Rev. Obadiah Holmes definitely has some Famous Kin. I’ve covered Abe Lincoln & Amelia Earhart and now I’m covering my connection to comedic legend, John Ritter.
Another descendant of Rev. Holmes, is Willis Carrier – the inventor of air conditioning (I really love this guy on hot, sticky, humid days!) – Carrier is his 8th great grandson.
I find the relation to John Ritter especially interesting because of his manner of death. He passed away of an aortic dissection – the EXACT same thing that my brother, who would also be his 9th cousin, 2x removed, almost died of! Aortic dissections are relatively uncommon. Weakened aorta walls can be congenital – refer to my previous blog entitled “Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do” – I wonder if they run in all lines of this family?
John Ritter, is probably best know for the lovably goofy closet heterosexual Jack Tripper in the television comedy series ‘‘Three’s Company,” a smash hit in the 1970’s. Jack’s character is of the lucky man who shares an apartment with two beautiful women, Chrissy, played by Suzanne Somers, and Janet, played by Joyce DeWitt. I used to love watching Jack, Janet and Chrissy and still love watching the reruns to this day!
Johnathan Southworth Ritter was born in Burbank, California, on September 17, 1948. He was the son of legendary country singer/actor Tex Ritter and his wife, actress Dorothy Fay. The couple married in 1941 and had their first child, Tom Ritter, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
John was destined to follow in his parents footsteps. He was enrolled at Hollywood High School where he was student body president. After graduation from high school, he attended the University of Southern California where he majored in Psychology and minored in Architecture. His first appearance on TV was in 1966 as a contestant on The Dating Game (1965) where he won a vacation to Lake Havasu, Arizona. After making his very first cameo appearance, he was induced to join an acting class taught by Nina Foch. He changed his major to Theatre Arts, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama. He also studied acting with Stella Adler at the Harvey Lembeck Comedy Workshop. Between 1968 and 1969, he appeared in a series of stage plays in England, Scotland, Holland and in Germany.
His TV debut came playing a campus revolutionary on Dan August (1970) which starred Burt Reynolds and Norman Fell, who later starred with him on Three’s Company . Then he appeared as “Reverend Matthew Fordwick” on The Waltons (1971). He continued making more guest appearances on Medical Center (1969), M*A*S*H (1972), The Bob Newhart Show (1972), The Streets of San Francisco (1972), Kojak (1973), Rhoda (1974) and Mary Tyler Moore (1970).
The following year, in late 1975, ABC picked up the rights for a new series based on a British sitcom, Man About the House (1973). Ritter beat out 50 people, including a young Billy Crystal, to get a major role. The first pilot was trashed, and in order for it to be improved, Joyce DeWitt, an unknown actress, played the role of “Janet Wood”, along with Suze Lanier-Bramlett as the dumb blonde, “Chrissy Snow”. It did better than the first pilot, but the producers still needed a change and Suzanne Somers came to the show at the very last minute to play “Chrissy”. Thus the series, Three’s Company, was born.
In 1980, when Three’s Company was sold into syndication, the show became a ratings phenomenon. At the height of Ritter’s popularity, he won a Golden Globe in 1983 for Best Performance by an Actor after being nominated twice for Best TV Actor in a Musical-Comedy Series and, one year later, he won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor In a Comedy Series after being nominated twice. By its eighth season, the show began to drop in the ratings and was canceled in 1984. After cancellation, he starred in its spin-off, called Three’s a Crowd (1984), also starring Mary Cadorette, but it lasted for only one season.
His first animated movie was that of a man turning into a dragon, whose job was to defeat “Ommendon” in The Flight of Dragons (1982). The following year, he came back to series television as “Detective Harry Hooperman” in the comedy/drama, Hooperman (1987) for which he was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe in 1988 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. He also won a People’s Choice Award for this role. He continued doing more box-office films such as Skin Deep (1989), in which he played a womanizing, alcoholic writer whose life seemed to be falling apart at the seams. In the movies, Problem Child (1990), and Problem Child 2 (1991), he played the surrogate father of a rebellious little boy who wrought havoc on the family. He also worked on Noises Off... (1992) and Stay Tuned (1992) before returning to another TV sitcom called Hearts Afire (1992) that also starred Billy Bob Thornton. The show had well-written scripts but failed to reach a massive audience which led to its cancellation in 1995. While he was working on Hearts Afire, he played “Ward Nelson” on North (1994). Then, he had the opportunity to work with Billy Bob Thornton, in the movie Sling Blade (1996), in which Ritter played the gay manager of a department store. He also provided the voice of “Clifford” in Clifford the Big Red Dog (2000). He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award 4 times in a row, totalling seven Emmy nominations in his 35-year career. In 1999, he was also nominated for an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series playing the role of “George Madison” on an episode of Ally McBeal (1997).
Soon afterwards, he landed his last television role in 8 Simple Rules… for Dating My Teenage Daughter (2002), based on the popular book. On this sitcom he played “Paul Hennessey”, a loving, rational dad, who laid down the ground rules for his three children and dealt with such topics as curfews, sex, drugs, getting arrested, etc. The show was a ratings winner in its first season and won a People’s Choice Award for Best New Comedy and also won for Favourite Comedy Series by the Family Awards.
On September 11, 2003, Ritter fell ill while rehearsing for 8 Simple Rules.
He began sweating profusely and vomiting, and complained of having chest pains. He was taken across the street to the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, by coincidence the same hospital where he was born. Physicians misdiagnosed Ritter and treated him for a heart attack (this is very common as the symptoms often mimic those of a heat attack). However, his condition worsened. Physicians later diagnosed Ritter with an aortic dissection. Ritter died during surgery to repair the dissection, six days before his 55th birthday. This is were I’m in awe. I hear of John Ritter and Alan Thicke dying in surgery for aortic dissections and yet my brother lived during the same surgery – was he ever blessed and he had an amazing thoracic cardiac surgeon in Dr. Ash.
A private funeral was held on September 15 in Los Angeles, after which Ritter was interred at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. He died on his daughter Stella’s birthday 😦
John Ritter’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is next to his father’s (see photos below).
He left behind four children: Jason Ritter, (born on Sunday, February 17, 1980), Carly Ritter, (born on Monday, March 1, 1982), Tyler Ritter, (born on Thursday, January 31, 1985) and Stella Ritter, (born on Friday, September 11, 1998).
I’m excited to see what connection I make next and from which line!
Aviation, this young modern giant, exemplifies the possible relationship of women and the creations of science. Although women have not taken full advantage of its use and benefits, air travel is as available to them as to men ~ Amelia Earhart
My lineage just gets better and better! To date I have discovered a relation to a King of France, a US President, a Filles du Roi, an explorer, a colleague of Samuel de Champlain, a great Uncle who died in WWI in Flanders … these are just some of my finds … and NOW …. a relation to the great aviatrix Amelia Earhart!
It’s one of the greatest unsolved mysteries! It’s been 80 years and no resolution. I have long been fascinated by the story of Amelia Earhart. I have watched numerous documentaries about her disappearance on History, Nat Geo, CNN etc. The story fascinated me long before I discovered our distant relation. Amelia is my 9th cousin, 2 x removed via the Obadiah Holmes line – the same lineage that my relation to President Honest Abe Lincoln comes from. So RICHARDS family, this one is also for you!
Amelia was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, USA, to Amelia Otis, age 28, and Edwin Stanton Earhart, age 26.
As you may well know, Amelia Earhart was an Aviation Pioneer. Her flying career began in Los Angeles in 1921 when, at age 24, she took flying lessons from Neta Snook and bought her first airplane, a Kinner Airstar. Due to family problems, she sold her airplane in 1924 and moved back East, where she took employment as a Social Worker.
Four years later, she returned to aviation bought an Avro Avian airplane and became the first woman to make a solo-return transcontinental flight. From then on, she continued to set and break her own speed and distance records, in competitive events, as well as personal stunts promoted by her husband George Palmer Putnam.
Marriage to George Putnam
Amelia married George Palmer Putnam in Noank, Connecticut, USA, on February 7, 1931, when she was 33 years old.
A little about George: In July 1927 he was responsible for the blockbuster publication of “We”, Charles Lindbergh‘s autobiographical account of his early life and Orteig Prize winning non-stop transatlantic solo flight from New York to Paris made in May of that year. The book proved to be one of the most successful non-fiction titles of all time selling more than 650,000 copies in less than a year and earning its author over $250,000, which is the 2017 equivalent of $3,410,056.50.
A significant event in Putnam’s personal and business life occurred in 1928, before the merger. Because of his reputation for working with Lindbergh, he was contacted by Amy Guest, a wealthy American living in London who wanted to sponsor the first-ever flight by a woman across the Atlantic Ocean.
