Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ida Draper

On our way up to Bon Echo, we stopped at the tourism office in Gravenhurst, and then over to the neighbouring Bethel cemetery to do a geocache. This stone caught my eye.  Ida May Keeler was born in Vaughan, Ontario about 1875 and married Richard P Draper on Oct 1 1895 in Orillia, Ontario.  She was living in Rama at the time and Richard was living in Morrison. (1)  Her parents were Alfred and Harriet and in 1891 she lived with her parents and siblings Frederick, Lottie, William, Margaret, Edward and Eva on a farm in Rama. (2)
Ida May Draper died March 19, 1905 of an epileptic fit an at the time of her death she lived on Grand Rd in Morrison Township. (3)
In 1901, Ida and Richard are living with Richard's mother Sophia. Richard is a saw mill labourer and they have three children: Charlie (3), Percy (8mths), and Gordon (2 mths).  (4) The ages in the census for the kids don't quite make sense so I turned to their birth registrations.

Charles Noble Edgar Draper was born Oct 6, 1897. (5)
William Perry Asahel Draper was born June 11 1899. (6)
Gordon Alfred Draper was born Jan 25, 1901. (7)
Poor Gordon died a few months later on June 28 of convulsions (8)
 I didn't look further into Charlie and Perry but I can see that they both served in WWI and  went on to marry.

Richard didn't stay a widower for long.  He married Catherine Brady (nee Cody) a 30 year old widower who was born in Philedelphia on Jan 31, 1906. (9) They had their first child Donald on May 22, 1907.  In this record, Catherine is named Jessie.  They were living in Severn Bridge, Morrison Township. (10)

Richard and Jessie went on to have sons William, Harold, and David.  All 7 boys lived with their Richard and Jessie (Josephine) in Robillard, Temiskaming, Ontario in 1921. (11)


Monday, September 4, 2017

Horst L Schab

John and I did a geocache up in Northern Flamborough and we came across a well maintained cemetery behind a very well maintained church (Bethel Memorial Chapel) .
  A few stones of course caught my eye, this one in particular, because of his uniquely German name and the fact that he died in a plane crash a long way from Flamborough.
  I did a quick google search and came up with a little information.
Captain Horst Lothar, originally from Weingerten, Germany(1) died when a DC3 operated by Air Gaspe crashed into a tree in the mountains and burned while on final instrument approach to Rimouski airport.  It was a non-scheduled passenger flight and the single passenger and 3 crew members all died. (2) (3)
  Horst had moved to Gaspe just prior to the crash.  Among the dead were the 21 year old co-pilot N.G. Cunning of Halimand, Quebec, 25 year old flight attendant named Roger Doucet of Bathurst, N.B, and a 24 year old passenger named Emery Gaul. The plane was flying about 170 km from Gaspe to Mont Joli but at 2:10 PM, Horst radioed that he could not land in Mont Joli due to fog and would instead go to Rimouski. (4)

(1) (4) The Ottawa Journal, May 30, 1973. Page 36.

1884 Smallpox outbreak in Stoco - The McDonalds

On our way home from Bon Echo, we did a very neat geocache in the Bethel cemetery. in Thomasburg, Ontario.  John decided to walk around the cemetery and pick a stone for me to research. This one peaked his interest because they died on the same day:

Thomas Nelson McDonald was born in Huntingdon Township, Canada West on Nov 22, 1857 to parents John and Jane.  He was baptized by a Wesleyan Methodist preacher on Dec 14, 1860. (1)
According to the 1881 census, he was of Irish decent and living in Hungerford with his parents and 5 siblings.  In this census record is father, a farmer, is named Nelson. (2)  According to the Hungerford directory, Noble and Nelson were yeoman living at 8th Concession, Part Lot 16 in the village of Stoco. (3)
I found Thomas' death registration fairly quickly but I searched for quite awhile and couldn't find one for Jane.  I then tried to find their marriage record but no luck there either....  It suddenly occurred to me that they might in fact be siblings. I knew from the census that he had a sister named Jane.  More searches turned up Jannie's marriage record.  She married Charles Dunn in April 1882, and Thomas was a witness. (4)
Sadly,  it seems that Thomas and Jane both died of smallpox.  In Thomas' death registration, he died Dec 15 not 14th as transcribed on his stone.  The death registration also showed that several people died of smallpox that fall/winter.  I did a google search of Stoco and as I suspected, the village fell victim to a smallpox epidemic in 1884, which killed about 67 people. (5)  From an ancestry board post, a plaque was erected to commemorate this tragedy but a list of names provided from some death registration research did not mention Jane either. (6)  It appears that the epidemic in the Hungerford area was the result of a harvest worker, Jerry Lerange (from Lower Canada) (7) bringing the disease to the area, falling ill, and infecting the family he  was staying with. Relatives came to take care of the family, which further spread the disease.  The outbreak prompted a fumigation, mass vaccination, and isolation, by the newly formed Provincial Health Board.  People trying to escape the village were turned away from neighbouring communities.  All of these measures prevented the spread of the disease to other areas. (8) (9) (10).
  I am really curious to know more about Jane Ann.....  I think I'll see if I can read some papers from the time period to see if they perhaps printed the names of those who died....


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Rachel Victoria Hull

On the way home from Collingwood, John and I stopped at a cemetery that I've driven by lots of times but never visited.  St George's Anglican Cemetery is hidden behind St George's Anglican Church. We walked around and a couple of stones caught my eye.  This one in particular because she died so young.
I did a quick google search on Rachel and her marriage announcement was published in the Burlington Post on 23 January 1907 so she was still pretty newly married when she died.(1)  My first thought is always that women this young and newly married die in child birth so off I went to look on Ancestry.
  I found their marriage record fairly quickly.  Charles, a 35 year old bachelor, born in Nelson to parents Margaret Emerson and John Small married Rachel Victoria Hull, aged 27 on 16 January 1907.  Rachel was also born in Nelson (present day Burlington) to parents Albert and Catharine McDavid.(2)
  Next I uncovered her death registration and it seems that I was wrong again.  Rachel died of acute nephritis on 17 August 1907, after suffering for 4 days.(3)  Acute nephritis is an inflation of the kidneys. (4)  At the time of her death, Rachel and Charles were farming in East Flamborough.
 It looks like Charles never remarried, he died May 3, 1956 and he was buried with his sister (Cathrine) and her husband (John McConnell) in Carlisle United Cemetery.(5)


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Veterans Guard of Canada (work in progress)

John and I took a trip out to Algonquin and stopped in Orillia.  We did a geocache near Saint Michael's cemetery and decided to walk around and read the stones.  This military one caught my eye as did the inscription V.G.of.C

We couldn't figure out what this meant.  After a google search we discovered it was the Veterans Guard of Canada.  A quick google search of Edmund didn't yield any results so I decided to dig deeper.
The Veterans Guard of Canada was formed under the name Veteran's Home Guard in 1939 and was created as a way to allow WWI veterans to enlist and represent Canada during WWII.  The V.G.of.C was initially created to guard the home front and also Canadian internment camps.  It was made of up active recruits and reserves. (1)
 I looked up Edmund on Ancestry.  He shares the same name as both a Lt-Col in the army as well as King Edmund II Ironside.

I was able to locate his WWII service file fairly quickly (2)  According to this record, Edmund Clifford Ironside was born 7 Aug 1894  in Orillia and was to married to Edith G on 1 May 1945 in Toronto, Ontario.  His father was recorded as Edmund C Ironside.  At the time of his death, Edith aged 45 was living with her children Kathleen M, aged 22, George Cameron , aged 20, Clifford E., aged 18, Robert M, aged 17, and William G, aged 16 at 80 Dunlop St, Orillia.  Edmund died of hypertensive heart disease generalized arteriosclerosis (with athermomatous degeneration) on 4 Nov 1945.  While he died in service, his death was not a result of his military service. His regiment was B-18165 and his ID was 453688 58th Bn.
  I found his marriage record next which revealed a couple of differences.  Edmund Clifford Ironsides (not Ironside), a salesman married Edith Georgina Grey, a stereographer on 1 May 1926 (not 1925). His father was William  Ironsides (not Edmund) and his mother was Margaret Teresa O'Connor. (3)
  Clifford Edmund Ironsides served in WWI with the 58th battalion.  His birthdate appears as 7 Aug 1891 not 1894, which would put him at 17 when he attested in Niagara not in Simcoe, on 15 Aug  1915.  It looks like he was determined to enlist...  Despite the fact that his name appears as Ironsides, as does his father, Edmund signs the papers Ironside.
  His brother George Franklin, who was living (and probably working as a bookkeeper) at the Fulton Hotel, in Seattle Washington attested on 9 July 1915.  (5)  His older brother Robert Kenneth was attested on 15 Feb 1916. (6).  Another older brother Joseph Leslie attested on 7 May 1918. (7)
  As is always the case, sideways searches uncover other interesting stories. His brother Robert was a gunner during the war and survived, only to be murdered in a powerhouse in Swift Rapids on my birthday (March 6) in 1920. (8)
  I came across a newspaper article that provides a bit of insight into what happened to Robert.  Many years after the murder, Robert's rifle was discovered at the bottom of the Severn River.  According to this article, Robert was shot while sleeping in a rest room by someone with his own rifle, which was removed from his room.  It seems that Robert survived the gunshot only to die the next day, but not before he identified his assaliant - his co worker Fred Gilbert.  Fred was arrested on circumstantial evidence and was acquitted in February 1921, after spending almost a year in jail.  Unfortunately, I can't date this article, as I cannot see the top of the newspaper page.  I was able to find a much more recent article in the Orillia Packet which talks a bit about Robert.  George Page Jr, was talking about his father George Page Sr who is the man that Robert called for help.  His dying words were that "Wagner" had shot him.  By the time George arrived, Robert was either dead or nearly dead..  (10)

(2) Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Canada; Service Files of the Second World War - War Dead, 1939-1947; Series: RG 24; Volume: 26173
(4) (5) (6) (7) "Soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918)." Record Group 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4930 - 35. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

John Hosea Mead - work in progress

I ran the Niagara International 5k this weekend with some other ladies and we all decided to walk through the Drummondhill Cemetary in historic Lundy's Lane. It was nice to be with people who share my interest and fascination in old cemeteries. We weren't there long, but long enough for me to discover a few people that I wanted to get to know better. The first stone that caught my eye was for 11-year-old John Hosea Mead, only son of Hosea and Lucy Mead. A few things interested me about John: his unique middle name, the fact that the stone seems to show that he was born in 1811 in the USA, died in 1852, and that was 11 years old when he died. The numbers don't add up. It is however very possible that the 4 in 1841 has faded on the stone.
The first thing I did was look up exactly where Clyde, Wayne County, New York is located geographically. According to Wikipedia, it is a small village in the Town of Galen and between Rochester and Syracuse.(1) Quite a distance from Niagara Falls. I did some google searches for John and didn't come up with a lot, other than pictures of his stone.
 I decided to search Ancestry for his parents in the 1851 census and didn't have any luck there either.
 According to the Niagara Falls Public Library, the Welland Tribune contained news for Chippawa and Drummondville area. (2) The Welland Public Library does have an index of records, but only from 1872. (3) I contacted the Niagara Falls Public Library to see if they can help me determine if they had a microfilmed version of the 1852 newspaper that would have serviced the area. The librarian was only aware of newspapaers that dated back to 1872. I explained that there were a number of papers prior to that in the Niagara Falls area and sent her the LAC link for their own reference!

  I poked around the 1851 Census but I can't seem to find the family yet so I decided to work back and focus on Clyde. I found a couple of things. From the Fulton Postcards website (awesome website btw) I discovered an announcement to dissolve the co-partnership between Hosea Mead and William C. Ely, dated Nov 8, 1845. It appears that they had some sort of stand where they sold goods. William was going to continue to sell goods "a little cheaper than they can be bought in this place hopes to receive, as heretofore a large share of public patronage." (4) The announcement appeared in the Clyde New York Eagle. I then found an obituary for who I can only assume is Hosea Sr. He died in Clyde on Wednesday, Aug 11, 1847. This announcement appeared in the Geneva Gazette. (5) Further research uncovered a cause of death (Palsy) and that he was 34 when he died. (6) Poor Lucy lost her husband and son within 5 years of each other.
  Armed with this new information, I returned to the 1851 Census and searched instead for Lucy. I found Lucey Mead immediately in the Census for the Village of Chippawa. I found her, with her children Caroline, aged 13 and John, aged 11. She was turning 34 on her next birthday. All three were born in the United States and were Presbyterian. (7) This at least tells me that John was born in 1841. The stone must be incorrect or the 4 too faded to properly read.
  I looked for Lucy in the 1861 census without luck. Rather than leave the grave of her only son I suspect that she remarried. I tried to search for Caroline in the 1861 census to see if she might be living with her mom and a new husband but no luck there either.
  Determined to not give up, I've started to research the history of the Drummond Hill Cemetery to see if I can find information about someone who might have already done some research about the people buried in the cemetery. I may have found something that will help. Apparently William C. Dalton, the Sexton of the cemeteries kept a journal of the burials with some interesting background on the deceased. (8) So, I contacted the Niagara Falls Public Library and asked if they could look at the journal and let me know if there is mention of John. Cathy got back to me pretty quickly.  She provided me with a link to the Niagara Falls Cemetery website.  From this link, I discovered that John was buried the day after he died and  it provided me with the plot location, but not much else.  A few hours later, she sent me a couple of scanned images of information about John.  One from was the book "Historic Drummond Hill Cemetery transcriptions", which also noted that this date of birth was 1811. The other was an image from Dalton's book. The scan was a typewritten copy and provided disappointingly little information.  The image has three columns of information without a header.  The first column seems to be the burial date, the second column is the name of the deceased (John Mede) and the last column is the age of the deceased.  In this case, John is recorded at 15 years....,   I would like to see a copy of the original journal entry instead of a typewritten index...  

7. 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Year: 1851; Census Place: Chippawa, Welland County, Canada West (Ontario); Schedule: A; Roll: C_11757; Page: 31; Line: 7

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The DesJardins Canal Catastrophe

  I've lived almost my entire life in Burlington and Oaville, Ontario and I've never heard about the DesJardins Canal Catastrophe.  I was in one of the older cemeteries in Oakville (St Marys) over the weekend whose claim to fame is Chisholm family plot,  Colonel William Chisholm being the founder of Oakville. 
  My research for a fellow genealogist from Michigan took me to the Husband family plot surrounded by the Chisholms but a different stone is what caught my eye.  It lay broken in three pieces in the ground under a tree and not really close to other stones.  It read ".... of Michael and Rose who were killed at [the] DesJardin Canal Catastrophe March 12 1857".  It was a memorial for two sisters, Mary Devine, aged 15 and Ellen Devine aged 20.  I decided to dig a bit further and discovered that one of my favorite places in Burlington was the scene of a rail disaster.  The Great Western Railway company built a railway swing bridge 40 feet above the DesJardins Canal near Cootes Paradise. On March 12, 1857, the front axle of a passenger train broke as it approached the bridge. As a result, the train jumped the tracks, crashed through the bridge, and fell through 2 feet of frozen canal, destroying the engine and submerging the two passenger cars.  The second passenger car apparently landed on it's front end, sticking up out of the water.  Mary and Ellen were on their way to see their brother in Hamilton and various newspaper report state they were from Port Nelson, now Burlington.  Mary and Ellen died together and did not appear to have been thrown apart as many families riding the train had.  Their brother instead of picking them up at the nearby station, ended up identifying their bodies. Poor sisters and poor family.  What a tragic way to end young lives.

While many died gruesome deaths, there were also a few miraculous survivals. I've found a number of websites about this disaster the last one including accounts of the rescues:

The Sarnia Observer, March 19, 1857 (full newspaper text online):,107185

Full details of the railway disaster of the 12th of March 1857 at the DesJardins Canal of the line on the Great Western Railroad:

The DesJardins Canal Disaster on the Hamilton Public Library website: