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JAMES STEWART – His History

His Life

From Ontario To British Columbia 

James Stewart Hedley, B.C. c1915

  

James Stewart was a broad-shouldered stocky man, who lived a life that embraced possibilities and adventures. Born to William Stewart and Mary Loftus in West Flamboro, Wentworth Co., Ontario and baptized on Jan. 6, 1847. James was their first son as a couple but not the first child to the household. Mary Loftus had been married previous to Felix McGowan, and they had three children. As well as three McGowan siblings, on the Stewart side three more brothers and two sisters joined the family for a total of 9 children.

William Stewart was Presbyterian and Mary his wife Catholic; all the children are raised Catholic, which caused some issues in the family according to stories told by a cousin. That’s a story for another day!

The 1861 census reveals that the family had relocated to Normanby Twp., Grey Co., Ontario. Normanby will be home to James for the next 40 years.

At the age of 28 James married Mary Curran, who was living with her parents Edward & Jeanette in Normanby. Together they bought 100 acres on Con 3 Lot 32 and farmed the land.

Mary died after eight years of marriage and is buried in Mount Forest, Wellington Co., in her parent’s plot. They did not have any children, and James must have felt the loss deeply as he did not marry again.

James and his mother Mary, both widowed are living together in the 1891 census for Normanby, James is still farming the land. He must have been ready for a change though.

Around 1902 James left his farm, friends and all that was familiar joining many gold seekers heading west. His first stop on his journey was Fairview, B.C.  and while there he was joined by his sister’s adopted son James Cody. James Stewart opened a store in Fairview, and his nephew worked with him.

 

Plaque at the Hedley Museum

 

1906 finds both the James have relocated to Hedley, BC., a mining town. Gold was found close to Hedley in 1898 at Nickel Plate Mountain. 1903 saw a flurry of activity with men digging tunnels in the mountain. At its peak, the population of Hedley was 1,000 people but in 1915 it was in decline as there were under 400 people calling it home.

In Hedley, James was a setter at the diamond drill camp as well he owned a general store.

Here are two of the of ads that I found in the Hedley Gazette which was the local paper that was in publication from 1905-1917.

STEWART Jan 28 1915

Hedley Gazette

Hedley Gazette

Hedley Gazette

The newspaper was one of the best sources of information about James and his life in BC. For instance, I learned that in 1915 had him installing a new floor and shelves in a store upgrade,  as well James regularly gave to the Patriotic Fund to support troops in WWI. There were trials as well, in 1909 he had a small roof fire that was quickly spotted and extinguished thankfully, and in 1916 $12.00 stolen from the till in his store. James’ nephew, James Cody left for Vancouver, B.C. to fix his varicose veins and after went to Helena, Montana to visit family. He wrote back to his uncle and is noted by the newspaper. James lived an active life at the age of 67 years old he was still working at the diamond drill camp. He was injured when sitting on the edge of a tram car when the cables switched, and he was “sent spinning on the track.” Thankfully both James’ recovered from their conditions.

I was also able to learn about other family members from the newspaper. In 1914, it was reported that James’ sister Margaret Cody is traveling to see her son (and brother). After her visit she is heading to Yorkton, Saskatchewan to visit another brother. I love small town newspapers!

Reading through the columns of the paper life in Hedley was relatively normal for the times. The community hosted gatherings; there were women’s groups and dances.

James was far from most of his family in a time when communication was not easy or fast. I am sure he had great friends and enjoyed his life in Hedley. James lived in Hedley until his death that took place at the hospital in the nearby community of Princeton, Jan 23, 1921, at the age of 74 years. Hedley at this time was in decline. According to the papers filed with his estate due to the closing of the mine at Hedley and the general business depression James’ estate owed money. He had property in Hedley and also in Fairview, B.C., which at this time had become a ghost town. His property was not worth very much and the administrator of his estate was having a hard time selling it. James Cody offered to buy one of his lots in Hedley for $250.00.

In 2015, a descendant of James’ brother, David Stewart made the journey to Hedley. Mary Stewart traveled over 11 hours to see the community and learn more about his life. It was a memorable trip and incredible to see where James called home. The fact that the miners lived at the top of the mountain and had a community there was jaw-dropping to see first hand.

James didn’t leave any direct descendants, but we his family remember him and his exciting life. He endured loss and day-to-day struggles but continued to adventure on and explore new horizons.

My fingers highlight the camp location.

My fingers highlight the camp location.

Mary pointing to the camp at on the Nickel plate Mountain

Mary pointing to the camp on the Nickel Plate Mountain

 
Patricia & Mary in Hedley with the Nickel Plate Mountain in the background.

Patricia & Mary in Hedley with the Nickel Plate Mountain in the background.

