Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Old Homes and Homesteads – Part 9 – Alberta, Canada and Washington, USA

Another of my paternal great-grandfathers, Newton Isaac Thompson, was born in Dunnville, Haldimand County, Upper Canada, on October 29, 1859. We believe his father, John T. Thompson, had come from New York State around 1840 to settle on new farm lands that opened up in the area. Newton’s mother, Elizabeth Emerson, was born in Leicestershire, England, and had come to Canada in 1835 with her parents and three siblings.

John and Elizabeth had eight children, all born in Haldimand County. Elizabeth died around 1868 and John remarried to Nancy Van Der Vere. They had nine more children together! John and Nancy, and several of their children immigrated to North Dakota, USA, in 1878, as new farm lands opened up in that state. Newton followed in 1879.

Newton met his future wife, Margaret Mary Anderson, in North Dakota. She had arrived with members of her family from Goderich, Huron County, Ontario, Canada, in 1880. Margaret had been born in Goderich on November 5, 1857. They were married in Mapleton Township, Cass County, North Dakota, in 1884. Newton and other members of both his and Margaret’s families farmed in the Mapleton area until the early 1900s. They had five children, all born in North Dakota. My grandmother, Carrie Jane, was born there on September 26, 1889.

Newton heard about new farm lands available in Alberta and in 1909 travelled north to look at the opportunity. Eventually he and his sons bought two sections of irrigation land from the Canadian Pacific Railway, near the village of Keoma, about 40 miles east of the City of Calgary. In 1910 he moved his wife and three of his children to the new farm. They started building a home the first year, while living in a granary. Newton and Margaret’s other children arrived the following year.

Original Thompson family farm house on the home quarter east of Keoma, Alberta; original house is on the right with a later addition on the left
(photo taken by Wayne Shepheard, 2005)
Photo taken of Thompson family members in front of house in village of Keoma, Alberta, ca 1915
Carrie Jane (Thompson) Shepheard in front of Thompson family home in village of Keoma, Alberta, ca 1915; 
The home was site of local telephone exchange.
Newton turned the farm and new house over to his son and built a new home in the village of Keoma. It was at this house that the first area telephone exchange was installed in 1912. Newton’s youngest daughter, Mae was the local operator.

In 1916 Newton, Margaret and Mae moved a few miles north to the village of Irricana where he built a new home. He had purchased the local butcher shop and general store in the town in 1913. Daughter Carrie operated the telephone exchange in the rear of the store until her marriage in 1914.

View of the main street of the village of Irricana, looking west toward the Canadian Pacific Railway station, ca 1910
Newton Isaac and Margaret Mary Thompson with daughter, Elizabeth Mae, 
in front of their new home in the village of Irricana, Alberta, ca 1916
Photo of former Thompson family home in village of Irricana, Alberta (photo taken by Wayne Shepheard, 2005)
In 1918, Newton retired and he and Margaret moved to the City of Calgary. She died in 1919. Newton moved to Seaview, Washington, USA, in 1920 where he resided until his death in 1937. Both are buried in Union Cemetery in Calgary.

Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is a past Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Old Homes and Homesteads – Part 8 – Alberta, Canada

One of my paternal great-grandfathers, James Shepheard, was born in Cornwood Parish, Devon, England, on August 13, 1865. A copy of his birth certificate was what led me to find many generations of the family in that region.

James came to Canada in 1913, aboard the SS Ascania. In England he had worked as a gentleman’s servant, a footman and a ship’s steward for commercial passenger and other ships. His personal bible, in which he lists the names and birth dates of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren was purchased in New York USA, on one of his voyages, in 1912. He was then on one of his voyages, on the ship, SS Usk, probably one of the last trips he made before he emigrated from Britain.

James had lost his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Pearson) in 1891, of phthisis (tuberculosis) only a few months after the birth of their son, James Pearson Shepheard. Following that unfortunate event, his son was mostly in the care of relatives while James was away at sea.

James Pearson immigrated to Canada in 1907 and, after a brief sojourn in Ontario, settled in southern Alberta working as a ranch hand. His father followed him to the prairies. For many years James worked as a farm labourer near Irricana, about 40 miles northeast of the City of Calgary.
 
