Newsletter of the
ELGIN COUNTY BRANCH
ONTARIO GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
VOL. 2 ISSUE 3 SEPTEMBER 1983
From - Windsor Star, Windsor, Ontario - September 1932
“Windsor Centenarion Passes- Famed Family - May 27, 1832 - September 20, l932" Mrs. Susan Mathews, who died yesterday afternoon at the age of 100 years at 495 Oak Ave., Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Mrs. Mathews was of United Empire Loyalist stock and a member of a family that was active in the early history of Canada. Her father served with General Brock.
She lived under four Monarchs, born May 27, 1832 - five years before the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria. There was William IV - Queen Victoria, Edward VII - and King George V. She was thirty-five years old at the time of confederation. Mrs. Mathews was descendant of Anthony Sells a U.E.L. whose descendants gather for a reunion at Fingal, Ontario each Labor Day. Mrs. Mathews has not attended any of these reunions since 1929, however, in spite of her age - Mrs. Mathews took a keen interest in life until the very last. She had an excellent memory. She had been sick in bed for about six months. Monday evening she became ill with a slight cold and the end came rapidly. She died early yesterday afternoon.
Mrs. Mathews was born in Fingal, Ontario - near St. Thomas, a daughter of Joseph Spitler. She was married in Delaware, June 14, 1853 at the age of 21. For many years her husband Abram, operated a blacksmith shop near St. Thomasville. He died at the age of 86. They had 13 children. Mr. Mathews was born at Westminster, six miles from London, Ontario. The young couple cleared and developed, in what was still frontier territory, on a 100 acre farm, on which they spent the greater part of their lives. Their first son, Stephen was the first White Child born in that vicinity, then among the Indians. Stephen died in 1931 - at the age of 78. Mrs. Mathews attended his funeral. Mr. & Mrs. Mathews were among the first settlers in Middlesex County. Her
grandparents emigrated from Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War.
Note: There have been five members of this family live beyond the age of 100 years. the last member Wm. John Spitler died at the age 103 -in Lancaster, California, on April 22, 1981.
Special Thanks to Susan Christman #192 for sending the above article to us.
SECRET OF SYMBOL REVEALED?
London Free Press - St. Thomas Bureau - March 1982.
ST. THOMAS - The mystery of several unusual symbols which appeared on a number of
Elgin County headstones may be a bit closer to resolution.
The attention of Nessie Brown, 89, of Willowdale was recently drawn to a London Free Press story published Oct. 31 in which local historian Hugh Sims said he had long searched for the key to strange symbols on at least five Elgin County tombstones. A photograph featured the Mapleton cemetery headstone of Duncan Crane, the brother of Brown’s grandfather, Edwin Crane.
Duncan was a teacher and died in the winter of 1857 at the age of 24. On his headstone is the symbol of a circle, within which is carved an equilateral triangle bearing the words Love, Purity and Fidelity. Within the triangle is a star. The symbol has been found on only five headstones in the county.
According to Nessie Brown, the symbol is that of a lodge called the Good Templars, an organization of which her mother, Laura, was a member. The circle represents life everlasting, the triangle is the holy trintiy and the star is the guiding star of Bethlehem.
A check with the Elgin County library office shows that a group known as the Order of Good Templars was formed in 1851 in Utica, N.Y. The aims of the group, which still exists, coincide with a wave of temperance fever which swept through this area during the mid-1880s.
The aims are to “liberate the peoples of the world to a richer, freer and more rewarding life.. .by personal abstinenance from alcohol and non-medical use of dependance creating drugs, set a good example, create sound living habits in the community and make way for an alcohol-free society.”
The group, now based in Hamburg, West Germany, goes farther than urging personal abstinence by lobbying for laws to fight sale of alcohol or drugs and by pushing for tougher sentences for drug and alcohol offences.
A Canadian branch also still exists.
Similar organizations known to have flourished in Elgin Communities in the 1850s and
1860s included the Sons of Temperance and the Royal Templars.
Brown says her grandparents moved from Mapleton to the nearby village of Temperanceville - a name, it turns out, which was more wishful thinking than fact and was change to Orwell.
“It had two well-established hotels,” she says, noting that her grandfather owned an oyster saloon - an explanation why his headstone didn’t carry the same symbol as Duncan’s - and a match factory, as well as a part-interest in a sawmill. The one question to arise from this explanation is the reason for the presence of the symbol on the headstone of a young Union boy, David Eveland, who died about the same time as Crane. It may never by answered.
Elgin Branch Members may have two (2) queries published free of charge in each newsletter. Non-members will be charged $3.00 per query per newsletter.
F.Y.I. - Commonly used short forms, please note, no periods.
c about (time)
STRINGER, Margaret b 1818 Southwold m 1835 Hiram MANN of Westminster, need Margaret’s parents & sibs. Info to #165 Mrs. Valerie Fraser, RRl, Frankford, ON K0K 2C0
LYONS, John C. Any info on this early settler in the Springfield area c 1850. #187 Mr. James Lyons, 3302 Spruce Ave., Burlington, ON L7N 1J4
CORSON, Daniel, b 1763 Sussex Co., N.J.(?) m Rebecca LAWRASON - when & where d Feb. 19, 1849, Brantford, Ont. ch Esther, Mercy, Robert, b Sept. 12, 1793, Lawrence b 1795, Daniel Jr., John b 1800, could be others. Info to #159 Mrs. Lily Corson, P.O. Box 41, Plenty, Sask. S0L 2R0
OKE, (OAK), Thomas b 1819 Devon, England m Eleanor FISHLEIGH b 1817, d 1859 came to Canada 1857 ch Samuel b 1844, Walter b 1853, Francis b 1846, Elizabeth b 1850, John b 1855, Mary b 1858, Jane b 1859. Settled near Sparta. Info required on any descendants.
OKE (OAK), William, b 1827 of Devon cam to Canada c 1868 m Mary b 1831 ch Harriett b 1851, Nancy Jane b 1853, Fanny b 1853, John, b 1858, Elizabeth b 1860, Susanna b 1865, Edward b 1867, Bertha b 1870: Any info on any descendants to #199 Ms. Audrey Waine, 305 Hendon Ave., Willowdale, ON M2M 1B3
PURCELL, Robert b Argyleshire, Scotland (1811-1890) m Mary Bannatyne (1820-1900) Settled in Middlesex and later Lambton County. Ch Hector, John, Robert, Archibald, Margaret, Mary.
PURCELL, John b Argyleshire, Scotland (1788-1859) m (1) Florie, (2) Ann bd Wardsville Cemetery. Son Archibald (1814-1898) m Catherine McLean bd. Rodney Cemetery. Ch. John, Hector, Mary, Archibald, Dugald, Daniel, Colin, Flora.
How are above two families related? Parish in Argyleshire? Any information appreciated by #177 Mary J. Milner, 1195 Newell St., Sarnia, ON N7V 3H9
BISHOP, Hannah b July 7, 1828, Port Neuf, Que. m John Brown b 1828 Scotland.
Ch. James D. (1846), George W. (1852), Charles P. (1850) Elizabeth D. (1858),
Cecelia H. (1861), Anna L. (1869). Any info on above or descendants to Mrs.
Shirley Spilsbury, 63 Gladys Rd., West Hill, ON MlC 1C7
BLACKBURN, John Martin, m Susan Cooper in Bayham Twp Dec 30, 1857 Rev. John Javiel Methodist minister by license. Ch John Josiah and Harriett Smith. Info required where b bd cemetery, also prts of John Blackburn and Susan Cooper and desc.
DAY Samuel & dau Sarah b c 1815 m Anthony Blackburn of Kent County c 1831-2, d May 29, 1872, bd Arnold Cemetery Chatham twp. Info required on Samuel Day, his prts and also ch and desc. Info to #56 Mrs. Harold R. Davis, RR 1, Belmont, ON N0L lB0
TAYLOR, Thos. b c 1804 d c 1844 Eng m c 183+ Mary , b c 18.. Eng d c 187+ Stratford,
Ontario Ch Geo b c 1836 Launceston, Cornwall, Eng., d Mar 9, 1901, St. Thomas m
Dec 25, 1866, Rebecca McClelland; Selena b c 1838 St. Austel, Cornwall m 186+
Fred Champion; Susan b c 183+ m 18..? Hooper; Sophia b c 1833 m 18.. Woolley;
Mary bap Dec 27, 1835 St. Austell.
TAYLOR, Mary? (Widow) m 2nd 1844/48 Wm Metherel shown Stratford land recs 1848
ch 1861 census Geo. & Danl Taylor, Mary & Richard Metherell same household.
McCLELLAND, John b 1797 So Ireland d 1853 Beverly m Mary Flewellyn b c 1813 So
Ireland d 1851 Bevery ch John b 1840 d 1900, Jas Barrie b 1848, Sarah b 1851 m
Sanford Munson, Margaret b c 1836 d 1902 m c 1863, John Robb; Rebecca b 1846
Beverly/Dumfries Wentworth Co. m Geo Taylor. Need info on Metherells; prts &
sisters Geo. Taylor; prts & siblings Rebecca McClelland; to Dorothy M. Carter
207-1225 Nelson St., Vancouver, BC V6E 1J5
S.A.E. - When asking a reply from an individual member, please remember a self-addressed stamped envelope.
NOTE TO U.S. MEMBERS that the bank charges us $1.00 for handling of U.S. cheques. Cheques under $5.00 must include $1.00 for bank charges.
JUNE MEETING - At 5:30, on June 8, 1983 we ate our lunch on the lawn of Mr. Bill Clark. Mr. Clark is the Secretary-Treasurer of Union Cemetery Board, and his property adjoins the cemetery. We had a good turnout and the group worked transcribing stones until it was too dark to see. Mr. Clark invited the group to his home for coffee and he had maps, records and burial permits available for us to view. No one could ask for more help and co-operation than we received from Mr. Clark. Mr. Clark even helped probe for stones. One of the finds was a stone with a shield and crossed hands, it was completely buried and had the following inscription- “In Memory of/ Henry Derhan/ Who Died/ (In scroll with leaves on either side) June 8, 1881/aged 37 years/ & 3 mo’s” This was especially significant as his death occurred 102 years ago to the day.
SEPTEMBER MEETING - to be a beginners’ night to start out a new season. We will also hear a brief account from Wayne Gliddon (project manager) representing the students hired for cemetery transcription and indexing under the Summer Canada Student Employment Program. He will report on the work completed.
DECEMBER MEETING - Our Annual Meeting with election of officers - and our Annual Christmas Pot Luck (? more like Feast) Dinner.
Later this year it is hoped that Arnold Nethercott will be free to speak to us about the United Empire Loyalists, and also “Monuments & Tombstones’.’ He has a short film as well about the Terry Fox Monument.
Our Meetings are held the second Wednesday of the month at the Resource Centre of the Central Elgin Collegiate Institute on Chestnut Street, in St. Thomas.
CONGRATULATIONS to Tony Hofstee for applying for the Summer Canada Student Employment Program Grant. Tony hired the students and worked with them all summer on this project. Without his foresight and hard work, this work on the cemeteries would not have been accomplished for some time.
THANKS to the cemetery committees who have been doing a fabulous job. They have been working hard over the summer and special mention must go to Lloyd and Norma Smith. Marg Daugharty, Ruth Marr, Helen Pincombe, Brenda Edmonds and Tony Hofstee. Thank you for sticking with it, even through a very HOT summer.
AQUISITIONS FOR OUR LIBRARY
1. ELGIN COUNTY CHEESE FACTORY, Sparta - List of Patrons 1901 - 1907. - obtained by Mrs. Norma Smith (Photocopies of pages from original ledger available)
2. Branch Newsletters, Lost in Canada, Norfolklore, Cornish American.
3. Family Group sheets
4. Annie Amelia Backus 1856-1938 Doctor of Aylmer West by William G. Stewart
“WE ARE NOT DEAD, BUT WORKING HERE.”
The most common question asked students in September is "Well, what did YOU do this summer” After hearing previous accounts of ditch digging and dog washing, imagine the looks we will get when we tell them exactly what we did. Imagine, if you will, six young adults let loose of the bonds of higher education to let their spirits run free in the cemeteries of Elgin County.
The Elgin County Branch of the O.G.S. has been the recipient of a Summer Canada Project grant to transcribe the cemeteries of Bayham, Malahide, Southwold and Yarmouth Townships. Of the 100 applications six lucky souls were eventually hired: Wayne Gliddon, Anne Daugharty, Alexandra Ker, Raymond Pennings, Kim Pook and Anne Williams all under the supervision of Tony Hofstee.
A typical day in the life of these restless souls begins with finding the fated cemetery. The feat was accomplished with varing degrees of success. Once there, we set about numbering and mapping the stones. Then, we transcribed them while working in two’s (for double checking). Later the transcripts were organized and typed in numerical and alphabetical order.
It may not sound exciting, but it was a lot of fun, mostly due to our own lively group.