Guest asked Putnam to find a suitable candidate and he eventually came up with the then-unknown aviatrix, Amelia Earhart.As it turned out, they shared many common interests: hiking, swimming, camping, riding, tennis and golf. When Putnam first met Earhart, he was still married to Binney. After she successfully completed her flight across the Atlantic, Putnam offered to help Earhart write a book about her flight, following the formula he had established with Charles Lindbergh in the writing of “WE”. The resulting Earhart book was 20 Hrs., 40 Min. (1928).
When they began writing, Putnam invited Earhart to live in his home because he felt like it would make the process easier. Shortly after, Binney left for South America which was followed by the divorce of George and Dorothy Putnam in 1929. Putnam had undertaken to heavily promote Earhart in a campaign that included a series of lecture tours and using pictures of her image in mass market endorsements for products including luggage, Lucky Strike cigarettes (this caused image problems for her, with McCall’s magazine retracting an offer) and other products.
In 1930, the various Putnam heirs voted to merge the family’s publishing firm with Minton, Balch & Co., which became the majority stockholders. George P. Putnam resigned from his position as secretary of G. P. Putnam’s Sons and joined New York publishers Brewer & Warren as vice president.
Putnam and Earhart made their relationship official shortly after his divorce was finalized, but they didn’t marry until 1931.
She became a household name in 1932 when she became the first woman, and second person, to fly solo across the Atlantic, on the fifth anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s feat, flying a Lockheed Vega from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to Londonderry, Ireland. That year, she received the Distinguished Flying Cross from the Congress, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French Government, and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society from President Hoover.
In January 1935 she became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu to Oakland, California. Later that year she soloed from Los Angeles to Mexico City and back to Newark, N.J.
In July 1936 she took delivery of a Lockheed 10E “Electra,” financed by Purdue University, and started planning her round-the-world flight. Her flight would not be the first to circle the globe, but it would be the longest, 29,000 miles, following an equatorial route – the longest in history.
On March 17, 1937 she flew the first leg in her state of the art, twin-engine Lockheed 10 Electra from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. As the flight resumed three days later, a tire blew on takeoff and she ground-looped the plane. Severely damaged, the aircraft had to be shipped back to California for repairs, and the flight was called off.
Her Greatest Journey – To Circumnavigate Around the World Was Not To Be
The second attempt would begin on May 20 1937 heading East; Fred Noonan, a former Pan Am pilot, would be her navigator and sole companion in flight for the entire trip. Their last known refuelling stop was in Southeast Asia, when they arrived at Lae, New Guinea on July 2 1937. About 22,000 miles of the journey had been completed. The remaining 7,000 miles would all be over the Pacific Ocean. Their intended destination was Howland Island (their next refuelling stop), a tiny piece of land a few miles long, 20 feet high, and 2,556 miles away. Their last positive position report and sighting were over the Nukumanu Islands, about 800 miles into the flight. Earhart and Noonan are never seen alive again.
The United States Coast Guard cutter Itasca was on station near Howland, assigned on short notice to communicate with her plane and guide her to the island once she arrived in the vicinity. But it soon became evident that she and Noonan had little practical knowledge of the use of radio navigation. The frequencies she was using were not well suited to direction finding (in fact, she had left behind the lower-frequency reception and transmission equipment which might have enabled Itasca to locate her), and the reception quality of her transmissions was poor. After six hours of frustrating attempts at two-way communications, contact was lost. A coordinated search by the Navy and Coast Guard was organized and no physical evidence of the flyers or their plane was ever found. Their fate has been the subject of many rumors and allegations which were never substantiated. Modern analysis indicates that after passing the Nukumanu Islands, she began to vector off course, unwittingly heading for a point about 100 miles NNW of Howland. A few hours before their estimated arrival time Noonan calculated a “sun line,” but without a successful, radio-frequency range calculation, a precise “fix” on the plane’s location could not be established.
According to the crash and sink theory, Earhart’s plane ran out of gas while she searched for Howland Island, and she crashed into the open ocean somewhere in the vicinity of the island.
Several expeditions over the past 15 years have attempted to locate the plane’s wreckage on the sea floor near Howland. High-tech sonar and deep-sea robots have failed to yield clues about the Electra’s crash site.
Theories About Their Disappearance
There are numerous conspiracy theories about Earhart’s disappearance.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) postulates that Earhart and Noonan veered off-course from Howland Island and landed instead some 350 miles to the Southwest on Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro, in the Republic of Kiribati. The island was uninhabited at the time.
A week after Earhart’s disappeared, Navy planes flew over the island. They noted recent signs of habitation but found no evidence of an airplane. TIGHAR believes that Earhart—and perhaps Noonan—may have survived for days or even weeks on the island as castaways before dying there. Since 1988, several TIGHAR expeditions to the island have turned up artifacts and anecdotal evidence in support of this hypothesis.
Some of the artifacts include a piece of Plexiglas that may have come from the Electra’s window, a woman’s shoe dating back to the 1930s, improvised tools, a woman’s cosmetics jar from the 1930s and bones that appeared to be part of a human finger.
In June 2017, a TIGHAR-led expedition arrived on Nikumaroro with four forensically trained bone-sniffing border collies to search the island for any skeletal remains of Earhart or Noonan.
2) Another theory posits that Earhart and Noonan were captured and executed by the Japanese, and were captured as POWs.
3) Another theory claims that the pair served as spies for the Roosevelt administration and assumed new identities upon returning to the United States.
4) The final theory, and likely most realistic is that they ran out of fuel, having not been able to locate Howland Island and crashed into the sea.
What do you think happened?
Starting from the Obadiah Holmes line ….
Amelia Earhart 2017 full documentary (The Lost Evidence)
Amelia Earhart documentary 2017 Former FBI official Shawn Henry investigates new, shocking evidence that aviator Amelia Earhart was captured by the Japanese military, including a photograph that purports to show Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan alive after their disappearance. Evidence includes documents containing new information indicating that the U.S. government knew that she was in the custody of a foreign power, and may have covered it up.
Ok, I’m all over the place with this ancestry stuff. I just moved, am sick in bed but can’t stop researching. Each line steers me to something new and exciting – I’m honestly just just jumping around when I find a new cool hint – I follow it and away I go – on a brand spanking new tangent.
I always knew I was special – a princess ♕ you might say – now I have something to back it up – my 24th great grand-father was King Louis VIII of France.
In all honesty, I know very little about my 24x GGF, but, from what I’ve seen on the line (Internship joke) Louis VIII the Lion (aka Louis VIII le Lion) (5 September 1187 – 8 November 1226) was King of France from 1223 to 1226 (only 3 years). He also claimed the title King of England from 1216 to 1217. Louis VIII was born in Paris, the son of King Philip II of France and Isabelle of Hainaut, from whom he inherited the County of Artois at Palais Royal, Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France.
On 23 May 1200, at the age of 12 (what????, 12!!!), Louis was married to Blanche of Castile, daughter of King Alfonso VIII of Castile and Eleanor of England, the sister of King Richard I and King John of England. The marriage could only be concluded after prolonged negotiations between King Philip II of France and Blanche’s uncle John.
Louis VIII succeeded his father on 14 July 1223; his coronation took place on 6 August of the same year in the cathedral at Reims.
Born to wealth, Blanche of Castile (1188-1252) took the reins of leadership early in life as the wife of Louis VIII, King of France and later as co-regent during her son, Louis IX’s, minority. She proved to bea good, albeit strong willed leader, keenly adept at dealing with her male counterparts.
Blanche of Castile was born on March 4, 1188 in Palencia, Castile, an area that is now part of central and northern Spain. She was the daughter of King Alphonso VIII of Castile and Princess Eleanor Plantagenet of England. Her grandfather was Henry II of England, her grandmother was Eleanor of Aquitane and her uncle was John I of England. This rich lineage prepared her well for a place on the throne of France.
During Louis VIII’s short reign, Blanche confined her activities to the education and upbringing of her children. She was especially careful of the education of her favorite son, Louis. She was a stern Christian and taught him to be pious and devoted to the services of the church.
In 1236 Louis came of age but Blanche remained at his side—his strongest supporter and advisor. Louis proved to be an energetic king devoted to his people. He was a devout Roman Catholic, austere and prayerful and a devoted husband and father. Blanche of Castile suffered with a heart ailment, but continued to preside over court responsibilities. In 1252 she suffered a heart attack while on her way to the Abbey of the Lys for a retreat. She was returned to the Palace of the Louvre in Paris where she received the last rights and died.
The King died of dysentery (is a type of gastroenteritis that results in diarrhea with blood.) on November 8, 1226 (39). The Saint Denis Basilica houses the tomb of Louis VIII.