Map of Southern Alberta showing locations of cities of Calgary and Edmonton and the villages of Irricana and Carwnood
The 1921 Canada census, taken in June, records James then living on farm lands in northwestern Alberta, near a place called Carnwood, curiously enough, which is about 65 miles southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. He had just recently arrived in that community and taken up possession of homestead lands in the Southeast Quarter of Section 3, Township 49, Range 5 West of the 5th Meridian. He was actually living a few miles to the north while he worked to improve the land. 

In 1926, at the age of 61, he was granted title to the homestead. By then he had built a log home (16’ x 18”) worth $100, and a log barn (22’ x 32”), worth $200, according to the homestead application document. He had also cleared the brush and trees from 1 ½ acres, had a well dug and put up 2 ½ miles of rail fence all the while farming the property as well.
 
James Shepheard at his homestead near Carnwood, Alberta – ca 1936
James Shepheard outside the barn he built on the Carnwood homestead lands – ca 1936
James worked the lands for at least sixteen years before he moved back to Irricana to live with his son and family. Today much of the quarter-section is covered again by brush which James may have originally cleared in order to farm the land. In addition a highway runs through the middle of the property.
 
Portion of Southeast Section 3-49-5W5 (photo taken by Wayne Shepheard, 2009)
James Shepheard died on October 30, 1940, at the age of 75, and was buried in the Irricana cemetery.

Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is a past Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Old Homes and Homesteads – Part 7 – Kansas, Oklahoma and Oregon, USA and Alberta, Canada

My maternal grandfather, Edwin Miller, was born in Grant Township, Riley County, Manhattan, Kansas, on February 17, 1870. He spent his formative years in that state but moved around quite a bit over his lifetime. In 1894, together with his father, Isaac, he acquired the title for a quarter section homestead near Yukon, Canadian County, Oklahoma (Southeast of Section 11, Township 12 North, Range 5 West). On May 30, 1895 he married Martha Alwilda Jane McDaniel who had come to the area from Virginia with other family members the preceding year. I mentioned in the last post that she had been born in Lee County, Virginia.

Ed and Mattie had three children between 1896 and 1902 while living at the Yukon County farm. There was apparently some disagreement between Ed and his father as to who would ultimately own the property and, around 1903, Ed moved his family back to Kansas. They had one child while living near Grenola, Elk County, Kansas and another when they were back in Oklahoma near Verden, Grady County. The Yukon farm eventually ended up being owned by Ed’s sister, Mable Ivy Pontius.

I was fortunate to be able to visit the farm in 2005. Today it has a modern farmhouse and outbuildings on it. None of the original buildings remain. There is one concrete silo that may have been built by Ed’s father and sister.

Panoramic view of the Southeast quarter of Section 11, Township 12, Range 5 West, near Yukon, Oklahoma
Ed and Mattie learned of lands opening up in the Pacific Northwest and left by train for a new adventure there in March 1914. My mother was born in 1917 while they were in Corvallis, Benton County, Oregon. Ed was shown as a farmer there. By 1920 they were farming on another property in Deschutes County, Oregon. The census of that year says they were on homestead lands but I have not yet found documentation to confirm that.

In 1928 Ed and Mattie apparently heard from her sister in Alberta, Canada that farm lands were opening up through the Canadian Pacific Railway. Ed purchased a quarter section of land from the railway (Southeast of Section 5, Township 28, Range 26, West of the 4th Meridian) near Irricana, Alberta, and leased another quarter just to the east. He later built a small home on the property.

Ed farmed the Irricana property until his death on November 2, 1953. Mattie died just over two years later, on February 4, 1956. The farm is still fondly remembered as a place where we grandchildren spent parts of many summer vacations.

Ed, Mattie and daughter Norma at the Irricana home in 1933. Exterior was not yet finished and had just a tar paper cover.
Ed and Mattie, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, celebrated at their Irricana home, shown with the family of Norma, Bill, Lynn and Sharon Shepheard. The author was born just six months later. Ed had added a window to the front of the home by then and the exterior was finished with clapboard siding.
Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is a past Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated.