Thursday, June 20, 2019

Making Connections


“There’s a reason for our connection.” So says the poster at the entrance to the current exhibit by artist-in-residence Hannah Claus at Montreal’s McCord Museum. The exhibit focuses on several objects she found in the museum’s permanent collection, and her creative response to them.

I have a connection to one of those objects, so that connects me to Claus and her art, to my ancestor who once owned that object, and to the images my ancestor inspired me to create.

Claus, a Montreal-based visual artist of English and Mohawk background, chose a number of objects in the museum’s collection and listened to what they said to her.  “Materials have a language,” she writes in the exhibition notes. “They have a sensory language and rhythm that speak to me as an artist.” Then she created her own objects inspired by what she saw. Through the process, she came to discover the innate links between objects and their makers, their collectors, ourselves and the world around us. “I understand through making,” she says.

Bag, Tonawanda Seneca, 1830-1850; gift of Mrs Alan C. Lindsay, McCord Museum

One of the objects Claus chose for the show is a tiny beaded handbag. Its pink, white, blue, green and black beadwork is delicate and beautiful, and she was drawn to the repetitive curves of the pattern and the artistry of its indigenous creator.

I had an additional reason for wanting to see this handbag: it once belonged to my great-great-grandmother, Catharine Mitcheson Bagg (1822-1914). She gave it to one of her daughters, and a descendant’s widow recently donated it to the McCord.

Catharine Mitcheson grew up in Philadelphia, and married Montreal notary and landowner Stanley Clark Bagg in 1844. The bag is dated 1830 – 1850, so perhaps Catharine received it as a wedding present.

collage by Janice Hamilton, photo of CMB, McCord
Museum, Notman Collection #71147
Writing about ancestors is similar to exploring relationships with objects. I daydream about these individuals and learn about the events that impacted their lives. Sometimes I feel deep connections with them. Hannah’s comments also help explain why people treasure objects they inherit from family members. In addition to their aesthetic properties, a teacup from a mother or a carpentry tool that belonged to a great-uncle can symbolize our connections with these people and help us understand their life experiences.

The exhibit also displays the art that Claus created as a response to the objects she chose. The bag’s beadwork inspired her to create a display of shiny disks hanging on strings, and to riff on the patterns used in the handbag.

This museum experience reminded me of my attempts to incorporate themes related to Catharine Mitcheson Bagg in collaged photo transfers done for an art class several years ago. I had just started doing genealogy research at that time. The McCord Museum has copies of several letters Catharine wrote, and I photographed them because I was interested in what she had to say. In my art project, the letters became important as visual objects. I enlarged a photo of Catharine from my own collection of cabinet cards and framed it inside images of her handwriting.

collage by Janice Hamilton; b&w photo of Fairmount Villa, residence of Stanley Clark Bagg, Studio of Inglis, BAnQ    (click to enlarge) 
In a second collage, I tried to connect Catharine to the place where she lived, starting with a photo of a painting of her. This painting of Catharine Mitcheson Bagg, done by artist William Sawyer in 1865, once hung in my grandparents’ dining room and now belongs to the National Gallery of Canada. I added a hand-painted photo of Fairmount Villa, Catharine’s home in Montreal, as well as a copy of a painting she did, probably in Philadelphia when she was young. In the background are snippets of old maps of Montreal.

Connections can be found everywhere when you look for them.

See also:
Janice Hamilton, "Reflections on a great-great grandmother", Writing Up the Ancestors, April 14, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/04/reflections-on-great-great-grandmother.html



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

John Clark, 19th Century Real Estate Visionary


Clark Street in Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood features two-storey row houses, most of them red brick or grey stone, set back a few feet from the sidewalk. Two hundred years ago, this now densely populated street was just a gleam in the eye of my four-times great-grandfather John Clark (1767-1827), who owned that land. Today, Clark Street looks remarkably similar to the way he envisioned it.

Mile End Lodge 
John must have foreseen that his farmland would someday get swallowed up by the expanding city. He wanted to see it developed properly, and he wanted his descendants to profit from it. Thus, he carefully outlined his development vision in his last will and testament.

A native of County Durham in northeast England, John Clark1 immigrated to Montreal with his wife, Mary Mitcheson, and their young daughter around 1797 and he became a butcher and an inspector of beef and pork.