Louis and Blanche had thirteen children:
Unnamed daughter [Blanche?] (1205 – died soon after).
Philip (9 September 1209 – before July 1218), betrothed in July 1215 to Agnes of Donzy.
Alphonse (b. and d. Lorrez-le-Bocage, 26 January 1213), twin of John.
John (b. and d. Lorrez-le-Bocage, 26 January 1213), twin of Alphonse.
Louis IX (Poissy, 25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270, Tunis), King of France as successor to his father.
Robert (25 September 1216 – 9 February 1250, killed in battle, Mansoura, Egypt), Count of Artois.
Philip (20 February 1218 – 1220).
John (21 July 1219 – 1232), Count of Anjou and Maine; betrothed in March 1227 to Yolande of Brittany.
Alphonse (Poissy, 11 November 1220 – 21 August 1271, Corneto), Count of Poitou and Auvergne, and by marriage, of Toulouse.
Philip Dagobert (20 February 1222 – 1232.
Isabelle (March 1224 – 23 February 1270).
Stephen (end 1225 – early 1227).
Charles (posthumously 21 March 1227 – 7 January 1285), Count of Anjou and Maine, by marriage Count of Provence and Forcalquier, and King of Sicily
Now I’m impressed, what is going to top this? Maybe not too much, but that does not mean that there isn’t a lot of exciting stuff to learn about my GENES & my ANCESTRY, I guess we will have to see ….
So this was the MOST EXCITING ancestral find to date! The connection, albeit distant – with the most impressive US Presidents of all time – Honest Abe is my 6th cousin 5x removed.
I posted yesterday on my connection to Obadiah Holmes – the important member of the Baptist church who was whipped for his beliefs – this amazing man was the 5th great grand-father of another revolutionary man who needs no introduction or biography, the great emancipator, Abraham Lincoln.
My Lineage – Off of the Obadiah Holmes Line
Rev. Obadiah Holmes + Katherine Hyde
Lydia Holmes + Capt. John Brown
Hannah Salter + Mordecai Lincoln
John Lincoln + Rebecca Flower
Capt. Abraham Lincoln + Bethesda Herring
Thomas Lincoln + Nancy Hanks
President Abraham Lincoln + Mary Todd
Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and perhaps its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, paved the way for the abolition of slavery.
In 1840, Lincoln became engaged to Mary Todd, who was from a wealthy slave-holding family in Lexington, Kentucky. They met in Springfield, Illinois, in December 1839 and were engaged the following December. A wedding set for January 1, 1841, was canceled when the two broke off their engagement. They later met again at a party and married on November 4, 1842, in the Springfield mansion of Mary’s married sister.
The couple had four children. Robert Todd Lincoln was born in 1843 and Edward Baker Lincoln (Eddie) in 1846. Edward died on February 1, 1850, in Springfield, probably of tuberculosis. “Willie” Lincoln was born on December 21, 1850, and died of a fever on February 20, 1862. The Lincolns’ fourth son, Thomas “Tad” Lincoln, was born on April 4, 1853, and died of heart failure at the age of 18 on July 16, 1871. Robert was the only child to live to adulthood and have children.
On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States, beating Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell. He was the first president from the Republican Party.
On June 19, 1862, endorsed by Lincoln, Congress passed an act banning slavery on all federal territory. Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he stated that “as a fit and necessary military measure, on January 1, 1863, all persons held as slaves in the Confederate states will thenceforward, and forever, be free”. The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, 1862, and put into effect on January 1, 1863.
President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. on April 15.
In surveys of U.S. scholars ranking presidents conducted since the 1940s, Lincoln is consistently ranked in the top three, often as number one.
The Ancient One, a nickname favored by White House insiders because of his “ancient wisdom”
The Great Emancipator and The Liberator for the emancipation of the slaves
The Tycoon for the energetic and ambitious conduct of his Civil War administration
Uncle Abe for his avuncularity in his later years
Pretty INTERESTING FIND to see that I have some connection to a US President – like I said coming from Canada this line is FULL of amazing discoveries. Only this ONE line goes back to the States, let alone all of the way back to the foundation – it’s also very exciting that in Canada I am also related to a Filles Du Row and Filled a Married – which is Canada’s equivalent of coming over on the Mayflower.
Tune in for the next blog to see what else I discover …
Donnette Johnette Qonita
Published on Jan 19, 2017
As the Civil War continues to rage, America’s president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
Today’s blog #7 on genealogy features my SCOTTISH roots. Before my AncestryDNA results, I hadn’t spent too much time on this line – it follows my father’s line – through my 3x grand father George Richards’ wife, Cecelia —> see tree below.
I assumed we had some Scottish in us given my GGG Gramma’s last name was McKenzie. But I hadn’t spent all that much time on this line yet. Not because I didn’t think it wouldn’t be interesting, just that I have my hands in so many different lines at the moment that sometimes I bounce around and forget to go back to a line I started.
Ok, let’s get started ….
ANDREW MCKENZIE married ELIZABETH (last name unknown).
At this stage I can’t confirm who the immigrant family was. Was it Andrew and Elizabeth who brought over Andrew or did Andrew Jr leave his family behind in Scotland for Canada?
ANDREW MCKENZIE II was born about 1809 in Scotland. He died on Oct 16 1881 of “Lung Congestion” – likely Pneumonia which he suffered from for a period of 10 weeks. The Death Certificate says he was a “Bookseller” in Almonte, Ontario.
He married (1) AGNES LECKIE on 21 Oct 1836 in Ramsay Township, Ontario. She was born about 1813 in Scotland. She died on 27 Feb 1875.
He then married (2) JANET GREVILLE TOSHACK on 08 Jan 1877 in Almonte, Ontario, daughter of William and Margaret. She was born about 1821. She died on 15 Nov 1893 in Ottawa, Ontario.
He emigrated from Scotland before 1836, but actual date is unknown. I am unable to locate any records of his immigration to Canada, but records were not commonly kept during that time frame. We also know that he was one of the original settlers in Lancaster County, Ontario, Canada.
In 1861 we find him living as the Head of Household in the County of Renfrew, Ontario. The census information notes that he is Scottish, is a Labourer and is a member of the Free Church. The Free Church of Scotland was formed by Evangelicals who broke from the Church of Scotland in 1843 in protest against what they regarded as the state’s encroachment on the spiritual independence of the Church.
——————– Almonte Gazette, Friday, October 28, 1881:
OBITUARY: Another old settler has gone to his last rest. Mr. Andrew McKenzie died of congestion of the lungs at his residence in Almonte on the 17th Oct., 1881, aged 72 years. Mr. McKenzie was for over twenty years a *colporteur in the service of the Ottawa Valley Branch Bible Society. In the winter time he visited the shanties in the Ottawa Valley, selling bibles to the shantymen, and speaking to them of Him who came to seek and save the lost. Dreary and long were the journeys he often took, and many were the hardships he endured, and the dangers he escaped as he passed from shanty to shanty. But his work is done, and we doubt not but he has received his Master’s approval, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Lord, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”
* A colporteur is a peddler of devotional literature.
The Renfrew Mercury, Friday, October 21, 1881: DEAD – The corpse of Mr. A. Mackenzie, the colporteur, a former resident of Renfrew, was taken through the village on Tuesday, from Almonte, for interment in Admaston.
Note for Andrew McKenzie: Admaston Cemetery records show Georgina McKenzie Brown, wife of John Brown, born June 11, 1850, died March 4, 1939. It is probable that Georgina is the daughter of Andrew and Agnes since Andrew’s will mentions Georgina Brown, wife of John Brown. The will of Andrew’s second wife, Janet, refers to “Mrs. John Brown”. Georgina’s relationship to Andrew has to be verified but she is included with his children based on the circumstantial evidence in the estate files.
CECILIA MCKENZIE was born on 09 Dec 1851 in Ontario. She died on 12 Sep 1921 in Mattawa, Ontario. She married GEORGE RICHARDS in 1886 in Mattawa, Ontario, son of Ambrose Abraham Richards and Olive Moore. He was born on 26 Jul 1858 in Eardley Township, Ottawa County, Quebec. He died on 25 Apr 1942.
1881 Census: George Richards, married, 23, born: in Ontario, Scottish, Farmer, Presbyterian. Rosy Richards, married, 19, Irish, born in Ontario, Presbyterian.
The next entry on this census is the family of Donald and Agnes Fraser. We find Cecelia McKenzie living there, with her sister Agnes, at the time. She and George likely knew one another and married after the death of his first wife, Rosy. Cecelia was employed as a Seamstress.
Their son, Ambrose Richards was born in 1885 (according to his death certificate), however Cecelia and George were married in 1888. Some 3 years later, was he born out of wedlock?
