It’s Not All Unicorns and Rainbows in Newspapers

A new favorite site of mine is Chronicling America a historic newspaper site. I may be a little late to the party on this but wow, I am impressed. The site offers a huge collection of newspapers covering most of the states in the US from 1789-1924.

I do not have a lot of USA research, but there is the odd family I keep my eyes out for. A branch of my mother’s family the Stewarts left Grey Co., Ontario and moved to Manannah, Meeker Co., Minnesota. They were not the only ones to make this move, other surnames that were in both Normanby, Grey Co., Ontario and then neighbours in Manannah were the Garvey, Ryan, Gibney, Cody, McIntee families and a few others.

Margaret Stewart with her husband Michael Cody joined the exodus and you can find them on the 1897 map of Manannah in Eden Valley. The map on the Historic Map Works site also shows the land owners names right on their plot of land, you can easily see all the other families close by. And one of the reasons I was fooled about when Michael Cody died, his name is on the map in 1897, I soon discovered he was not actually living there.

Margaret and Michael Cody (so I thought) left Manannah and make another move, this time to Montana. I lost track of them for a few years but find Margaret, a widow running a boarding house aptly called Cody House in Helena, Montana. A story surfaced from a relative that Michael her husband, died in a railway accident in the early 1900s and Margaret never remarried.

 

stewart-girls

Margaret (Stewart) Cody with her nieces who helped her run the boarding house Cody House in Helena, Montana.

 

I have always kept an eye out for Michael’s death to back up this tale, I was sure it would be in the newspapers if it was true. Yesterday, within five minutes of searching on Chronicling America, I found the proof. It seems Michael wasn’t actually working when he died but traveling to find work and according to the report was under the influence of liquor when he fell off of the train! The date of the newspaper is 1892, which means that on the Meeker Co.map he actually was not the landowner, he had been dead for five years.

The Livingston Enterprise March 19, 1892

Cody, Michael - The Livingston Enterprise Mar 19 1892  copy 2.jpg

Now I know what the truth of the incident, I am not surprised that it wasn’t completely accurate, it has been over 100 years! The article also mentions that they held an inquest in Bozeman, something  I will be investigating further.

As more and more newspapers are added on-line we will truly be able to discover the day-to-day lives of our ancestors. The good times, the maybe not so good, but life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows.

 

52 Ancestors – #5 James Raymond Stewart

James or Ray as he was known was born 1900 in Manannah Twp., Meeker Co., Minnesota. His father David first settled in the area as a young man and travelled north to Canada to marry Bridget McMahon who lived in the same community he had before leaving Ontario.

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James had quite a journey in store. He was the 7th child born to David and Mary and a few short months after his birth he travelled with his family to their new home in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. This journey today is 662 miles and takes about 10 hours, travel in 1900 would have taken quite a bit longer. Ray’s dad David was a farmer and his boys grew up knowing farm life.

At the Stewart farm in Yorkton, SK.

At the Stewart farm in Yorkton, SK.

Ray lost his mother when he was 12 which left his older sisters to care for him. Ray knew that having two older brothers he would have to make his own way, he adventured off to the Peace Country in Alberta and liked what he saw. This prompted him to file for a homestead, then travel back to Saskatchewan to gather up his meagre supplies. His goods arrived by train in 1927 and Beaverlodge was now home.

James Stewart  abt. 1920

James Stewart
abt. 1920

Same photo with some photo editing.

Same photo with editing.

Ray spent the rest of his life in the Beaverlodge area, where he raised a family and worked hard to provide for them. It wasn’t always easy, they lost their home to a fire and finances were always  struggle. He had a positive attitude and a generous heart. James died in 1990 surrounded by his family.

My children standing on the location of Ray Stewart's homestead.

My children standing on the location of Ray Stewart’s homestead.