He probably had a nest egg of cash because he soon bought property here. In 1799, he purchased a property on Montreal’s La Gauchetière Street. Perhaps the Clark family lived there. When he sold it 11 years later, the deeds showed it to be a double lot including two houses and several other buildings..2

Between 1804 and 1814, John purchased several neighbouring farms north of the city limits of Montreal.3 He purchased these properties from French Canadian farmers, then named them Mile End Farm, Blackgate Farm and Clark Cottage Farm.  The land, including several houses, barns, stables and outbuildings, was on the west side of Saint Lawrence Street, now known as Saint-Laurent Boulevard and one of the city’s major arteries. At the time, this was the main road to the countryside, leading past the eastern flank of Mount Royal to the Rivière des Prairies on the north side of Montreal Island.

The area was rural, consisting primarily of fields of wheat, oats and peas, as well as pastureland, fruit orchards and woodlots. Both John and Mary had grown up in rural England, so they preferred to live in the countryside rather than in the crowded city. The Clarks’ grey stone house, called Mile End Lodge, was built around 1815 on Saint Lawrence Street, between what are now Bagg and Duluth streets. They had few neighbours: most Montrealers, especially recent immigrants from Britain like them, lived in town.

Land ownership was important. It conferred social status, it carried the right to vote, and land was a financial tool, commonly used as security for loans. I do not know for sure why John purchased so much land, but even in the short term, it was a smart decision: the soil was fertile and the area was close to the city, where there was a growing demand for meat and produce.

John probably wanted to graze his own cattle on that land, and to grow timothy hay for them. Meanwhile, in 1816, he placed an advertisement in the Montreal Herald saying he was willing to pasture cattle on his property for between eight and 10 shillings per cow.4   

John probably collected rental income from these farms. It was not uncommon for members of the city’s elite, and for skilled tradesmen such as John, to purchase land and rent it to local farmers. He went one imaginative step further and, in 1810, leased a two-storey house on the Mile End Farm to father and son Phineas and Stanley Bagg to operate as a tavern.5 The building was located at a major intersection on St. Lawrence Street, so it was in an excellent location for thirsty travellers. 

Phineas and Stanley ran the Mile End Tavern until 1818. The following year, Stanley married John’s daughter, Mary Ann. As a wedding present, John gave them a lot on St. Lawrence Street, including a two-storey house he named Durham House, that he had purchased in 1814.6

John may have had an emotional attachment to the Mile End Farm and Durham House, but he certainly saw his land as a long-term investment. The population of Montreal had increased from about 6000 in 1780 to 20,000 in 1820, and he foresaw this area would eventually be developed.  
In 1825, at age 58, John wrote his will, leaving his properties to Mary Ann and to his young grandson, Stanley Clark Bagg.

Click to enlarge. Plan for proposed subdivision of a part of Mile End Farm. The names of modern streets have been superimposed on this diagram; computer graphics by Justin Bur. 
He added a codicil a few months later that included a plan for housing lots on St. Lawrence Street and on the yet to be created Clark Street, one block west. He specified that the lots should be 44 feet wide by 90 feet deep, and that the buildings should be built of stone or brick and set back from the road.8

John’s codicil also specified that the sale of the lots were subject to a rente constituée, meaning that, in addition to the initial cost of the property, the buyer was to pay the vendor an amount every year, usually about 6% of the property’s value. This was a common practice in Quebec, designed to provide funds to the seller’s family members for several generations. However, when Clark Street was finally developed decades after John’s death, buyers were not interested in this old-fashioned practice and the rente constituée was eliminated.9

Meanwhile, most of the property lines and all of the street rights-of-way shown on the plan in John’s will are still in effect today. Also, the specifications for building quality were respected, and similar conditions were imposed by neighbouring landowners.

See also:
“Mile End Tavern,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Oct. 21, 2013, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-mile-end-tavern.html

“A Home Well Lived In”, Writing Up the Ancestors, Jan. 21, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/01/a-home-well-lived-in.html

 “John Clark, of Durham, England,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 29, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/05/john-clark-of-durham-england.html

“A Freehold Estate in Durham,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 3, 2019, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-freehold-estate-in-durham_92.html

Notes and Sources:

1. John Clark is usually identified as an inspector of beef and pork. There was another John Clark, a master butcher, living in Montreal at the same time. That John Clark made a will in 1804, while my John Clark made a first will in 1810 and a final one in 1825.