AMBROSE RICHARDS (B: Dec 12 1887 – Mattawa Ontario, D: 1957 – Mattawa Ontario) m. BRIDGET ANGELINA MULLEN (B: Jan 3 1887 – Vinton, Québec, D: April 10 1976 – Témiscaming, Québec) on 20 Nov 1912 in Sacre Coeur Parish, Sturgeon Falls, Nipissing, Ontario.
Of interest, Ambrose converted to Roman Catholic from Presbyterianism – apparently to marry Lina as he was baptized only 10 days before they were married.Godparents were Denis Leaghy & Mary Brown.
He was baptized Catholic on 10 Nov 1912 • Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Canada.
BENJAMIN GEORGE RICHARDS (B: Feb 10 1916 – Sturgeon Falls Ontario, D: June 17 1977 –Montréal, Québec) m. SARAH ANN LEE (B: Dec 7 1922 – Meltham Mills, Yorkshire England, D: March 1993 – Montréal, Quebec)
Refer to my blogs on the LEE family and Pte. Benjamin Richards for details about my grandparents.
PATRICK JAMES RICHARDS (B: Jan 15 1954 – Témiscaming Québec, D: Nov 18 2014 – Témiscaming, Québec) m. MONA ROSE LAMOTHE (B: Jan 20 1956 – Bonfield Ontario, D: —-)
MOI – TINA RICHARDS
~ A thread will tie an honest man better than a chain a rogue – Scottish Proverb
Today’s blog on genealogy #5 is on the lineage of the Milk family. This surname has long been associated with the county of Norfolk, England, where it appears about twenty-two times in proportion to each 10,000 of the population of that county. There, throughout history, it has been associated with small landowners.
This is was interesting line to research and write about as I never imagined having anyone in my lineage trace back to Colonial America, never mind some who resided in Salem, Massachusetts during the Witch Trials.
The surname MILK first appeared on record in America in 1662 with the mention of John Milk of Salem, Massachusetts in the town vital records where he was appointed as Cowherd for the town of Salem and then was chosen to chimney sweep.
In Colonial America in 1662, The Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter was accepted by England as long as they extended the vote to all landowners and allowed for freedom of worship for Anglicans.
The home of John Milk was listed in “(Rambles in Old Boston, by Rev, Edward G. Porter, 1887, p.288.) It was built some fifty years earlier than the Paul Revere home some 300 feet away across a little Square from the corner of Sun Court and Moon Street, just south of the Old North Church and North of Faneuil Hall “the Cradle of Liberty” near Milk Street.
John Milk I (B: 1640 Norfolk, England, D: Nov 26 1689 – Salem, Massachusetts) m. Sarah Weston (Wesson) (B: 1656 – Salem, Massachusetts, D: 1685 – Salem, Massachusetts) on m. 3 APR 1665
John Milk I died on Nov 26 1689. The following is his Last Will & Testament:
John Milk II: (B: Jan 8 1668 – Salem, Massachusetts, D: 1720 Boston, Massachusetts), shipwright, married:
(1) Elizabeth Hempfield (1670 – 1707), daughter of Edmund Hempfield of Salem, on 20 Aug. 1689.
Children of first marriage
John Milk, b. abt. 1690, died young
(2) Mary Scolly (Scolby) at Boston, 30 Oct. 1707, who subsequently married Francis Hudson abt ******
Children of second marriage:
John Milk III, b. 23 June 1708/09, m. Jane Marvin (Marvel)
James Milk, b. 31 Jan. 1710/11, m. (1)Sarah Brown ; (2) Mrs. Mollie Peering
Mary Jane Milk, b. abt. 1713
My lineage follows the marriage to Elizabeth Hempfield (B: Jan 8 1668 – Salem, Massachusetts, D: 1707 – Salem, Massachusetts).
The below excerpt talks about their homestead and surrounding buildings.
Job Milk I (B: 1695 – Salem, Massachusetts, D: 1778 in Little Compton, Newport County, Province of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations) m. Abigail Devol (B: 1695 – Newport, Rhode Island, D: 12 Jul 1719 – Dartmouth, Massachusetts) on July 12 1719 in Little Compton, RI. Abigail was the daughter of Johnathan + Hannah (née Audley).
Note: The association and acceptance by the Quakers of the time, imply that Job Milk and his family were probably Quakers. Although there are no known records of this, it is recorded that Phineas Chase, who lived close to Job Milk, and was father to two of Job’s sons-in-law was a Quaker.
Footnote: Some information has been borrowed in part from: History And Genealogy Of The Milk-Milks Family– October 15, 2011 by Grace Croft, Lee Milk, Grace Irene Barnhart. This information was only borrowed for the sake of completing an accurate family portrait of my lineage to the Milk family as early settlers and not for any wage or profit.
Job Milk II (B: April 17 1725 – Dartmouth, Massachusetts, D: 1804 – Dartmouth, Massachusetts) m. Amy Fish (B: Oct 29 1729 – Dartmouth, Massachusetts, D: Belkshire, Massachusetts). He married Amy Fish 2 Nov 1746 at Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. Amy Fish was born at Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts 29 Oct 1729 daughter of Thomas Fish and Mercy Mary Coggeshall .
They were the parents of 9 children:
Benjamin Milk born 1747. Sarah Milk born 1749.
Job Milk born 1751.
Mary Milk born 1752.
Jonathan Milk born 1755.
David Milk born 1757.
Cabel Milk born 1759.
Thomas Ambrose Milk born 1761.
Amy Milk born 1763.
Sarah Milk (B: 1749 – D: Eardley,) m. Dudley Moore (B: 1747 – Nine Partners, Duchess, New York, D: 1815: Eardley, (Hull) Québec). They married at Saratoga, New York .
Dudley Moore’s parents were Jedediah Moore and Dorothy Begnell (I’ll get more into the “Bicknell” story in another blog).
They were the parents of 9 children:
Sarah Moore born Abt 1769.
Jedediah Moore born Abt 1771.
Dudley Moore born 8 Aug 1773. Roger Moore born Abt 1774.
Benjamin Moore born Abt 1776.
Martin Moore born Abt 1779.
Job Moore born Abt 1781.
David Moore born Abt 1783.
Rebecca Moore born Abt 1785.
Roger Moore (B: 1775 – Rutland, Vermont, D: 1860 – Napean, Ontario) m. Sarah Hicks (B: 1775 – New York, D: Nov 27 1872 – Québec)
Olive Moore (B: Sept 10 1821 – Napean, Ontario, D: 1871 – Eardley, Québec) m. Ambrose Richards (B: Feb 27 1816 – Quebec, D: Jan 9 1864 – Eardley, Québec)
George Richards (B: July 26 1859 – Eardley Quebec, D: April 16 1942 – Mattawa Ontario) m. Cecelia McKenzie (B: Dec 9 1851 – Renfrew Ontario, D: Sept 13 1921 – Mattawa Ontario)
Ambrose Richards (B: Dec 12 1887 – Mattawa Ontario, D: 1957 – Mattawa Ontario) m. Bridget Angelina Mullen (B: Jan 3 1887 – Vinton, Québec, D: April 10 1976 – Témiscaming, Québec)
Minnie, Teenie, Lina, Kate & May Mullin
Benjamin Richards (B: Feb 10 1916 – Sturgeon Falls Ontario, D: June 17 1977 – Montréal, Québec) m. Sarah Ann Lee (B: Dec 7 1922 – Meltham Mills, Yorkshire England, D: March 1993 – Montréal, Quebec)
Patrick James Richards (B: Jan 15 1954 – Témiscaming Québec, D: Nov 18 2014 – Témiscaming, Québec) m. Mona Lamothe (B: Jan 20 1956 – Bonfiled Ontario, D: —-)
MOI – Tina Rose Richards
I found this helpful when trying to better understand the difference between the Quakers, the Pilgrims and the Puritans.
Pilgrims: A small group of people arrived in the New World from England on a ship named the Mayflower. They landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Back in England, everyone had to belong to the Church of England. The Pilgrims did not want to belong to the Church of England. They were seeking religious freedom from the Church of England.
Puritans: About 10 years later, a large group of people called the Puritans arrived in the New World, also from England. They believed everyone should belong to the Church of England or be punished. They left England and came to the New World because they believed the Church of England needed to be purified. In their opinion, the Church was embracing too many Catholic beliefs. They settled in Boston. They practiced religious intolerance. They wanted to be part of the Church of England, but they wanted the church’s beliefs purified.
Alike: Both groups spoke English. Both groups arrived from England at about the same time. Both groups thought of themselves as Englishmen and were loyal to the King. Both groups came to the New World because of their disagreement with the Church of England.
