52 Ancestors – Week 45 – Fredrick John Childs Storrar

It has been several long weeks since I last updated 52 Ancestors but with Remembrance Day just around the corner I thought I would write up a post or two on some relatives who fought in the First Great War. For this week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I will be writing about Fredrick John Childs Storrar (1893-1969) who is my first cousin twice removed.

Fred Jr. was born to parents Fredrick Alfred Storrar (1859-1934) and Ruth Edith Basham (1872-1948). Ruth was the eldest daughter to John and Ruth Basham who were my my 2nd great grandparents. Fred Sr. was born to William Storrar and Fanny Bishop though I do not know much about his family. It appears he is living with his maternal aunt and uncle at the age of 12 and later with his sister at 16 Ballance Road in 1891. This is where I suspect Fred Sr. met Ruth Basham as her family also lived on Ballance Road, 18 Ballance Road to be exact. Fred and Ruth married on Jul 31, 1892, Ruth was fourteen years younger than her new husband but I don’t believe such an age gap was an anomaly.

The young couple would have their first son, Fredrick John Childs on Aug 6 1893 in Homerton, Hackney, just over a year after they were married. Their baby boy was baptized in St. Luke’s, the same church that they had been married in. I must make note of one of Fred Jr.’s middle names – ‘Childs’. I always found this to be a strange name and often wondered if this was just a misspelling but in fact in one instance where the name ‘Charles’ was written on a document it had been crossed out and corrected to ‘Childs’. My best guess at this point is that there is some sort of relation to the surname ‘Childs’ but at present I have been unable to find one.

Fred was not an only child, in fact, he had several younger siblings named Owen Alfred, Edith Grace, and Eva May. Sadly both Owen Alfred and Edith Grace died before they reached their first birthday although both were baptized at St. Luke like their older brother.

After his children Owen Alfred and Edith Grace died the older Fredrick Alfred traveled on the S.S. Victorian to Canada in May 1905. Perhaps hearing how the Basham family had made a new start in Manitoba, Ruth, missing the support of her family, urged Fred Sr. to travel and find a job in the same area so they could be close to her relatives. He would work as a farm labourer in the Mossey River area at least until the age of 62 years.

Just over a year later Ruth would follow her husband to Canada on the S.S. Virginian along with her two young children Fred Jr. and Eva in Oct 1906. Ruth and Fred Sr., however, did not live together when she arrived in the Mossey River Municipality. Instead, Ruth and the children went to live with her older brother John Basham at SW-6-29-18-W1. Were the strains of marriage too much to handle or was it more economical to live separately?

Fred Jr. and Eva were 13 and 9 respectively when they arrived in Canada and I can only assume they attended one of the local school such as Mowat, however I have been unable to locate school records before 1916 to confirm this information. On Aug 21, 1915 Fred Jr. along with his cousin William Henderson Johnston traveled to Dauphin to join the military. Together, these two young men fought in the 31st Battalion that was also known as the Bell’s Bulldogs but only one of them would ever return to Canada again.

Fred Jr.’s sister, Eva, also worked to help support the war effort and moved to Winnipeg in 1916 to join the Red Cross. She would later marry Alexander Reader, an English immigrant, who joined the military and fought in the 45th Battllion. Eva would have two sons, Ronald (Ron) and Fredrick (Jack), but would not live to see them grow up. Eva died at the age of twenty four in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Dauphin Herald – 7 Oct 1915
Fork River
Private F.J. Storrar is home from Sewell camp for a few days visiting his friends and looks quite spruce in his Kaki.

Indeed he did! Here is a picture of Fred Jr. Storrar in his military uniform. I wish I had a similar one of William Henderson Johnston in his uniform but I’m afraid I have no photographs of him at all. I would have also liked to see a photograph with clearer insignia but I am happy to have this picture which is in fact a postcard.

c. 1916

c. 1915

Dauphin Herald – 16 Jun 1916
Fork River
Max King is with the 61st Batallion at Shorn Cliff England. He writes that he was over and visited Billy Johnston, F. Storrar and the Lintick before they left for France and all were well.
Dauphin Herald – 11 Apr 1918
Fork River
Private F. Storrar has arrived home from England after being away two years. He is still suffering from the injury to his leg.

This article above mentions an injury to his leg. I was curious as to what exactly this injury was and how it affected him during the war and so I ordered Fred Jr.’s military files from the LAC. On one of the first medical sheets I came across there was a note that he had injured his left knee in 1915 and consequently he had constant aches and pains, swelling that made marching difficult, and could only flex his leg about 30 degrees.

Now, how exactly did Fred Jr. injure his knee? It was in Sept of 1915, not even a month after he enlisted, that Fred Jr. fell into a trench and twisted his left knee at Sewell Camp. He was put on light duties but returned to normal duties after several weeks. After contracting rheumatic fever in France in 1916 Fred Jr. received another injury to the same knee. No longer able to perform heavy work, Fred Jr. would go between light duties and the infirmary for his entire military career spending approximately 176-468 days in hospital.

These complaints eventually required surgery in Jul 1917 to remove loose cartilage. Further surgery to his knee occurred in Oct of 1917 but there would be little to no improvement. Fred Jr. now would walk with a permanent limp and would require a cane. Due to his injury Fred Jr. was discharged from the military on Apr 23, 1918 once he returned to Winnipeg.

Dauphin Herald – 16 May 1918
Fork River
On Friday evening May 10th a large number from Fork River and Winnipegosis met at the Orange Hall to welcome Private F. Storrar who has returned from the front. S. Gower read an address and Wm. King presented him with a gold watch and chair on behalf of the citizens. The ladies provided supper and dancing continued till morning.

In 1919 Fred Jr. began the purchase of 160 arces of CPR land at NE-5-29-18-W1 however this was cancelled on Sep 28, 1925. In the 1921 Census Fred Jr. is living in a small log home at 6-29-18-W1 with his mother Ruth. To my understanding this is the same home John Basham lived in that he passed down to his sisters Ruth and Ada after his death in 1920. After this I am not sure what happened to Fred Jr. but I am certain he remained living in the Mossey River Municipality to farm though he never married.

c. 1920

c. 1920

In the Mar 29, 1968 issue of the Dauphin Herald Fred Jr. shared two photographs, one is of a 490 Chev with Max King in the driver’s seat and beside him is Fred himself. Through the windshield standing near the building may be seen the late William King, the postmaster at that time, and the late T.N. Briggs Sr. I hazard a guess that this photograph was taken sometime in the 1920s after Fred Jr. returned from the war as the 490 was not built until 1918.

Fred Jr. passed away on Jan 25, 1969 at the Dauphin General Hospital in Dauphin, Manitoba and he is buried in Riverside Cemetery.

52 Ancestors – Week 15 – Robert Carl Moxam

For this week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I am going to write about my maternal 2nd cousin 3x removed, Robert Carl Moxam (1890-1921).

Robert Carl Moxam was born 30 Apr 1890 in the town of Forrester Falls, in the county Renfrew North, Ontario, Canada. His parents were Emmanuel Moxam (1854–1943) and Ann Johnston (1852–1918) and he had eight other siblings. He later moved to the city of Winnipeg with the majority of his family and can be found in the 1911 census at 534 Newman Street. He worked as a monotype operator before WWI.

Robert was part of the active militia, 79th Camerons, when he signed his attestation papers on 22 Sept 1915. His regimental number is: 153838. He became the Company Quarter Master Sergeant of the re-designated the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Canada). It is interesting to note that this regiment produced one of the three Victoria Cross (VC) winners for which Valour Road in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was named: Lieutenant Robert Shankland. I’m curious as to whether Robert Carl knew Robert Shankland and whether they were friends.

On 30 Oct 1919 Robert married an English lady named Emma Boulton Cain in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Their marriage, however happy it might have been, was brief because Robert died on 28 May, 1921, from the ‘deceased action of his heart’. The Canadian War Graves Registers indicates that his death was a result from his time served with the military. I wonder what sort of injuries he received in the war that would have plagued him for years after the war ended.

Robert is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. His wife Emma is recorded as living with her father-in-law in Jun of the 1921 Census. It must have been a frightening time for Emma, being so far from the land she once called home, with the husband she followed to Canada having died only a few short years.

52 Ancestors – Week 11 – Hyacinth Pelletier

For this week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I am going to write about my maternal 2nd great-grandfather, Hyacinth Pelletier (1849-1911).

Researching my maternal ancestors has been a rather difficult process. In the case of my 2nd great-grandfather I believe some sort of transcription error occurred in several Canadian census records.

Just below you can see Hyacinth and his wife living near Crooked Lake in the Assiniboia area of the Territories in the 1901 Census. They’re recorded as being ‘F.B.’, Roman Catholics, with their mother tongue being French. I wasn’t sure what ‘F.B.’ meant but a look at what the Métis National Council had on information about the 1901 Census indicates that this was how enumerators recorded individuals with mixed blood. In this case, Hyacinth and his wife are what they described as being ‘French breeds’. A look at the LAC had on the census also noted that Aboriginal tribes would have been traced through their mothers and the specific tribe name was to be recorded. It is interesting to note that this was not done by the enumerator.

1901

1901

I’ve been unable to find Hyacinth and his wife in the 1906 census. Furthermore, something odd occurs in the census records that follow. Hyacinth Pelletier is now a widowed woman. She is recorded as being Cree, Roman Catholic, and can speak ‘Indian’ and French. She is also living with her son Joseph Pelletier (1876-?) and their family.

1911 Hyacinth

1911

Hyacinth is then recorded as living with her son Joseph Pelletier as well as her nephew and niece Emmanuel and Angelique LeRat in the 1916 Census. The same information from the 1911 Census is recorded regarding her race, religion, and languages.

1916

1916

Hyacinth is then recorded as living with her son Joesph Pelletier and his family in the 1921 Census. She is recorded as being blind while the same information is recorded for race and religion, however she is recorded as being unable to speak French.

1921

1921

The changes in the census records from 1911 to 1921 make me believe that the person recorded as ‘Hyacinth Pelletier’ is in reality his wife Julienne LaVallee (1853) and that Hyacinth must has died sometime before the 1911 census. If I could find either person in the 1906 census it would make matters a little clearer but it could be the case the Hyacinth passed away before the 1906 census. Furthermore, my knowledge of Julienne as his wife and the rest of the family is murky at best as I used unsourced family trees from Ancestry. I do know from speaking with family that we are related to the LaVallee and LeRat family names but I have no firm knowledge on specifics.

52 Ancestors – Week 9 – Unknown Ladies

For this week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I would like to present an interesting photo in my possession.

c. 1880s

c. 1880s-1890s

This small photo was found in the very front of an old photo album that my great-aunt Ruth owned. Along side this photo was a set of two others of nearly the same size that said ‘Pa Johnston’ and ‘Pa with girlfriends’.

c. 1900s

c. 1890s-1900s

My best guess is that the young ladies from the first photo are somehow related to Pa Johnston, what my great-aunt called her step-father, my great grandfather, James Washington Johnston (1876-1967). The first photo appears to be possibly older than the second if we compare by way of the fashion.

The first photo must have been taken sometime during the winter as the ladies seem to be wearing heavy winter coats. I especially like the details on the second lady’s coat, they seem to be some sort of flowery piping right along the front opening. The hats / bonnets worn by the ladies in the first photo are also very interesting. I’d hazard a guess that the lady on the left is younger than the lady on the right because of her youthful face, her hair seems to be worn down, and her bonnet seems more youthful.

The second photo is easier to date, based on my limited knowledge of historical fashion, because the ladies seem to be sporting the Gibson Girl fashion popular in the 1890s and early 1900s. James Washington would have been in his early twenties.

52 Ancestors – Week 7 – Elizabeth Atchison

For this week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I am going to write about my 2nd great grand aunt, Elizabeth Atchison (1857-).

Elizabeth was the sister to my 2nd great grandmother, Jane Atchison (1854-1893), who was married to my 2nd great grandfather Noah Holt Johnston (1851-1940). She was born to Irish immigrants George Atchison (1818-) and Margaret Clark (1825-) and had five other siblings (two brothers and three sisters). They lived in Renfrew county Ontario, more specifically the township of Alice and Fraser.

Elizabeth, as well as her parents and siblings, can be found in the 1861, 1871, and 1881 Canadian census records. What is interesting to note is that in the 1881 census another young girl is living with the family by the name of Margaret Clarke Atchison (1874-). Who is this young girl, another sister perhaps?

In reality she is the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Atchison! At only seventeen Elizabeth born a young daughter- the father is not listed in the birth record. I wonder who he could have been, a young boy her own age or someone older, perhaps a married man? Elizabeth was so young and in 1874 I can only imagine that her reputation would have been ruined within the township considering the views of illegitimate children and their mothers in the Victorian era in both England and America.

1874. Ontario Births

1874. Ontario Births

I am unable to find George and Margaret, nor their daughters Jennie, Elizabeth, or Nancy in the 1891 Canadian census. I know that Noah and Jane had moved across the US border to Michigan where Noah worked on the railway. My grand uncle William Henderson Johnston (1890-1917) was born in Black River, based on attestation record, and it is in Alcona where Jane died in 1893, from a fit, today I have had the luck in finding a record of her death! (She is recorded as Mrs. Noah Johnson) I have just come across a website for Alcona genealogy that I will now spend time looking over for the Atchisons.

Back to the Atchisons- I am inclined to believe that George and Margaret also moved south along with their daughters: Jennie, Jane, Elizabeth, and Nancy. Nancy Atchison can be found in the 1880 US census as living in Alcona county which is where Black River is also located. I imagine that young Margaret Clarke would have been said to be the daughter of her grandmother giving Elizabeth a better chance at marrying some gentleman without the worry of her tarnished background.

Today, I have found what appears to be a marriage record for Elizabeth Atchison to Alexander Sloan, an Irish immigrant, in the town of Black River in 1892. While the record does not indicate the bride’s parents it does indicate that the bride was born in Canada during the right birth year (1857) to make this a likely match.

52 Ancestors – Week 6 – Mary Sarah Pelletier

For this week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I am going to write about my maternal grand aunt, Mary Sarah Pelletier (1898-).

I do not know much of my grand-aunt, what I do know I’ve gathered from census records. My mother tells me she remembers little of her aunts who seemed to have been all given ‘Mary’ or ‘Marie’ as a precursor to their name.

Mary Sarah can be found in the 1901, 1906, 1911, 1916 and 1921 census living on the Crooked Lake Indian Reserve. On the 1916 census she can be found living with her husband James Agecoutay. Mary Sarah and her three children (David, Emma, and Stephen) are later found living with her father in the 1921 census; Mary Sarah’s marital status is listed as widowed.

1921 census

1921 census

From here on I do not know what became of my great-aunt or my cousins. I wonder what happened to James Agecoutay, he likely died by disease or misfortune. The birth of his youngest child indicates that he most likely was still alive only 15 months prior to the census. A basic search of Saskatchewan’s vital records has provided me with no new information. I’m not sure what sort of records I can search to progress in finding how what happened.

When the TRC public archives opens I may be able to search available records of Residential Schools to find relatives who attended them. It is likely that my cousins attended the Crooked Lake Residential School like their mother (and most likely their father too).

52 Ancestors – Week 5 – Napoleon Pelletier

For this week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I am going to write about my maternal grandfather, Napoleon Pelletier (1905-1985). He was born on the Cowessess First Nation to parents Joseph Pelletier (1876-) and Marie Adele Lerat (1878-) in 1905. He had six other siblings that I am aware of although it is highly possible he may have had more.

Napoleon attended the Cowessess Indian Residential School and he can be found in the 1916 census. Cowessess Indian Residential School opened in 1898 and was later renamed Marieval. Residential schools that ran during this era typically used the half-day system where students would attend classes for half the day and work the other half. Napoleon would have most likely worked in the fields to provide food for the rest of the students or done other chores to keep the costs of the school low. My grandmother- his wife, Marie Cecilla Allary, also went to Cowesses. Her memories of the school during this era were not very pleasant, she remembers that the uniforms were rough, almost like potato sacks, and that she worked mostly in the kitchen to provide food for others students rarely ever spending time in a classroom.

pelletier, nap 1916 census

c. 1916

One of the issues I have with researching my Aboriginal ancestors are the records. First, there is nothing much in regards to census records before Saskatchewan became a province in 1905. The area where my family would have lived was known as The Territories, more specifically Assiniboia, but what complicates the search for them in official records is the fact that they traveled between the Canadian and United States border.

Another issue in regards to researching Aboriginal ancestors are the names. Names that I am related to are Agecoutay, Allary, Lerat, and Lavallee – this is not an exhaustive list. When looking at the census records between 1901-1921 there are many families on the reserve and just outside of it with these names and it’s hard to determine who is the right Napoleon Pelletier. Furthermore, the spelling of these names are varied and it is difficult to look for family when Pelletier has been recorded as Pelter, Peliter, or even Pelger! What worries me further is whether family members also went by traditional names which I would have no know of thereby missing individuals entirely.

Napoleon married my grandmother sometime in the late 1920s or very early 1930s; he and his family moved to southern Alberta where they lived on the Blackfoot (Siksika) reserve and where Napoleon worked as a miner. I have located two photos of my grandfather from the Glenbow Archives during this time. My grandfather is in the second row, second on the left.

Napoleon fought in Italy during the second world war. I have yet to get a copy of his military records although I’m very interested in taking a look at them. Apparently, Amsterdam was one of his favourite cities and when my mother came to visit me this past summer she lit a candle in one of the churches in his memory. My mother says he never spoke about his time in the army but that when he returned his once black hair had turned white and said it was because of what he had seen. (I have gotten the photo below restored and gave it to my mother as a Christmas present in 2012.)

c. 1941

c. 1941

Napoleon passed away just before Christmas in 1985. He is buried alongside his wife in Marieval, Saskatchewan, at the Sacred Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church. There is still much that I want to know about my grandfather and the fact of the matter is that I just haven’t asked enough questions. This is the year that I am going to sit down with my mother and contact my other relatives in order to get as much as I can.