overlooks the English Channel, so it seems this was a fitting resting place for these sailors.

Headstone for the crew of the SS Heidrun

(Photo Credit: https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?181509)

Sources:

[1] https://www.gsarchive.net/pirates/web_op/pirates24.htm Opera, The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan

[2] “The Cornishman” 27th January 1916. Newspaper cutting in the Bulford Family archives

Notes of interest about Porthleven, Cornwall England.

Porthleven was the home town of the ‘Dambusters’ Commanding Officer Guy Gibson, and there is a road named in his memory.

http://www.helstonhistory.co.uk/local-people/wg-cdr-guy-gibson-raf-vc/

It is a town, civil parish and fishing port near Helston in Cornwall and was originally developed as a harbour of refuge when this part of the Cornish coastline was recognised as a black spot for wrecks in the days of sail.

Porthleven has exploited its location and exposure to powerful swells to become one of the best-known and highly regarded surfing spots in Britain and has been described as “Cornwall’s best reef break”. Waves often exceeding 6.6 feet (2.0 m), break on the shallow reef that was shaped by blasting the harbour. Kayaking is also popular. RNLI lifeguards patrol the beach during the holiday season. The beach is separated from the harbour by a granite pier, which stands in front of the Porthleven institute and clock tower. When the tide is out it is possible to walk east along Porthleven beach for approximately three miles.

Read more about this wonderful part of Cornwall, England here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porthleven

Two previous stories about my Grampy and his police adventures in Porthleven can be found here;

https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/10/10/all-in-a-days-work/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2018/12/12/plucky-police-constable/

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

Good wages, employment guaranteed

Good wages. Employment guaranteed. These words echoed over and over again in Mary McHugh’s head. And only some domestic experience required. Mary thought that she had quite enough domestic experience, thank you, as she was the only daughter still at home.

It was 1910 and Mary had turned 20 in February.1 Old enough to be married. No prospects in sight. She had been working at the jute factory since she finished school at 14.2 Like her older brother, Thomas McHugh, she immediately got a job in the jute factory as soon as she could. Mary’s mother, Sarah McLaughlin, was happy that Mary was working as Sarah was a widow and still had three children at home. Her husband, Michael McHugh, had died of tuberculosis when Mary’s brother, Francis, was just three months old.3  It had been a struggle for Sarah to make ends meet. Even though Sarah had managed to get a job as a charwoman,4 it was not easy. Sarah was exhausted when she got home, too, and it was up to Mary to help with the housework and cooking for her younger brothers. Mary’s older brother, Thomas, was already married with six children. He helped when he could but he had his own worries.

Mary thought ruefully about her job. She was a jute spinner at the flax mill.5 The mill was noisy and crowded. Mary worked twelve hours a day and it was back-breaking work. The women worked hard in the mills but made less wages than the men. The machines were dangerous. Accidents happened often.6 And then there was mill fever or brown lung. Most people who worked in the mill had a dry cough and sometimes even a fever.7

Mill Workers

Photograph from the BBC8

Mary liked the idea of being a domestic. The hours would be long and she would be on her feet all day but the air would be clean and it would be quiet. But Canada? So far away? All by herself? Could she do it?

These thoughts were the beginning of Mary’s plan to emigrate to Canada. Mary McHugh was my great aunt and she arrived on the S.S. Grampion that sailed from Glasgow and arrived in Quebec City in July 1911.9

In the early 1900s the demand for domestic servants in Canada exceeded the number of young Canadian women willing to do this type of work. Governments, employers, and women’s organizations made a special effort to encourage the immigration of household workers.8 More specifically, British immigrants were considered as desirable immigrants to Canada. As of 1888, steamship agents received a bonus for selling the passage of a female immigrant whose intent was to work as a domestic servant in Canada. This was called the British Bonus and it came into effect by an Order-in-Council on September 27, 1890. Its purpose was to offer an incentive to desirable British immigrants. Often the Canadian employer would pay the fare of the immigrant to the steamship company.10 The emigrating domestic would then have to pay it back out to her employer out of her wages. This meant that the young immigrant woman was already indebted to her employer even before she started working. If she was unhappy with her employment, it made it difficult for her to find a better employment as long as she owed money.11

It is probable that Mary’s fare to Canada was paid by her employer. Beside Mary McHugh’s name on the passenger manifest of the Grampion there is a stamp British Bonus Allowed.

Hopefully Mary enjoyed her employment. She was the first member of the McHugh family to arrive in Montreal in 1911. She was probably delighted when her mother, Sarah, and three brothers, Thomas, Edward and Francis, followed her to Montreal in May 1912. And Thomas’ wife, Elsie Orrock, and their seven children, Ann, Elsie, Sarah, Francis, Mary, Adam, and Thomas arrived in October 1912. Mary married John Mervin Porter in June 1913 and her family would have been there to celebrate with her.

 

Notes and sources:

This poster from the Canadian Museum of History is from a 1926 pamphlet entitled Housework in Canada: duties, wages, conditions and opportunities for household workers but there would have been similar pamphlets advertising for immigrants that may have given Mary the idea.  This pamphlet says that “Canada welcomes men and women of the right type who come to seek their fortune in this broad new land … (people) of good moral character, and in good health, mentally and physically.” You can see this on the Canadian Museum of History web site in the section Advertising in Britain in the 1920s, https://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/hist/advertis/ads7-06e.html

Household work

  1. Scotland’s People, Register of Births, Mary Ann McHugh, born February 4, 1890, accessed November 18, 2017.
  2. Wikipedia web site, History of Education in Scotland, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education_in_Scotland, accessed August 17, 2020.
  3. Scotland’s People, Registers of Death, Michael McHugh, died May 16, 1895, accessed November 27, 2017 and Scotland’s People, Registers of Births, Francis McHugh, born February 21, 1895, accessed November 27, 2017.
  4. Scotland’s People, 1911 Census, Sarah McHugh, 1 Tait Lane, Dundee, Scotland, accessed February 15, 2018.
  5. Scotland’s People, 1911 Census, Mary McHugh, 1 Tait Lane, Dundee, Scotland, accessed February 15, 2018.
  6. DD Tours web site, Workers of the mills, September 16, 2014, https://www.ddtours.co.uk/archive/workers-of-the-mills/, accessed August 17, 2020.
  7. com web site, Byssinosis, https://www.healthline.com/health/byssinosis, accessed August 19, 2020.
  8. BBC web site, Tayside and Central Scotland, The history of mills in Dundee, December 2, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/taysideandcentralscotland/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8390000/8390747.stm, accessed August 17, 2020.
  9. Passenger list, S.S. Grampion, July 1911, Glasgow – Quebec City.
  10. British Bonus Paid, British Home Children web site, https://www.britishhomechildren.com/single-post/2014/11/09/British-Bonus-Paid, accessed August 18, 2020
  11. Barber, M.J., Immigrant Domestic Servants in Canada, Canadian Historical Association, Ottawa, 1991, p. 9

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