2. Thomas Barron, notarial act #2876, “Deed of sale John Clark to William Scott,” 18 Oct. 1810, BAnQ.

3. These properties are listed in John Clark’s will, (Henry Griffin, notarial act #5989, “Last Will and Testament of Mr. John Clark of Montreal,” 29 August 1825, BAnQ) and in the inventory of his grandson’s estate (Joseph-Augustin Labadie, notarial act #16733, “Inventory of the Estate of the Late Stanley Clark Bagg Esq.” 7 June, 1875, BAnQ.)

4. Jennifer L. Waywell, “Farm Leases and Agriculture on the Island of Montreal 1780-1820,” Dept. of History, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, McGill University, 1989, p. 88; https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item?id=TC-QMM-59553&op=pdf&app=Library (accessed May 14, 2019)

5. J.A. Gray, notarial act, “Lease for five years John Clark to Phineas and Stanley Bagg,” 17 Oct. 1810, BAnQ.

6. The marriage contract is attached to records for lot 110, Saint-Laurent Ward, Montreal, p. 395, Registre foncier du Québec online database.

7. Henry Griffin, notarial act #5989, “Last Will and Testament of Mr. John Clark of Montreal,” 29 August 1825, BAnQ

8.  Clark Street as laid out in the plan attached to John's codicil ran from just south of the city limits (Bagg St. near Duluth) to Saint Catherine Road (now Mont-Royal Ave). Clark Street was developed in segments throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, with the first part, around Mile End Lodge, subdivided in 1873. In the early days, a section of Clark Street was called Mitcheson Street (Mitcheson was John’s wife’s name), but by 1912, it became Clark Street along its length. 

9. The rente constituée was often used in France, England and French Canada. In those days, there was no modern money-lending system, so people could rent land for an annual sum. The borrower/purchaser could redeem the rent, however, the capital value of the property was not reduced by previous rent payments. John Clark and his grandson Stanley Clark Bagg complicated things by using testamentary substitutes to require that their real estate be subject to such arrangements far into the future. Their wills specified that the actual beneficiary was three generations down, while the intervening generations were responsible for keeping the estate in good shape for their children. When the Bagg and Clark properties were subdivided in the late 19th century, the Quebec legislature passed an act to end the substitution.

Image Credits:

Mile End Lodge, watercolour by John Hugh Ross, copyright Stewart Museum, 1970, 1847

Plan attached to codicil to the last will and testament of John Clark, December 1825, BAnQ, CN601 S187.

Further Reading:

Justin Bur, Yves Desjardins, Jean-Claude Robert, Bernard Vallee and Joshua Wolfe, Dictionnaire Historique du Plateau Mont-Royal, Montreal, Les Éditions Écosociété, 2017.

Yves Dejardins, Histoire du Mile End, Québec: Les éditions du Septentrion, 2017.

Justin Bur, “À la recherché du cheval perdu de Stanley Bagg, et des origins du Mile End,” Joanne Burgess et al, Collecting Knowledge: New Dialogues on McCord Museum Collections, Montreal: Éditions MultiMondes, 2015.

Sherry Olson and Patricia Thornton, Peopling the North American City, Montreal 1840-1900. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2011.

Alan M. Stewart, “Settling an 18th-Century Faubourg: Property and Family in the Saint-Laurent Suburb, 1735-1810,” Dept. of History, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, McGill University, 1988, http://digitool.Library.McGill.CA:80/R/-?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=64109&silo_library=GEN01 (accessed May 20, 2019).

This article is also posted on www.genealogyensemble.com




Friday, May 3, 2019

A Freehold Estate in Durham


According to family legend and several published sources,1 my four-times great grandfather John Clark (1767-1827) owned a freehold estate near the cathedral in Durham, England. I imagined a large house surrounded by shady old trees and fields of lush grass.

It probably wasn’t like that at all, but it took me years to discover that.

Clark’s father, a farmer, did not own land. And as a butcher by trade, John did not sound like someone who could either inherit or buy a large piece of property in England. Also, he left for Canada with his wife and young daughter when he was about age 30. If he did have land in England, why would he go to Canada?

I began to wonder whether he owned property in Durham at all.

John Clark 
 Then I found John Clark’s will, written in Montreal in 1825.2 It said, “The said testator doth will, bequeath and devise unto his said daughter Mary Ann, her heirs and assigns, the whole of his real estate of all and every nature and description soever, situated and being in the city or town of Durham or in the neighbourhood thereof in England.”  In other words, Clark did own property in Durham, but his will gave no clues as to where it was located; thus, I imagined the country house.

Part of my problem was in misunderstanding the term “freehold estate.” This expression simply refers to a property, or real estate, that is "free from hold" of any entity besides the owner.

I also imagined that Clark lived on his own land. When he married in 1794,3 he lived in St. Giles parish, a largely agricultural suburb of the city of Durham, but there is no evidence that he owned property there.

Durham Cathedral and River Wear
Finding out whether my ancestor really did own property, and where it was, presented three big challenges: the fact that John Clark is a common name, my distance from Durham, and the lack of relevant historical records. Over the years, I have hired three professional researchers to search collections such as land tax records,4 deeds, enclosure records and tithe applotment records at the archives in Durham. They added small pieces to the puzzle, but the records themselves are incomplete.

Finally, after 11 years of looking at this question off and on, it has become clear that the exact nature and location of this freehold estate will likely remain a mystery, however, Clark may have owned one or more buildings in the city of Durham.

Durham, a very old city in northeast England, is built on a peninsula surrounded by the meandering River Wear. On top of the hill are Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle. Several bridges cross the river, leading to the market square, and from there, Sadler Street goes up to the cathedral. At one time, Sadler Street was also known as Fleshergate and butchers had their shops there. That may be where Clark owned some property.

Map of Durham City by John Wood, 1820. (DUL ref: NSR Planfile C19/2). https://community.dur.ac.uk/4schools.resources/locality/maps2.html

A collection of old Durham city deeds notes that a man named John Clark was an occupant of the building at no. 5 Sadler Street until 1796, which was shortly before my ancestor left for Canada.5 He was probably renting or subletting here, though, since his name is not listed among the main parties to the deeds.

When Clark died in 1827, he left his Durham property to Mary Ann, his only daughter. Mary Ann’s husband, Montreal merchant Stanley Bagg, was executor of the will. Clark also left 13 bequests of 50 pounds each to several of his brothers and sisters in England, and to several of his wife’s relatives.

Two years later, Mary Ann decided to sell the property in Durham.6 It was difficult to manage the property from across the Atlantic, and she could use the proceeds to pay these bequests. William Mitcheson, John Clark’s brother-in-law who lived in London, was appointed an executor of Clark’s will in England. So far, I have not found proof of Clark’s will being probated in England.7

Market Square, Durham
There is strong evidence, however, that the family sold property in Durham in 1842. Mary Ann died in 1835, leaving it to her son, Stanley Clark Bagg (SCB), who was still a minor. Stanley Bagg was the executor of her estate until SCB turned 21 in 1841.

The following summer, Stanley and SCB took a trip together to Durham8 and sold the remaining property. On their return, Stanley recorded the names of the three buyers in a notarized document in which he admitted he had used some of the rental income from the Durham properties for his own purposes. He arranged to repay his son and listed the names of three people who purchased the properties, as well as the name of a Mr. “Bromwell” who had collected the rents.9 The name “Bramwell” was listed in the document regarding no. 5 Sadler Street at the Durham University archives.

Several questions remain: how extensive was the property when Clark first acquired it? Was it sold off bit by bit, or did the properties SCB sold in 1842 represent all of Clark’s real estate? And how did Clark acquire it in the first place? His father left him 70 pounds in 1776,10 when John was nine years old, which was not a huge sum. Perhaps someone helped him invest his inheritance, perhaps he bought the property when he became an adult. Later, in Montreal, he proved to be an astute businessman who invested in property near the city.

Those answers will probably remain a mystery.

See also:

Janice Hamilton, "Ralph Clark's 1776 Will," Writing Up the Ancestors, April 17, 2019, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2019/04/ralph-clarks-1776-will.html

Janice Hamilton, "John Clark of Durham, England," Writing Up the Ancestors, May 29, 2014,  http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/05/john-clark-of-durham-england.html

Photo credits: Detail of portrait of John Clark, Bagg family collection;
photos of Durham City, Janice Hamilton,

Notes and sources.