Quakers: There was another religious group in the colonies called the Quakers. They also disagreed with the Church of England. Many Quakers left England for the New World. They settled in Pennsylvania in the 1600s. There, they practiced religious freedom for everyone. People were free to believe what they wanted and talk to God in their own way. People from all over Europe poured into their communities, seeking religious freedom. The Quakers believed that violence was not the way to solve problems. The Quakers were known as “The Friends”.
Featured Image Photo Cred: Map of Salem Village in 1692 physical features, and the dwellings of prominent and important residents in Salem during 1692.
Genealogy story #4 features my Great Grand Father, Émile Lamothe, whom I called Grand-Pépère Lamothe. I figured since my last two blogs featured the other Veterans in my family, that I’d continue on that note.
Cleophas Émile Lamothe was born on June 10, 1897, in Bonfield, Ontario to Marie Louise Charron, age 38, and Joseph Magloire Lamothe, age 42. For those of you who don’t know where Bonfield is (and I don’t blame you, I’d actually be more surprised if you actually knew where it was), it’s a small township in Northeastern Ontario, located on the north shore of Lake Nosbonsing in Nipissing District.
Émile enlisted on May 13 1918 to the 1st Depot Batallion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment. Regimental #3037591.
There was some question as to whether he volunteered or whether he was drafted. So, I did some research – turns out volunteers for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) were questioned at the place of enlistment to complete the two-sided Attestation papers which included the recruit’s name and address, next-of-kin, date and place of birth, occupation, previous military service, and distinguishing physical characteristics. Recruits were asked to sign their Attestation papers, indicating their willingness to serve overseas. By contrast, men who were drafted into the CEF under the provisions of the Military Service Act (1917) completed a far simpler one-sided form which included their name, date of recruitment, and compliance with requirements for registration. Having reviewed his Attestation Papers/Particulars of Recruit – I was able to deduct that Grand-Pépère volunteered his services.
Émile was short in stature, only 5’2.5″ and was 20 years and 11 months old when he enlisted. He was noted as being single and a Farmer. He was listed a Class One, Category A2.
Assessments were made by medical officers as to the suitability of men to perform military duties. A system of lettering and numbering was devised to enable a mans abilities to be quickly noted. Class One meant he was single and Category A meant that he was able to march, see to shoot, hear well and stand active service conditions. The 2 meant that he was fit for dispatching overseas as regards to physical and mental health but required training.
The other thing I wanted to investigate further was the Depot Battalion. At first I had no idea what a Depot Battalion even was. It turns out that in 1917-1918, when it was no longer possible to recruit enough men for infantry battalions, depot battalions were organized in Canada to obtain personnel who would then be sent to the Canadian Reserve Battalions in England.
Émile was initially part of the 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment. What I have been able to find out so far is that it was authorized by General Order 89 of September 1 1917 (see below) and by General Order 57 of 15 April 1918. They were to reinforce the 4th, 19th, 123rd and 208th Battalions through the 3rd Canadian Reserve Battalion. They were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel B. H. Belson.
His military records are quite scant to be honest and contain only about 15 documents in total. So I’m not able to get a really good idea of what he did in The Great War or even where he was posted, not even his position is noted in his records! All I know thus far is that on August 20 1918 he TOS (took on strength) at Bramshott Military Camp.
I don’t have his regiment’s war diaries and mobilization accounts – I will have to request them in person, but I believe I have found the reference to them and can find them at the Canadian National Archives when I go to Ottawa later this month. However, there’s a snag – I see from his personal file that he’s noted under 3 separate regiments – 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Central Regiment, then the 1st Depot Battalion, 2nd Quebec Regiment and 1st Depot Battalion 10th Canadian Reserve Battalion. But, I cannot decipher when he was SOS from one and TOS with another. This is important for tracking his movement in the war diaries.
June 20 2017 Update: Spent the day at the National Archives of Canada today. The assistant working at the genealogy desk provided me with some information I had been seeking. She said that as part of a depot battalion and because we can only find him in England – that he likely did not see action. He would have been training and keeping in shape over his time in one of the military camps, in the event that he was called up to infantry for one of the battalions they were backing up. She further added that there are not likely war diaries for depot battalions, but if there was they would not be very interesting, but that I could check the records anyway.
All WWI military records are available online, so I was able to access his WWI Canadian Expeditionary Force Personnel File via Ancestry.ca (the site I am doing my family tree on). You can also access them through the archives website.
I am just now taking in that these documents are 100 years old, I am going to post as many documents as I possibly can!
Military Records Summary
May 13 1918: Attested at North Bay, Ontario
July 21 1918: Embarked at Québec
August 8 1918: Arrived London, England via the S.S. Somali – she was built in 1901 by Caird & Company Greenock and served as a troop carrier in WWI
August 20 1918: TOS (took on strength) at Bramshott a.k.a. Bramshott Military Camp, which was a temporary army camp set up on Bramshott Common, Hampshire, England during WWI. Bramshott was one of three facilities in the Aldershot Command area established by the Canadian Army. The permanent facility on both occasions was at the British Army’s Bordon Military Camp. Bramshott was one of two temporary camps set-up for additional accommodation in the lead-up to D-Day, along with Witley Camp.
November 11, 1918 – WWI ends – Armistice
Feb 19 1919: In Ripon he was admonished and condemned to pay 1/9.5 (confirmed as 1 pound, 9 schillings, 5 pence) for losing 1 scrubber (??? What kind of post did he after the war ended that he would have that he lost a scrubber? Did he work in a mess hall? Did he work in a medical unit? Was it for scrubbing his boots?) The only notation I’ve found that can be somewhat related to war is a breathing apparatus that absorbs the carbon dioxide . But I don’t think that would be it because this has specifically to do with diving.
June 20 2017 Update: Genealogy Assistant at National Archives advised that he literally lost a “scrubber” for cleaning. The reason she believes this is that he was there well after the war ended and was likely involved in clean up tasks. Given the price he was penalized to pay, she thinks it was likely a long handled scrubber.
June 14 1919: SOS (struck off strength) at Ripon – was now a part of the 10th Reserve Battalion. He was likely transferred to this Battalion as the other battalions he was part of demobilized and returned home.
June 23 1919: Embarked at Liverpool on the SS Belgic. The White Star Line vessel was to be named Ceric & intended to replace Titanic in 1914. The outbreak of WWI changed all of that. During construction, White Star decided to go with the name of Belgic IV. She was launched in Jan 1914, but was not yet completed when WWI began later that year and the work was stopped. Belgic IV was eventually completed in 1917, but as a troop transport and freighter rather than the passenger liner she was designed to be.
July 1 1919: Disembarked in Halifax, NS
July 3 1919: Discharged due to Demobilization
QUESTION: DOES ANYONE KNOW WHY HE WOULD HAVE STAYED IN ENGLAND AS LONG AS HE DID AFTER THE WAR HAD ENDED?
June 20 2017 Update: While at the Canadian Archives the genealogy lady informed me that some of the troops had to stay overseas longer to clean up and pack up. Not everyone was able to go home right after Armistice, that AND there were only a limited supply of troop ships, so everyone had to take their turns. The sick, injured, infirmed were sent home first. The abled bodied men, were left to clean.
After being discharged from the military he returned to Bonfield. He married Marcella Houle on September 27, 1927. They had three children (Thelma, Clifford and Edward) during their marriage.
When I was young we’d drive up to visit them from Kitchener, it was about a 5-6 hour drive. They lived at 217 Yonge Street. I haven’t been there since 1993 (the day of Grand-Mémère Lamothe’s funeral) and the house has long been sold. I remember it was a white and light green house, with a large wrap around veranda. I always thought the house was cool and creepy at the same time, because it was so old. It was Grand-Mémère Lamothe’s parents place – she was born there. When you’d walk in, you’d immediately walk into the living room (to the left) and the stair case to go upstairs was to your right, it had a white railing. I remember Grand-Mémère rocking away in her chrome glider , by the window, watching her shows.
The room immediately to the right when you walked in the front door used to be a parlour and as a child that totally creeped me when out they told me what it had been used for, but, that was in the days well before funeral parlours. Nonetheless, I could always envision dead people in there. I remember they’d put their Christmas tree up in there and that’s where the whole lot of us would open gifts before/after midnight mass at St. Bernadette’s.
When you walked toward the back of the house from the entrance, I recall there being a long dining table before you stepped through a single door to the kitchen. Just before you entered the kitchen (on the right hand side) there was a cabinet, that’s where Grand-Mémère would hide all of the goodies – and where I may or may not have snuck a few extra pieces of licorice. The kitchen must have been to be an addition, I’m sure of it. It was big (or seemed big for a 12 year old) and filled with white cabinets. There was a kitchen table in there with a bench, and on the back wall was a picture of The Last Supper. They never had a bath tub or shower in the house, we’d have to bathe in the kitchen sink.
Grand-Mémère would get up very early in the mornings – and when we’d come down she’d make us peach or maple soupan (French slang for porridge) and the best Map-O-Spread toasts.
Here we all are in the backyard of the house. Note the washing and drying behind us.
Grand-Pepere, Pepere, Mom, Me and Darryl
Grand-Pepere’s 87th Birthday
Left – “The cousins” (Mona, Darlene and Doreen) and their children (Mona: Tina & Darryl), (Darlene: Lisa, Francine & Stephanie), (Doreen: Sylvie, Ginette and Stephanie). Note the green colour of the house and the laundry station.
Top Right – “June 1984” – Mom Mona, Me, Darryl, Grand-Pépère and Grand-Mémère and Pépère. Note the white cabinets!
Bottom Right – “Grand-Pépère’s 87th Birthday” at Ma Tante Thelma and Uncle Rene’s in Bonfield.
There were two doors in the kitchen – one exiting to the veranda toward the front and the other going out the the old step up laundry washing area/ line they had (see photo above). They never owned a dryer. Grand-Mémère did all of the laundry by hand and hung it out back on the line to dry. Now by hand I mean, she had an old fashioned washing machine where you would wash it and then you had to take the piece of clothes and put it in a wringer and it would fall in a big bucket of clean cool water to rinse, then she would take it out of the rinse water and wring it again – so to me that is still by hand!
Coming from a generation that they did, and the house sourcing from a well, I’m sure they were afraid of the well running dry – at night time we had a large marmite (pot) at the top of the stairs to pee in, if we had to go. Grand-Mémère would empty it when she got up in the morning. I also remember that the rooms didn’t have doors, they had curtains – and that there were 3 bedrooms plus theirs which was at the front of the house. Come to think of it, I don’t think I was ever in their room.
I remember Grand-Pépère fiddling around in the back tool shed. I remember going in there as a child and thinking “wow this place is filled with really cool old junk”.
They had a garden out back and had a rain barrel that they’d collect water in to water their garden.
I remember the house wasn’t too far from the train tracks cause I would hear it whistling at night time.
It’s when you sit here and reminisce on your life that you wish you had the thirst for knowledge then like you do now. The things I would love to have asked Grand-Pépère; from 1897 to 1992 he must have seen soooo many crazy things! He went from a seeing the first Ford Model T to a Lamborghini. He went from coal and wood fires to electricity, telephones and tv’s all during HIS LIFETIME. He saw two World Wars and was at one of them. Oh the stories Grand-Pépère would have told me as he puffed on his pipe and sat on the front veranda.
Emile Lamothe died on April 17, 1992, in his hometown at the age of 94.
I Googled what their house at 217 Yonge Street looks like today … disappointing – it hardly looks at all like the house in my memories. It looks run down and dilapidated 😦
GordonYYZ – Published on Feb 7, 2009
The first song off the Tragically Hip’s first self-titled EP album release from 1987.
Hello and welcome to blog #3 on genealogy! This story features my Grampa – Benjamin George Richards.
I was able to obtain a copy of Grampa’s war records from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (Canadian Armed Forces) a few years ago, when I wrote out for them. WWII records are still not available online.
Military records are such a wealth of information! You can see their enlistment details, their pay, when they took on strength (TOS) or were struck off strength (SOS), when they were AWOL/AWL, their discharge information and so much more! Grampa’s records are in hard copy and some of the handwriting is a wee bit difficult to read and the acronyms are insane, I had to go online just to find a summary of WWII military acronyms to make sense of 1/2 of them!
When Benjamin George Richards was born on February 10, 1916, in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, his father, Ambrose, was 28 and his mother, Bridget (née Mullen), was 29.
His military records indicated that he completed grade VIII, and was bilingual in English in French. From 1933 to the date of his military enlistment he was employed at Canadian International Paper (CIP) Company as a Machine Tender in Témiscaming, Québec – working his way up from a General Labourer.
His records also noted that his hobbies and past times to be skiing, skating, playing 1st base in baseball/softball and playing the banjo, guitar & mandolin.
He enlisted in the military on September 11 1939 at North Bay, Ontario citing “patriotic reasons”, he wanted to be in the Carrier Platoon. Capt. R. Robillard noted that he was of “average intellengience – should be ok for Carriers” . He was appointed as a Private to The Royal Regiment of Canada. Regimental Number B-66965.
Now, as I mentioned the record of all appointments, transfers, postings, forfeitures of pay, accidents, hospital admissions etc are difficult to read and are FILLED with acronyms to the point where some entries are barely even understandable – one website I was using had over 7500 unique abbreviations listed! Grampa Benny has 5 years worth of military records here to detail, so I am just going to note the most salient points in chronological order. Most of the records document when he was SOS or when he was TOS. There are some notations albeit them difficult to make out when he was transferred to different platoons.
Chronological Record of Service
The Royal Regiment of Canada, C.A.S.F. was mobilized on September 1 1939, when the Second World War broke out.
Sept 11 1939: Enlisted at North Bay, Ontario citing “patriotic reasons”. Private, Infantry, The Royal Regiment of Canada.
June 10 1940: Embarked from Halifax for garrison duty in Iceland with “Z” Force. Now this is actually an interesting story and part of history. As I was going through Grampa’s personnel file, I noticed something beside ONE entry as he embarked for the United Kingdom, all it said was “SOS Z Force”, it had me wondering “what the heck was this Z Force?”. So I did a Google search and found that it was a British-Canadian garrison force in Iceland. I was pointed to a really interesting document which was declassified on March 17 1987 entitled “Z Force in Iceland: An Account of the despatch of Canadian Troops to Iceland and their subsequent operations there”. The document deals with the activities of Z force Canadian Army from the time it was dispatched to Iceland June 10 1940 to it’s departure on April 28 1941.
Canada was an occupying military power in one of the smallest and most isolated countries in the world. How? Why? Turns out when war broke out in September 1939, Denmark and Iceland jointly declared their neutrality (Iceland was granted status as an autonomous state from Denmark after WWI). The Nazis had shown an interest in Iceland throughout the 1930s, sending trade missions and flying instructors to the island. Several teams of German “anthropologists” also roamed Iceland in the late 1930s. As quickly as possible Canada put together a military expedition mysteriously dubbed “Z Force.” So Canada was in Iceland to defend it against a possible German attack!
This snippet from the report indicates that as part of the Royal Regiment of Canada he was part of the initial Z Force commanded by Lt-Col G. Headley Basher.
The force boarded the Empress of Australia on June 9, and departed on June 10 at 1:00 pm. It was the only infantry battalion, and was armed with 12 Lewis machine guns.
June 16 1940: Disembarked Reykjavík, Iceland
The Royals were ferried ashore and marched through silent streets to set up tents (followed 4 months later by Metal Nissen huts) near the local airfield that British engineers had begun expanding. Within days of the Canadians arrival, the British brigades packed up and sailed back to join the war.
I was able to find out that while in Iceland, Benny was a member of C Coy (Company) – I almost missed it, it was mentioned on only 1 page – under Current Service “R.R.C. Rgmt C Coy”
The Empress of Australia, meanwhile, sailed back to Hailfax where the rest of Z Force had been assembled. That secondary force consisted of two more battalions — the Cameron Highlanders and les Fusiliers Mont-Royal who arrived in Iceland on July 9, 1940.
The report indicates the supply and maintenance problems while they occupied Iceland.
Another issue was transportation. Apparently only the R. Regt C brought its own transportation. The second flight Z Force which arrived on July 7 was not so fortunate, no vehicles were sent with them. This happened movement of the troops because the only troop to have vehicles was on the other side of the island, so they had to hire civilian trucks. This was an issue until the arrival of the S.S. Tregarthen on July 27 – which took 16 days to unload.
Other issues included the fact that the British coats were better, as they Canadian sheepskin coats were almost in a state of constant wetness. And, they needed to be sent steel tent pegs 3 ft long because the ground was always frozen and the winds were nearly gale force.
We know that he was in C Coy but not which platoon in that company he was in, but we do have an idea of what training looked like.
So it turns out the biggest threats to the Canadians were the cold – it snowed in August 1940 — and the local moonshine, known as “Black Death.”
In total, Z Force ended up amounting to 2,659 Canadian soldiers stationed in Iceland.
The order was given that the bulk of Z Force was to leave for Britain. They settled down and awaited their British relief force. They were relived by the 70 British Infantry Brigade.
Oct 26 1940: Embarked on the Empress of Australia and on Oct 31 1940 at 10:30 a.m. the ships weighed anchor and put out for the UK, leaving Iceland behind. A small force was left behind (Cameron Highlanders).
The graves of 41 Canadian soldiers, seamen and airmen who died in Iceland during the war are still tended carefully in a cemetery near the airport they defended.
The Report ends saying that ” …. the morale of the Canadian Forces in Iceland remained satisfactory throughout their tour in that northern outpost”.
Nov 3 1940: Disembarked in the United Kingdom/Great Britain- no notation as to where.
Nov 7 1940: The unit was re-designated as the 1st Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Canada, CASF, when a 2nd Battalion was formed to provide reinforcements to the Regiment in Europe.
Dec 9 1940: Admitted to CMC Bordon and was discharged Dec 16 1940.
Jan 17 1941: Awarded 4 days CB (confined to barracks) for AA (Army Act) Sec. 19 – Drunkeness, 1st offence.
Feb 10 1941: SOS (struck off strength) – admitted to hospital. Discharged on Feb 18 1941.
April 1 1941: Forfeits 5 days pay for AWL (absent without leave) 1 hr 36 mins.
Feb 25 1942: Admitted to hospital, discharged March 4 1942.
From Feb 27 1942 to Aug 26 1942 – We know that he was part of the 2nd Canadian Divisional Infantry Reinforcement Unit (2 CDIRU) – On Carrier, the Carrier Instructor C –— Now during this time the 2 CDIRU were involved in The Dieppe Raid During on 19 August 1942 where the Allies launched a major raid on the small French coast port of Dieppe. In the early morning hours, Major-General J.H. Roberts’ 2nd Canadian Infantry Division assaulted the Dieppe beach at four designated sections. 2nd Canadian Infantry Division assaulted the Dieppe beach at four designated sections. At Blue Beach, at the village of Puys (1.6 km east of Dieppe), troops of The Royal Regiment of Canada and The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada arrived late in their bid to take out enemy artillery and machine guns guarding the Dieppe beaches. From the start the enemy pinned down and shot them up until the raid was over.
I have to keep scouring the records to see if I can find out exactly where Grampa was during this time. Again, his Troops War Diaries will be helpful once I obtain them — UPDATE: I found a notation that he attended a Carrier Course (Class A) with 2 CDIRU from March 18/42 to April 18/42 and a Motorcycle course with 2 CDIRU from Aug 8/42 to Aug 22/42.
Aug 27 1942 to Oct 9 1942: He was with the RRC Regt HQ Company “as a Carrier Driver – H (20 days)”.
Oct 10 1942 to —- He was back again with the 2 CDIRU in general fatigues
March 17 1943: Granted daily rate of $1.50.
Dec 28 1943: Awarded 8 days CB and 8 days pay under Sec 40 of AA – I had to do some research here. The Gov’t of Canada, Library and Archives Canada website has S.40 under Miscellaneous Military Offences – “Acting to the Prejudice of Good Order and Military Discipline”. Unfortunately the records don’t actually mention for what specifically.
Jan 15 1944: Awarded The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM), The CVSM is granted to persons of any rank in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntarily served on Active Service and honourably completed eighteen months total voluntary service from 3 September 1939 to 1 March 1947. A silver clasp, a maple leaf at its centre, was awarded for 60 days service outside Canada.
May 30 1945: Granted permission to marry Miss Sally Anne Lee on or after (but not before) June 14 1945.
June 20 1945: Married with permission to Miss Sarah Ann Lee in Agbrigg, Yorkshire, England. Changed next of kin to Mrs. Sarah Ann Richards (wife) of 14 Pick Hiss Rd, Meltham Yorkshire, England.
Aug 18 1945: Granted 30 days disembarkment leave from Aug 18 to Sept 16 1945 and was authorized to draw $0.50 per diem
Sept 2 1945: WWII ends
Sept 21 1945: SOS on discharge. Clothing allowance and Rehab paid.
On December 31 1945, after the Second World War had come to an end, the Royal Regiment of Canada was disbanded and reverted back to Reserve status.
Now , we know with certainty that Grampa was a Driver Mechanic and Instructor in a Carrier Platoon. There is some discussion online about what these roles actually entail.
It was my impression that Driver/Mechanics typically did field maintenance on the Bren/Universal carriers mostly in Support Company. But, now I’m confused, because I’ve also read that each Universal Carrier (tank) had a crew of four, an NCO (Non-Commisionaed Officer), driver-mechanic and two riflemen (see below)
The unique concept of the Universal Carrier Platoon was to provide every Infantry Battalion with the ability to move a small portion of its establishment under armoured protection.
A Carrier Platoon existed in each battalion as part of Support Company. The platoon provided the battalion commander with a relatively mobile force, armed with automatic weapons, and relatively safe from small arms’ fire. The platoon carried out a variety of missions, such as the re-supply of food, ammunition, water and other necessities; casualty evacuation, reconnaissance and even in rare cases assaults on enemy position.
The hard thing with writing about war is that those who have served don’t generally come home and talk about their experiences. The fact is that many veterans did indeed take their stories to the grave, for a variety of reasons. Some came home from up to six years of continuous overseas service and simply wished to forget the whole thing, to pick up their lives as best they could. Others saw no point in reliving the horrors safely buried away under iron-hard layers of protective silence. Still others learned very quickly upon their return to Canada that the civilian populace had no understanding of, and little interest in, the hardships they endured. For thousands of their children, this meant growing up with little other than a vague notion that ‘dad was in the war’.
Through the internet, a legion of veterans’ descendants (myself included) have taken it upon themselves to research their ancestors pasts, if for no other reason than to gain a better understanding of ‘‘what he went through’ and to ensure their legacy lives on for generations – so that their sacrifices don’t ever get forgotten.
To that very point, I asked my uncle Kenny if he knew what Grampa did in the war – “I’m not 100% sure he never spoke much about what he did”. But keeping things to themselves also detracts from their personal history as well (but I totally get why they don’t talk about it). Uncle Kenny said he was pretty sure that Grampa ” … was a driver but not in tanks, more truck/troop carriers. Seems I remember hearing somewhere that he may of driven ambulances too”.
So what did Grampa actually do in the war? At this point, I don’t really know and it’s hard for me to even make a logical deduction because I can hardly make sense of where he was in the UK – again due to the cryptic records and not yet having access to his Troops War Diaries.
Of the 20+ pages of material I have in my possession, I can only pinpoint 3 military camps he was at, all of the other entries all just say “UK” – He was noted as being in camps at Witley, Aldershot and Bordon.
a) Witley Military Camp was a temporary army camp set up on Witley Common, Surrey, England during both the First and Second World Wars. Camp Witley was one of three facilities in the Aldershot Command area established by the Canadian Army; the others being Bordon and Bramshott.
b) Camp Bordon has a long association with the Canadian Army, providing a base for them in both world wars.
c) Camp Aldershot – some 330,000 Canadians passed through Aldershot, doing there training before taking up the defence of the UK while most of the British soldiers were away.
I’ve mapped out the 3 places I was able to place him. Witley and Aldershot have stars and Bordon has a pin.
Benjamin Richards was oversees (Iceland and UK) for a total of 62 months and was discharged from the military on September 21, 1945, in Toronto, Ontario, when he was 29 years old.
According to his Discharge Certificate and his Record of Service, he is “to return to civil life – on demobilization”. His physical description at the time of discharge from service was “brown eyes and brown hair. Fair complexion. Burn scar on right axillae; scar 1.5″ x 1″ on inside of lip”.
His CONFIDENTIAL Discharge Papers note his future plans “I am returning to my former job as a machine tender”.
The military’s recommendation on discharge were as follows:
“A recently married man, 29 years of age, medium build, average appearance. Seems pleasant, steady, reliable labour type”.
” … Richards states that his mother and sister are living in Temiskaming; father has been confined to hospital for about four years. Richards married in England and expects his wife to join him in a few months. They can live with his mother until they secure a house through the paper company, who are building homes for returning service personnel.
In view of physical fitness and experience, Richards seems well advised to return to his former employment”.
If he was unable to return as a Machine Tender, he planned to seek employment as a Truck Driver.
He and Sally had seven children during their marriage. In connecting with my uncle Kenny and my aunt Gwen (I wish my dad was still alive so I could ask him some if this) – they moved in to 102 Anvik Avenue in or about 1955.
At that time Témiscaming was a company (CIP) town and the company owned everything including the homes. The Company sold the houses in or about 1972, Sally and Benny bought theirs. The row house was tiny. 4 rooms total (living room, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 1 washroom). It was only 2 stories, no basement. Aunty Gwen remembers them digging out the basement until they hit a big rock … but, they were able to move the furnace down there. Only the front bedroom had closet space … Grampa built one in the back room for the 3 girls … that and a double bed. The bathroom had a toilet and bathtub … no sink. They were 9 living there – 7 kids, 2 adults. There was also an enclosed, unheated back porch. The whole space was about 600 sq ft. The address was originally 502 Elm Ave, but the Dutch Elm disease killed all the Elm trees ands the town renamed it Anvik Ave and renumbered the houses….. the number became 102 instead of 502.
Benjamin Richards died on June 17, 1977, in Montréal, Quebec, at the age of 61. He suffered a coronary thrombosis while visiting his daughter Gwen and son-in-law Serge and grandson Marc.
I was only 3 years old at the time grampa passed away, so unfortunately I really don’t have any memories of him. I have a few a pictures of us but that’s it – again I wish you were here dad, to share this stuff with me 😭.
Gramma Sally ending up selling the house to Lucien Bernard for $6,000 in 1978 and moved to Verdun, Quebec to live with her daughter Gwen, son-in-law Serge and her grandkids Marc and Caroline.
One of the most rewarding challenges I have accomplished in my genealogy journey is writing about these family stories and legacies so they don’t get lost.
I plan on making these blogs into a family history book. I am extremely passionate about recording family stories and encourage you to at every opportunity.
As I continue to investigate Benny’s time in WWII, I will update the blog.
Welcome to story #2 of my family tree. Today, I’m going to share with you the story of my paternal grandmother’s father’s brother – my Great Grand Uncle, George Victor Lee who was killed in action (KIA) in The Great War.
For this story you’re going to have to stretch your memory all the way back to History class, WWI and trench warfare. I was able to access his troop’s War Diaries and his personal military records. I was able to track his regiment from deployment to the day Pte. Lee was KIA. I did a lot of research and spent countless hours on trying to understand exactly what was going on during the war as he was progressing through it so I could make the story more 3 demential and personal to me and our family. Some of the history parts of this story were “borrowed” from other story tellers well versed in history and the Great War. Some, is me being an amateur historian, war buff and genealogist. I don’t purport this blog to be 100% factually accurate (about the details of the war). I am not a professional, just passionate.
The deadline was 11:00 p.m. on August 4 1914. If Germany did not remove their troops from Belgium, Great Britain would declare war. As Big Ben struck the hour across the Thames that night, Chancellor David Lloyd George wrote, “The big clock echoes in our ears like the hammer of destiny.” Germany remained silent and Great Britain was at war!
At the time that Britain declared war, George Victor Lee was living at 3 Shady Row, Meltham Mills, Yorkshire, England with his wife Agnes (nee Dickenson). He was the son of Tom Lee and Hannah (nee Crabtree).
George enlisted on March 24 1912 when he was 17 years old. His Territorial Force Attestation Papers indicate that he worked as a Millhand (Cottons) with J. Brook Bros Ltd. A bit of research and I found out that Jonas Brook and Brothers was a silk mill complex in Meltham that employed over 1,000 workers during that time.
He was a member the 1/5th Battalion, The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment). Regimental Number: 1985.
The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) (Territorial Force) was mobilized on August 4 1914 at Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, later that month the troop was deployed to coastal defences near Hull and Grimsby. On November 5 1914 it moved to Doncaster in billets and the regiment was assigned to the 147th (2nd West Riding) Brigade in the 49th (West Riding) Division in April 1915 for service on the Western Front, they served together until the Armistice in November 1918.
They were gearing up to take their place in history in what is now known as The Battle of Aubers Ridge (May 9-10 1915), which was a disastrous attack that cost 11,000 British casualties for no material gain: it was a supporting operation to a much larger French attack.
The British attack was to be launched by General Sir Douglas Haig’s First Army. It was intended to attack on two fronts, to the North and South of Neuve Chapelle, with the hope that the two attacking forces could meet up behind the German front lines. Haig had requested extra artillery to increase the strength of the 40 minute bombardment planned for the morning of 9 May, but all available artillery reserves had been sucked into the fighting at the second battle of Ypres, still raging just to the north.
From the army records I obtained, we know that on April 14 1915 The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) embarked for France and Flanders, landing at Boulogne. After which they traveled through Estaires in intense cold.
The War Diaries report that on April 16 1915, 2 days after disembarking, breakfast was late as the cook crew had a tough time recovering from the night prior. They marched off around 10:00 a.m., the road was very bad. Orders were given that every man must have a new pair of boots before they go out – they were only issued a few days before they left Doncaster.
At Estaires on April 19 1915 there was some reported shelling & artillery action.
On April 21 1915, some German shells were noted to have hit the trenches and an order was received to move to billets.
On April 28 1915 a shell hit 4Q, there were reported casualties. The next day, a report was received from another trench that the enemy had been heard under his trench mining.
There was rain in the trenches and some shelling according to the War Diaries. This coincides with the reports of the battle that heavy rain on May 6 and dense mist on May 7 caused a French postponement of the main attack; it would now go in on May 9 and the subsidiary attacks would happen at the same time, not a day later in accordance with the original strategy.
At 4:30 p.m. an HE (high explosive) shell burst among men of D Company @ Croix Marechal killing 4 and wounding 4. The struggles of the 13th London Rgmt & East Lanes came in and stayed night bringing with them “depressing and highly coloured accounts of action”.
May 10 1915: 4:35 p.m. Nine shells fired at Fleurbaix. Batt’n still in dugout.
The British attack on 9 May was a total failure. The Germans had greatly strengthened their lines around Neuve Chapelle after they had been overrun during Neuve Chapelle, and the British artillery bombardment was simply not heavy enough to destroy the new German lines. The British troops went over the top early on the morning of 9 May and were cut down by German machine gun fire. No significant progress was made, and early on 10 May Haig ended the offensive. The British suffered 11,000 casualties in one day of fighting on a narrow front.
George came through that battle. The British casualties in the Northern pincer on 9 May 1915 were as follows:
8th Division: 4,682 of which 192 officers
49th (West Riding) Division: 94 of which 2 were officers
7th Division: 25 of which 1 officer
We are going to fast forward a few months. In October 1915 – the troop is stationed at Canal Bank, North of Ypres taking over from the 1/8 West Yorks. There was considerable activity with the enemy (trench mortars and bombs). There was some 50 casualties of the 4th battalion after a bombardment by the Germans.
If you find the diaries difficult to read, I’ve transcribed them for you:
Nov 1: Much rain, transport mules fell into a trench in chateau grounds late during the evening. Endeavoured for 2 hours to dig them out, one died meanwhile and the other had to be shot.
Nov 2: Usual working parties at night
Nov 3: Relieved at chateau by 8th Rifle Brigade. This battalion relieved the 6th West Riding Regiment in Brigade Reserve in Farms left sector. Coys were disposed as follows: A – West Bank of Canada new bridge 6D, B Coy (company) dug outs at Hulls Farm, C Coy dug out at Modder Farm & Saragossa, D Coy Pelissier Farm Batton Headquarters Malakoff Farm.
Nov 4: In occupation of farms. Carried rations and stores for 6th W.R.R. in trenches
Nov 5: In occupation of farms. B Coy (company) shelled at Hulls Farm 1 casualty, 1 platoon removed to Malakoff.
That one casualty as a result of B Company being shelled was my great grand uncle, Pte George Lee. He is buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, a British military cemetery located in the Belgian village of Boezinge, a town in Ypres .There are 1,643 dead commemorates, of whom 40 could not be identified. Boezinge made up the largest part of the war in the area occupied by the Allies, just opposite the German lines across the Ieper league between Ypres and the Iron . There are 1622 British, 15 Canadians, 2 South Africans and 4 Germans (1 of which are not identified).
I haven’t been able to locate any photos of him. I wish their war records came with their military photo. I am going to try and connect with some of my extended family who still live in England to see if they may have some.
I have a photo of his brother (my great grand father), Joseph Lee.
Which oddly, I have his photo but cannot locate ANY war documents for him … at all. This photo was given to me stating that it was a photo of “Joseph Lee & friend”. I wonder, is that other gentleman in uniform really a friend? Maybe it’s his brother George? They are both wearing WWI British military uniforms and were enlisted at around the same time I assume. Does anyone have any other ideas how I can identify the man on the left in this photo or have any other source to locate Joseph Lee’s military records? I’ve search Ancestry.ca high and low, I’ve searched Google, Forces War Records, The UK National Archives, and nothing. I figure if he has a British uniform on, he has to at least have enlisted, even if he didn’t go to war, and every one who enlists at the very least must have a military file. Any other thoughts would be appreciated!
Thank you kindly in advance, and I hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed working on the story and writing about it!
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.”