Gone But Not Forgotten, by Wayne Gliddon, Anne Williams, Alexandra Ker, Raymond Pennings, Kim Pook and Anne Daugharty
Historical Note on Union Cemetery -
from “Rules & Regulations Union Cemetary 1970
The Union Cemetery is situated on the Union Road, 1/2 mile south of the Village of Union. It is owned by the Union United Church, and presents an impressive sight with its tall, stately maples and spruce, and well-maintained appearance.
On June 17th in the year 1850, the trustees of Union Wesleyan Methodist Church, namely Samuel Ferrin, John Peacock, Randolph Johnson, Samuel Burgess, Chancey Burgess, Edward Forknell, and James McCay purchased 1 1/2 acres of land for 15 pounds from John and Pearly Willis. This land could be used for a church site, parsonage, or burial ground for the use of members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Here the early forefathers of our community were laid to rest.
In September, 1876, another 1/2 acre was bought, and in April, 1898 an additional 1 1/2 acres were purchased. It was not until 1935 that another 3 acres were acquired. The trustees later realizing that more land would be needed, purchased 12.59 acres in 1966. This makes a total of a little over 19 acres in our cemetery.
Improvements have been made from time to time--an iron fence was built across the front several years ago; stone pillars were erected at the entrance and exit in 1964; and the driveway was rebuilt in 1966.
Union Cemetery is a non-profit organization and none of the trustees has never received any money for his services, and this accounts for the favorable financial position at the present time. The board has endeavoured to operate efficiently and economically; they are constanly making improvements to beautify your cemetery... It is a well-known fact that a community is judged by the kind of cemetery it maintains.
Tribute should be paid to the men who have served on the Board through the years. They have had vision and foresight. At the present time---June 1970---work has begun in excavating, levelling, and grading some of the land most recently acquired so it will be ready for use when needed for burial purposes. This landmark in our community is one of which you can be justly proud, and which will serve the area for many years to come.
Editor’s Note: In 1983 two marble plaques were placed on the stone post of the entrance way reading, “June 17, 1850/Union/Wesleyan/Methodist/Burial Ground” “June 25, 1925/Union/United/Church/Cemetery”
DOODLING - This article was compliled by Stan Daugharty our Vice-Chairman
Sitting on a grave trying to decipher the time worn inscription may not be everyone’s cup-of-tea, but it does have its’ rewards, not counting frustration, you get to see the sun and some of natures wonders that a shop worker can forget exist, maybe glean a little information that might help someone in their research, and see some fine stone works done by the “old timers”. A good example is in Fingal and done by the White Bronze Foundry that was on Church and Talbot in the old Ermatinger building.
Tony Hofstee remarked about the signatures of the old marble workers on the stones and so that has become another facet of the never ending work of gathering material otherwise not noticed.
Fingal has turned up the names:
Cripps and Doggett, St. Thomas (1879)
Hutchison, Aylmer (1910)
Doyle, W.A., Fingal (?) (1875) (1873)
Lumley and Doan (1917) (1925) (1912) (1921)
Hammill, William, St. Thomas (1881) (1879)
McDonald, J., Fingal
Gadsby, T., St. Thomas
Hutchison and Millar, Aylmer (1889) (1910)
Riggs, D.P. Morpeth
Doggett, F. St. Thomas (1893)(1911)(1872)
A little more looking and we have:
Hughes Marble Works, William St., St. Thomas (1877) Hughes, John H.
Cripps and Doggett F, Talbot St., St. Thomas (1877) opposite Post Office
Hutchison, J.W., Talbot St., Aylmer (1876)
Hughes, William, Sydenham and King St., Aylmer 1872 gone in 1876
Miller, Hutchison and Miller
Hutchison and Thompson Marble Works, Aylmer (1897)
Doan Douglas (son of above)
Panther, with Sinclair behind Park House on West Avenue.
And still we seek more.
Obituary - Albert Mycroft, an active member of our branch passed away May 31, 1983, at the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital. He was born in Nottingham, England April 15, 1909, and came to St. Thomas in 1910. He retired from the St. Thomas Police Department.
Albert was responsible for the map of Elgin being on the front cover of our “Talbot Times.’’
We would still like any information that you have of settlers in Elgin County; this includes old maps, diaries, letters, Family Bibles, scrap books, old records, etc. We are prepared to photo copy any of this information if you are unable to have it done.