1. “In Memoriam – Stanley Clark Bagg, Esq., J.P., F.N.S.” The Canadian Antiquarian, and Numismatic Journal: published quarterly by the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal; Vol. 11, No. 2, October, 1873, p. 73.
Also, William H. Atherton, The History of Montreal, 1535-1914, Biographical, vol. 3, p. 406. In this article, Atherton noted that SCB inherited freehold property in County Durham, England, but he wrongly stated that Stanley Bagg was from England. Other authors, including Douglas Borthwick, made the same error.

2. “Last Will and Testament of Mr. John Clark of Montreal,” Act of notary Henry Griffin, #5989, 29 Aug. 1825, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, p. 9.

3. England, Durham Diocese, Marriage Bonds & Allegations, 1692-1900, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q21P-XMQK : 29 July 2017), John Clark and Mary Mitchinson, 07 Jun 1794; citing Marriage, Durham, England, United Kingdom, Church of England. Durham University Library, Palace Green; FHL microfilm.

4. I searched online the land tax records at the County Durham Records Office for the surname Clark: The name does appear, but I did not find a listing that I could identify as my ancestor. http://www.durhamrecordoffice.org.uk/article/10924?SearchType=Param&Variations=N&Keywords=Land%20Tax%20Records&ImagesOnly=N 

5. Durham University Library, Special Collections Catalogue, http://reed.dur.ac.uk/xtf/search, results for John Clark, Durham City Deeds, Bundle 22, Sadler Street alias Fleshergate, 5 Sadler Street, east side, Reference: DCY 23/1-34, Dates of creation: 1776-1856. The entry says,
“These premises were described as a burgage [land or property in a town that was held in return for service or annual rent] and shop, with appurtenances, almost throughout. In 1856 it was called a freehold dwellinghouse and shop….The occupants of the property included, initially, John Clark, by 1796 one Haswell ….”

6. Annex attached to John Clark’s Last Will and Testament, by notary Henry Griffin, 10 Nov. 1829 and attached to records for lot 110, Saint-Laurent Ward, Montreal, p. 391, Registre foncier du Québec online database.

7. I searched online the PROB 11 collection of the National Archives (Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers,) but it might be in another record collection. Also, I have searched the online catalogue of the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, England. 

8. There are three clues that father and son visited Durham. In 1866, SCB wrote an article called “The Antiquities & Legends of Durham, a lecture before Numismatic & Antiquarian Society of Montreal” in which he recalled his own visit to the cathedral with his father more than 20 years earlier.
There is a record in a passenger list of Stanley Bagg and S.C. Bagg travelling from Liverpool to Boston aboard the Acadia. Boston Courier (Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, Sept. 19, 1842, issue 1921;) 19th Century Newspapers Collection, special interest databases, www.americanancestors.org; accessed 18/04/2019.
A search for Mary Ann Bagg in the Durham University Archives online catalogue brings up a result in the Durham Cathedral Library: J.H. Howe Collection. It cites Montreal parish records showing how John Clark was related to Stanley Clark Bagg, and includes an affidavit from Montreal notary Henry Griffin and a note from Charles Bagot, Governor General of British North America, verifying the information. Reference: JJH 11 Dates of creation: 1842 JJH 11/1, 27 April & 9 May 1842.
Similarly, there is a note appended to Clark’s will, dated 13 May, 1842, from Charles Bagot, certifying the information; attached to records for lot 110, Saint-Laurent Ward, Montreal, p. 395, Registre foncier du Québec online database.  

9.  “Account and mortgages from Stanley Bagg Esq to Stanley Clark Bagg.” Act #3537, notary Joseph-Hilarion Jobin, 8 October 1842, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
“From ? Summers for sale of property in the neighbourhood of Durham in England, two hundred and five pounds, one shilling and six.
From  ? Brown, for sale of property in the neighbourhood of Durham in England, four hundred and ninety pounds two shillings.
From ? Elliot and son for sale of property in the neighbourhood of Durham in England, seven hundred and ninety-five pounds fifteen shillings.
From Wm Bromwell for the rents of the aforesaid property in England in 1841 and 1842, three hundred and eighty-one pounds ten shillings.”
In an email dated Jan. 11, 2019, Durham genealogy researcher Margaret Hedley, Past Uncovered, noted, “The names mentioned in the Stanley Bagg document with regard to the sale of property in Durham, I believe may relate to the centre of the city as at least three of the names are (or were) well-known businesses in Durham City.”

10. Last Will and Testament of Ralph Clark, Oct. 11, 1776; 1776/C8/2, University of Durham Special Collections Department

20. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Ralph Clark’s 1776 Will


It is amazing how much a last will and testament can reveal about someone’s life – even a life that ended almost 250 years ago.

Ralph Clark (or Clerk), a farmer in County Durham, England, died in 1776 at about age 55.1 He must have known he was dying because he made out a detailed will, 2 dated a month before his death. He was probably worried because his wife had died the previous year and their children would be orphaned.

Ralph Clark was my five-times great-grandfather; I am descended from him through his second-youngest son, John Clark, who left England around 1797 and settled in Montreal.

I knew little about John’s origins in County Durham. Then I found a note of his birthdate (June 9, 1767) in some family records.3 That discovery set me on track to find the names of John’s parents and most of his siblings. After a visit to Durham in 2009, I set my most of my research on the Clark family aside and only recently picked it up again when I hired a professional genealogist in Durham. She found Ralph’s will.

Wingate Grange Farm in 2009, JH photo.
 Ralph Clark was probably born in Kirk Merrington parish, County Durham, around 1721. His future wife was Margaret Pearson, baptized 31 Oct 1725, in Kirk Merrington parish.4 Ralph and Margaret married on May 8, 1746 in Kirk Merrington5 and the first of their twelve children was born a year later.

Kirk Merrington is a rural parish south of the city of Durham. The nine eldest children were baptized there, or in Auckland Saint Andrew, between 1747 and 1762. The family probably moved to nearby Kelloe parish around 1763, and the three youngest, Edward, John and Lancelot, were baptized at St. Helen’s Church in Kelloe. In the 1760s and 1770s, the family lived on a farm called Wingate Grange, and Ralph’s will revealed that he also leased a farm called Hurworth in Kelloe. He did not own the land.

An ad published in the Newcastle Courant on several occasions between 11 Oct and 10 Jan 1778 described Wingate Grange Farm:6

TO BE LET
(Any one or two farms and entered upon at May Day next)
All that tenant or farm situated at Wingate Grange in the Parish of Kelloe, late in the possession of Ralph Clark deceased, tenant by survey 526 acres and tithe free, within six miles of Durham, well watered and enclosed; a draw kiln lies contiguous and limestone upon the premises; there are two very good farm houses, four barns and all other necessary buildings. The son of the late tenant above mentioned will not be treated with. Also, the farm in the possession of Jonathan Moody, situate at Wingate Grange aforesaid, containing 161 acres - enquire at Elemore Hall or Mr Henry Angus at Birkenside near Shortley Bridge.

Wingate Grange, 2009. JH photo.

Margaret had died in 1775. The record of her burial, included in the Bishop’s Transcripts for Kelloe parish, simply says, “Oct. 15, Marg, Wife of Ra. Clerk of Wingate Grainge.”7 So as he wrote his will, Ralph was clearly concerned about his children’s prospects. 

He mentioned his cousin Robert Dent of Morden Red House in Sedgefield parish.8 Although he did not name Dent as the children’s guardian, Ralph did give Dent some financial control over the bequests left to the younger children. But it is not clear where the children lived after their parents’ deaths. Perhaps the younger ones lived with the Dent family, or with their older siblings.

Ralph must have realized that each of his children had different needs, so he varied his bequests to them. He also ensured that not just his sons, but also his daughters, received inheritances.

Daughters Letitia and Elizabeth were already married when their father died. Letitia (also known as Lettice, and married to butcher Richard Jefferson,) was to receive £15.

Ralph seems to have been particularly concerned about Elizabeth -- or perhaps more accurately, about her husband, George Dobson. Ralph left £40 for Elizabeth in trust, and her husband “shall have no power or control whatsoever and shall in no wise be liable to the payment of his debts or otherwise.”
Son Thomas was left £20 and a horse. Anne was to have £40 and a third of Ralph’s household goods when she reached 21. Ralph and Edward would each get £60 when they reached 21. Lancelot was to receive £90 when he turned 21. Ralph appointed William, Mary and Margaret as joint executors and residuary legatees.