Mary (Stewart) Dever at the Hedley Cemetery, Hedley, B.C. June 2015. In Memory of James Stewart 1849-1921 May His Soul Rest In Peace

Mary (Stewart) Dever at the Hedley Cemetery, Hedley, B.C. June 2015.
In Memory of James Stewart
1849-1921
May His Soul Rest In Peace

SOURCES

1852 census West Flamboro, Wentworth Co., Ontario; William Stewart; Family Search index https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MWT2-XMG

1861 census Normanby, Grey Co., Ontario; Family Search Index https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MQ78-K1T

1891 census Normanby, Grey Co., Ontario; Family Search Index https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MWLM-6CT

Hedley Heritage Museum, Tenacity, the Story of Hedley, Then and Today- http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_memories/pm_v2.php?id=story_line&lg=English&fl=0&ex=00000834&sl=9272&pos=1

Penticton News, Hedley Boys http://www.castanet.net/news/Penticton/119516/The-WWI-Hedley-Boys

Hedley Museum –  http://hedleybc.ca/go-to/hedley-heritage-museum/

Princeton & District Museum & Archives – http://www.princetonmuseum.org/Princeton_Museum/Home.html

Fairview, B.C. information keep at the Oliver Archives – http://www.oliverheritage.ca/

Hedley Newspaper available on-line and ran from 1905-1917 http://historicalnewspapers.library.ubc.ca/info/collection/hedley

Royal BC Museum which has b/m/d records for British Columbia http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/BasicSearch

History of Fairview, B.C. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairview,_British_Columbia

Photo of James Stewart is a copy of a tintype that was owned by Mary McIntee. Mary McIntee’s obituary http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/statesmanjournal/obituary.aspx?pid=172811956

From the Letters of Administration –

At the time of his death James owned Lot 3 Block 24 Map 107 Hedley; N1/2 Lot 12 Block 4 Map 27 Ellis Subdivision Fairview & Lots 10,11,17 & 20 Block 4 Map 27 Ellis Addition Town of Fairview;  Lot 18 Block 24 D.L.’s 1975 & 1976 Group 1, Similkameen Division, Yale District Map 107 – James Cody to purchase for $250.00.

A New Adventure – Genealogy Summer Camp

I live in a fairly remote location and do not often get any Archives to do hands-on research. This has led me to hiring researchers but I confess this doesn’t give me the same sense of satisfaction as digging through and locating records myself. I love that feeling euphoria when I find a record that mentions my ancestors.

I am thrilled that I will be heading out this weekend to Toronto and take part in their Genealogy Summer Camp!

There has been some prep to the trip. We had to fill out a questionnaire about our ancestor and what information we were looking for.

We also had to decide which religious archives we wanted to go to. I picked the United Church Archives, although I do have some Catholic relatives as well.

We received our itinerary yesterday and I was delighted to read how well organized our days will be.

I am hoping to get familiar with the repositories as I plan to be back in 2016 for the OGS Conference that will be in Toronto. Now if only Ottawa branch would offer a camp as well!

Doing the Do-Over

It is kinda like doing the hockey-pokey. I feel like I am dancing a jig as I move at a turtles pace through the process.

I had been planning to rework my tree for some time and the Do-Over fit into my life perfectly. After working at the local archives for a year and a half I knew that I had to do something better. Not to say that I hadn’t been good. I had, but after moving twice and having two more kids the genealogy papers were in storage for a few years. Space was a huge issue. I didn’t stop researching, though I felt like a collector. It is time to put it all together in a consist manner.

I have been scanning and entering information for days. It feels like forever but it hasn’t been that long. I am actually enjoying going through my files and ‘finding’ things that have been tucked away for too long. I have not properly analyzed most of the papers that have been passed down from my grandmother.

Right now my new tree doesn’t have 20 people on it. I refuse to add to it until I have done all the steps on the people I have entered so far. I do not enjoy this as much as the hunt but the detective in me comes out when I see the overlooked data contained in a letter or a postcard. It is not a huge things but interesting tidbits, for example, my dad left Berkley, Detroit with his family and moved back to Montreal. I now have a window of months when that occurred. That kind of information helps me to start putting more detail on my family.

I still am struggling with source citation and making it just so, but I will not give up! I am reading when I get a chance and I thank everyone out there who is sharing their ideas, methods, successes and failures for me and others to learn from. It is a great community of people that is slvery willing to share their process and knowledge. 

I don’t know how long I will be at this. It could take me a year or two to get what I have recorded properly. I will continue to scan, cite and sort and in the end my computer, files and office will be conquered. I am thankful to be doing the hockey-pokey Do-Over and turning myself around!

Ribbon Against Domestic Violence.

Violence in 1840 – A Fearless Female

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out? Blog prompt from Lisa Alzo.

March 19, 1840 is the day my 41-year-old great, great grandmother Elizabeth Tipper laid charges against her attacker. Her attacker was a 5’7” dark-complected man who physically attacked and threatened her life.

March 19, 2015 marks 175 years since that day. The harsh reality of discovering this information was a shock; I had no idea of the horrors that her and her children went through. You see her attacker was her husband. Domestic violence is in my family tree.

I am not sure how often women had the confidence to stand up to their husbands in 1840 or are listened to; Elizabeth did just that. They listened

Elizabeth & Robert Jeffrey married in St. Andrew’s Church, on February 2, 1818 in Quebec City. Robert was a Scottish immigrant to Canada, a stone mason by trade. Children started arriving soon after, first a son John and then daughter Mary both born in Montreal. Mary died the following year, but children continued to arrive until Elizabeth had given birth to nine, with six surviving infancy. Being a Mason, Robert and his family went where there was work, Montreal back to Quebec City and in 1832, St. Etienne de Beauce. Robert signed a contract to build a mill for George Pozer. This answers the question, as to where my great grandmother received her name Hannah Pozer Jeffrey. With the building finished the family travelled back to Quebec City.

The evening of March 19th, 1840 was the last straw for Elizabeth. She took a step that she had avoided till now and went to the police filing a complaint. Was my great grandmother Hannah a witness to this? My daughter Jordan is eight, the same age Hannah was when the events unfolded. Did she hear her dad say to her mom, “…death was waiting for her…” How many times had she heard it before? What else had she witnessed her father do? Not being the first time that he had attacked her mother. According to the police report her father had “been in the frequent habit of beating and ill-using…” her mother.

Forgiveness granted, as is so often the case in domestic violence situations. Elizabeth is hoping that Robert is a changed man, and that bringing the charges against him worked, that he won’t do it again. She reconciled with Robert and their last child Julia Heathfield Jeffrey arrives in 1842. The story is not over though, Robert doesn’t change, things do not go well for Elizabeth.

Less than a year later she had him arrested again, and he served a month in prison this time.

Elizabeth finally stopped forgiving Robert in the 1851 census she is living with her daughter Elizabeth in Quebec City, and Robert’s gone. Elizabeth passes away two years later at the age of 54 “after a lingering illness of eight months, which she bore with becoming resignation”.

Quebec Mercury April 12, 1853

Quebec Mercury
April 12, 1853

Elizabeth (Tipper) Jeffrey, maybe one of my most Fearless Female. This white ribbon is for her.

ribbon_japan [Converted]

*I am very thankful to Elizabeth LaPointe for researching the prison records and to the BanQ Quebec Archives for their on-line databases but in this case specifically for Inmates in the Prison of Quebec 19th century.

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Mary Stewart's nursing graduation.

Working Woman – Fearless Female

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation. Blog prompt from Lisa Alzo.

My mother Mary Stewart was one of my first female ancestors to work outside of the home. She grew up on a farm by Albright, Alberta, and the closest town was Beaverlodge. She decided nursing would be the career for her, the closest training school was the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton which was 540 km away. This was not a small distance for someone who had experienced a very small school and hadn’t done much traveling. I asked her about it, this is what she told me

I trained for three years at the Misericordia School  of Nursing. We all lived in residence which was right beside the hospital. Across the alley directly behind us was the interns residence and beside that residence was the Crèche, where unwed mothers were lived and were cared for. Many of these girls were very young.  After their deliveries, some of the girls gave up their babies for adoption.

Sister St, Delphina was in charge of the student nurses. I think she was a very smart  nice person, but we had our regulations. During our first year we had to be in residence by 9:30 every night.

We were allowed a few 10:30 pm and something like  four 12:30 passes each month, the number of passes increased slightly each year as we got older.

After three years, we wrote our government exams and I went with my roommate Collette to work at the Blairmore hospital in the Crows Nest Pass in southern Alberta. It took what seemed a long time before our marks from our exams reached and for us to find out that we had both passed .

We returned to Edmonton in September (I think) for our graduation ceremonies. My mother came out to Edmonton to attend. It was all so impressive to me. The graduation ceremony was at the McDonald Hotel.

A few years ago while I was in Edmonton my friend and classmate, Terri Ellis and I went there to have lunch and catch up. It is a very grand place.

I do know that my mom went on to nurse in Detroit, Michigan after she was married. Later the family moved back to Montreal (1971) and she taught at the preschool I attended.

In Rosemere Quebec, I worked with Binny Goldman at the Rosemere Cooperative Nursery School  Which I think she started and was very sought after place for people to enroll their preschoolers.  I initiated a little gym program for the children which seemed to go over quite well. I believe I worked there for three years before moving out to Alberta.

In 1981, we moved back to Alberta, very close to the place where my mom had grown up. Mom had to go back to school, redoing some courses so she could again nurse in Alberta. She returned to nursing as a VON and later worked at the Hythe Hospital, retiring a few years ago.

How Did They Meet – Fearless Female

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

I have no idea how my grandparents met, I wish I did.

As far as how my parents met, my dad and mom both attended a party. I think they really hit if off and started dating after that. My mom was nursing in Ontario and dad was working in Detroit. They had mutual friends that invited them both to the same party.