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.

52 Ancestors – Week 4 – Joseph Pelletier (the Carnegie Hero)

This week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I am going to write about my mother’s side of the family. Being the ‘baby’ of the family I have missed meeting many of my older relatives simply because I am the age of many of my nephews and nieces, as a consequence, many events that my siblings have been privy to have happened long before I was born.

Today, I am going to write about one of my uncles, Joseph Pelletier (1947-1973). Joey was born the second last of my mother’s siblings, eleven children in total. My mother and her siblings, including Joey, grew up on a Blackfoot reserve in southern Alberta.

Being Aboriginal children in the 1930s-1960s they would have been required to have attended Indian Residential School. I do not know much about their lives during their childhood and youth as there are only three of the eleven siblings alive today, including my mother, and I believe this reflects on the harsh lives they lived. I can only speculate, based on my studies and work with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, on the treatment of my mother’s siblings in the residential school system. My mother is lucky, she can remember mostly good memories of her time at Crowfoot IRS either because her experience was better than most or because she has blocked any painful memories out for good reason. Anyway I am getting off topic- more on Indian Residential Schools in a future post.

On the morning of 29 Jul 1973, while swimming in the Bow River, 10-year-old Thelma A. Wells, became caught in the revolving current over a hole in the river bottom and called for help. Joey, my uncle, having heard her cries, entered the water fully clothed and swam to her. A struggle ensued; and both were submerged briefly several times. Joey called for assistance. His younger brother, Robert, entered the water and swam to them. While Robert was able to take Thelma safely to the bank, Joey floundered in the spinning current over the hole and drowned before help reached him.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awarded Joey the bronze Carnegie Medal in recognition of his outstanding act of heroism. The purpose of the Carnegie Hero Fund is to award individuals in the United States and Canada who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

pelletier joey newspaper

c.1973 (Calgary)

Above is a clipping from a newspaper, most likely from Calgary, that was with the Carnegie award certificate in our basement. I do not know what has happened to the bronze metal itself because we do not have it. I can only hope one of my aunts have it in their possession otherwise it has been lost, most likely when the government seized my grandmother’s property when she passed away in 1990. I am tempted to contact the Carnegie Hero Fund to see whether a replacement medal can be given to the family again. Couldn’t hurt to ask anyway.

c. 1962

c. 1962

While I do not know much of my uncle Joey this act of bravery makes me wish I could have known him during his brief life. One of the rare photos I have in my possession shows a smiling young man full of life– even a bit of a comedian, but who isn’t at 15? I wish I had more photos of him as well as other members of my family whose faces are now lost to memory and time. This is why I treasure the photos, documents, and artifacts I am able to get my hands on. It is important to me to discover and uncover as much information as I can about my family- the more I get to know them the more I get to know myself.

52 Ancestors – Week 3 – Ruth Sarah Goodson (the girl who married a dustman)

For this week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I am going to write about my paternal 2nd great-great grandmother, Ruth Sarah Goodson (1848-1925). She was born in London to parents Joseph Goodson (1796-1865) and Ruth Blanchard (1812) in Apr 1848 and was later baptized at St. John at Hackney Church.

An interesting piece of writing that I have is a copy of a letter sent to Ruth Goodson, by her teacher, Emma Johnson. Ruth would have gone to a school in the Hackney area but I have yet to determine what school she would have attended. While I wouldn’t be surprised that Ruth and her sister would have had a governess in the home I’m not completely sure whether this would have been feasible but I will continue this thought further below.

2 Tyssen Terrace
London, England
December 27, 1863

Dear Ruth,
I was sorry I was not at home when you brought me that very beautiful present.
I shall always think of your kind heart when I use the Bible, but indeed you should not have allowed yourself to purchase such an expensive present.
It makes me feel quite grieved when I look at it, and were it not that I know you feel such pleasure in giving it, I should hardly like you accept so very handsome a book.
I thank you very much indeed from the very kind and grateful feeling which prompted the gift.
Such feelings are all very delightful to a teacher, coming from those whom she has loved and tried to train in the path of duty.
With kind regards to your excellent mother, and with best wishes that your care towards her may bring stronger health, and with best homes of a Happy New Year for you, death Ruth, believe me.

Your affectionate friend,
EMMA JOHNSON

I wonder what kind of relationship Ruth had with her teacher to give such a nice present. Ruth would have been fifteen in 1863 and it would be my guess that she would have been learning proper Victorian etiquette and how to run a home. It would have been nice to have the original letter but I don’t have it and don’t know where it would have been kept. I’m not sure where my great aunt Ruth’s personal papers were taken after her death; whether they were destroyed or if someone took them. It would be nice to find out where many of her original papers were taken.

Ruth married John Basham on 7 Feb 1869. My great aunt Ruth wrote of her grandmother in her essay entitled “The Bashams of Mowat.”

John had been born on a farm in Essex, England, later coming to London, with some of his brothers, to set up a small business as garbage men. It was while making his rounds, that he often met, at the back gate, the genteel and educated Ruth Goodson. In spite of her father’s warnings and threats, Ruth was captivated by the charms of the handsome John, and later they married and became the parents of eight children, all of whom came to Canada, at different times, except Jessie, who became Mrs. Owen Gower, and Amy, who married a London bus driver, named Joe Charles.

What kind of ‘threats’ did Ruth and John suffer at the hands of her father? Was she cut off from the rest of her family or did she lose any dowry or inheritance? Based on where they lived in the Hackney area, which was destroyed in the blitz of WWII, and what Ruth’s father did as an occupation I do not know that they were so well off as described. Joseph Goodson was born in Bethnal Green and worked as a ‘dust collector’ and ‘labourer’ and so I don’t know why he would have looked down on John Basham so harshly. Joseph, himself, would have come from an impoverished background and might understand the struggles of finding a wife. It’s possible he hoped his daughter would have made a better prospect for someone of higher class.

Ruth had three sons and five daughters:

John Fredrick (Did not marry)
Ruth Edith Married Fredrick Alfred Storrar
Jessica Grace Married Owen Levenson Gower (Stayed in England)
Amy Florence Married Joseph Charles (Stayed in England)
George Edward (Did not marry)
Sophia Harriett Married Thomas White
Married James Johnston
Ernest Henry Married Jane Murray-Ross Taylor
Ada Louisa Married Alexander Munro

Ruth immigrated to Canada along with her husband, John, in 1903 and settled in the Mossey River area. They left Liverpool in Jun 1903 and traveled on the S.S. Tunisian with their son George Edward and their daughter Ada Louisa. A large two-story log house was built on the south side of the Fishing River, a half-mile from where the Mowat School was built. Mr. and Mrs. Basham lived there the remainder of their lives, their home a welcome stopping-place for travelers and for preachers who came in the summertime to hold church services at the school. John passed away in 1915 and Ruth passed away on 9 Jun 1925 of a massive heart attack, both are buried in the Fork River Cemetery along with their eldest son John Fredrick.

(Jul. 2012)

52 Ancestors – Week 1 & 2

To help me in regulating my blogging activity, outside of the Dauphin Herald, I’ve decided to participate in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge:  52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Each week I will be writing about an ancestor of my choosing and will describe a little about their life or the challenges I’ve come across while researching them.

This week I will be writing about two ancestors for the 1st and 2nd week of the challenge, they are a husband and wife pair who came to Canada in the early 1900s.

Thomas White (1880-1909) was the first husband to Sophia Harriett Basham (1880-1959), my paternal great grandmother. He was born abt 1880 in Hackney, London, and resided in the Hackney area for the majority of his youth where he worked as a cabinet worker. Before 2012 I had very little information on Thomas other than what was written about him by his only child, my great-aunt Ruth, who I have written about in a previous post. I had no information on his parents or if he had any siblings and so it was a mystery for some time but I will continue on this thought a little further below.

Sophia Harriett Basham was born on 1 Jun 1880 in Homerton, Hackney, London, to parents John Basham (1837-1915) and Ruth Sarah Goodson (1848-1925). She was baptized at St. Barnabas Church in Aug 1880 along wit her brother George Edward and sister Amy Florence; she resided with her parents and siblings in the Hackney area for much of her youth. They can be found in the England Census in 1881, 1891, and 1901.

Thomas can be found in the 1901 England Census residing, as a border, at 23 Ballance Road with Joseph Charles and his wife Amy Basham. Based on this information I concluded that this is how Thomas might have become acquainted with Amy’s sister, Sophia, who would later become his wife. He married Sophia Basham in Apr 1904 in West Ham, Essex; I believe they married at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Walthamstow and that their marriage record is located at the Waltham Forest Archives. This information is based on the fact that Sophia’s sister, Jessica Grace Basham, married her husband Owen Leveson Gower at St Michael & All Angels Church on 2 Sep 1900 and lived in the same area; it wouldn’t be far fetched to think that Tom and Sophie could have married at this church as I’ve been unable to locate a record at any Hackney churches. When I was passing through London in August 2012 I was unable to make it to the Waltham Archives and can’t confirm whether their record is there.

The young couple traveled to Canada on the S.S. Canada in May of 1904 and arrived at the port of Montréal, Québec, on 15 May 1904. They moved to the Mossey River Municipality of Manitoba possibly for the fact that Sophia’s older brothers John Fredrick and George Edward immigrated in 1896 and 1903 to the area as well as her parents in 1903. A CPR land sale record indicates that Thomas bought 160 arces of land on the NE-1-29-19-W1. There he erected a small farmhouse on the north bank of the Fishing River and the couple can be found on in the 1906 Canadian Census. On 23 Jan 1908, a daughter, Ruth Elizabeth White, was born.

On 22 Oct 1909, Thomas died of typhoid fever. He is buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Dauphin, Manitoba. While visiting the cemetery I was able to locate the approximate location of his burial plot but I was unable to locate his gravestone. All markers in this area of the cemetery have been damaged or destroyed and so it’s not possible to identify whose stone belongs to whom with any real certainty. Based on his date of death I was able to order his death certificate from Manitoba Vital Statistics in the summer of 2012 and low and behold there was information that indicated that Thomas had a brother who lived in Dauphin, named George William White, at the time of his death. From this information I was able to locate George White and his family in the Canadian Census records of 1911 and 1916 as well as their records in Canadian passenger lists and furthermore in the English Census records where I was able to make an educated guess as to their parents and siblings.

On 26 Mar 1912 Sophia married James Washington Johnston (1876-1967) and would have three sons: James Henderson Johnston (1913-1981), Ernest John Johnston (1915-2001), and William George Washington Johnston (1917-1944). Ruth wrote of her mother’s hardships in her 1983 essay entitled “The James Washington Johnston Place.”

Sophie remained ambitious for the welfare of Riverside Farm as she and James worked hard throughout the pioneer years. She has no running water or electrical power to help her. She often needed medical attention which she could not readily get. Much of her brave spirit faded through the years, but her sense of humour never wavered. Her hearty laugh is something Ruth tenderly remembers. As Ruth grew older, she realized that some of her mother had truly gone with her father, when he was laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery, Dauphin, Manitoba. But Sophie was always loyal to James, and appreciated his outstanding good qualities of good nature and kindness, and his very clever hands, which could build almost anything and “fix” everything.

After the second world war, Riverside Farm was passed down to the eldest Johnston son, James Henderson, while Sophia and her husband, James Washington, retired to Dauphin. Sophia passed away on 21 Apr 1959 while her husband James passed away eight years later in 1967.