My four-times great-grandfather John Clark, who was age nine at the time of his father’s death, was to receive £70 when he turned 21 – about £8500 in today’s money. While still living in England, John became a butcher and acquired some property, probably in the part of the city of Durham known as Fleshergate, where the butchers plied their trade. He also bought property shortly after arriving in Montreal. Perhaps he was putting his inheritance from his father to work.

Updated April 27, 2019 to add footnote on Robert Dent. 

See also:

Janice Hamilton, “John Clark, of Durham, England,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 29, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/05/john-clark-of-durham-england.html

Sources and notes:

Special thanks to Margaret Hedley, Past Uncovered, for research in County Durham, 2018-2019.

1. Burials, Stockton District, record # 573795 2, St. Edmund the Bishop Church, Sedgefield, 8 Nov. 1776, Ralph Clerk {Clark] of Wingate Grange in the Parish of Kelloe.

2. Will of Ralph Clark, Oct. 11, 1776; 1776/C8/2, University of Durham Special Collections Department

3. Black notebook of Bagg family births, marriages and deaths; private collection. Also Northumberland and Durham Baptisms, Northumberland & Durham Family History Society, Findmypast.com

4. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NBC9-BQD : 11 February 2018, Margret Pearson, 31 Oct 1725); citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 91,097, 94,097.

5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "International Genealogical Index (IGI)," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/2:1:MDK6-CRN : accessed 15 April 2019), entry for Ralph Clark, batch A23286-7; citing FHL microfilm 455,471; submitter not specified. This marriage is also included in Boyd’s Marriage Index, 1538-1840, Findmypast.com

6.  Find My Past

7. "England, Durham Diocese Bishop's Transcripts, 1639-1919," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DZW3-3VF?cc=1309819&wc=9K5M-T3D%3A13618101%2C28349502%2C28349503 : 12 June 2014), Durham > Kelloe > 1762-1852 > image 15 of 723; Record Office, Matlock. Accessed March 31, 2019.

8. Possibly, baptism of Robert Dent in Sedgefield in 1725, father John Dent; and marriage of Johannes Dent to Elizabetha Clark in Sedgefield in 1721.
"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J7SK-P2C : 11 February 2018, Robert Dent, 20 Oct 1725); citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 91,112.
"England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NLZY-9MB : 10 February 2018), Johannes Dent and Elizabetha Clark, 16 May 1721; citing Sedgefield,Durham,England, reference , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 91,112.

For more information about the region in the mid-1800s, see the following publication through Google Books online. You can search for the names of people and places. History, Topography, and Directory of the County Palatine of Durham: Comprising a General Survey of the County, with Separate Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive Sketches of All the Towns, Boroughs, Ports, Parishes, Chapelries, Townships, Villages, Wards, and Manors. To which are Subjoined A History and Directory of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and a List of the Seats of the Nobility and Gentry, Whellan, William, & Co, Whittaker and Company, 1856.



Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A Gentle Country Doctor


As a child, my great-uncle John Stobo Hamilton admired Scottish-born missionary doctor David Livingstone. Famous for his search for the source of the Nile River, Livingstone was much more than an explorer: he wanted to bring Christianity to people in the interior of Africa, and to free them from slavery.

Livingstone so inspired John that he also wanted to become a missionary doctor. John did become both a minister and a physician, but he never got to Africa. His patients in rural North Dakota were lucky indeed.

The third child of James Hamilton and Isabella Glendenning, John was born on the family farm in Scarborough, Ontario in 1866. He was a teenager when the Hamilton family moved to newly founded Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

John’s first job was a temporary teaching position in Saskatoon in 1887. He then taught school on Vancouver Island for two terms between 1888 and 1890.

A young John S Hamilton (far left) in British Columbia
 The Hamilton family moved to Winnipeg, so John joined them there to continue his own studies. He graduated with a B.A. in philosophy from Manitoba College in 1892, then did a year of theology at Knox College in Toronto. He returned to Winnipeg to finish his theology degree, graduating from Manitoba College in 1895. Ordained as a Presbyterian minister a year later, he immigrated to the United States and became a pastor in rural North Dakota.

There he met his future wife, Alison Blanche Wilson, also known as Alice, a petite brunette with beautiful brown eyes. A school teacher, active in the church and the community, she was just what the quiet pastor needed. Before they married, however, he wanted to complete his medical degree. He began studying medicine in Winnipeg, then transferred to the University of Kentucky in Louisville, graduating in 1902.

Two of his classmates did become missionary doctors, but both soon died: one succumbed to bubonic plague after a few months in India, while the other was murdered by bandits in Tibet. It is not clear whether John still planned to become a medical missionary, but at this point, he returned to his ecclesiastical duties in the U.S. After he and Alice were married in 1903, they moved to Chinook, on the plains of central Montana.

John’s dreams of going to Africa were finally dashed when he contracted typhoid fever. After that, he never fully regained his health and he gave up his position as a minister. When the town of Hansboro, North Dakota, needed a doctor in 1906, the family moved there and John practised as a country doctor for the rest of his life.

In 1917, the family moved to the busy town of Bathgate, ND, near the Canadian border, and from there they were often able to visit John’s brothers and their families in Winnipeg, about 80 miles away.

John’s niece Olive Hamilton later described him as a quiet man who was gentle, kind and had a good sense of humour. His patients loved him, but he may have been intellectually rather lonely. He was interested in everything, but there were not many people he could discuss his interests with. “Everyone thought a very great deal of him, though,” Olive recalled in a letter to her cousin.

In his later years.
John and Alice had two children: Alison Isabel Hamilton (known as Isabel), born in Montana in 1905, and Donald James Hamilton, born in 1913. Tragically, Donald died of complications from diphtheria in 1915 and was buried in the Hamilton family plot in Winnipeg.

As a teenager, Isabel often accompanied her father when he made house calls so she could practice driving, and this gave them the opportunity to get to know each other well. She left for college in 1921 and became a public school teacher. By the time she married in 1933, it was too late for her father to attend the wedding. He died of a heart attack on August 22, 1932, and is buried with his young son, his mother and his siblings in Winnipeg. Isabel died in 1968 and Alice in 1971; both are buried in Litchfield, Minnesota.




See Also:

“Five Brothers,” Dec. 1, 2018, Writing Up the Ancestors, https://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2018/12/five-brothers.html

“From Lesmahagow to Scarborough,” Dec. 13, 2013, Writing Up the Ancestors, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2013/12/from-lesmahagow-to-scarborough.html

“The Stobos of Lanarkshire,” Dec. 28, 2016, Writing Up the Ancestors, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-stobos-of-lanarkshire.html

Sources:

Thanks to Alison Mossler Wright, of Dallas Texas, for researching her grandfather’s life and writing about him so eloquently. This article is an abbreviated version of hers.

1. “David Livingstone (1813-1873),” http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/livingstone_david.shtml, accessed March 21, 2019.

2. John Stobo Hamilton, born April 17, 1866; Hamilton family bible, private collection.

3. "North Dakota, County Marriages, 1872-1958," database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGKR-XR5N : 26 September 2018), John S Hamilton and Alison B Wilson, 11 Jun 1903; citing Pembina, North Dakota, United States, State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck; FHL microfilm 

4. 1910 census    "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MLG2-X2L : accessed 21 March 2019), John S Hamilton, Sidney, Towner, North Dakota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 233, sheet 8A, family 113, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1148; FHL microfilm 1,375,161

5. "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKVZ-HW4 : accessed 21 March 2019), John S Hamilton, Bathgate, Pembina, North Dakota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 3, sheet 1A, line 33, family 6, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1740; FHL microfilm 2,341,474.

6. John Stobo Hamilton, died Aug. 22, 1932; gravestone, Elmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

T. G. Hamilton’s Busy Life


Dr. Thomas Glendenning Hamilton (1873-1935) became internationally famous because of his investigations into psychic phenomena.1 But his more mundane activities probably had a greater impact on the lives of his patients, friends and colleagues than his psychic research did.

undated photo of a young TGH
TGH, or T. Glen Hamilton,2 as he was known, grew up in a farming family, first in Ontario and then in Saskatchewan. He graduated from Manitoba Medical College in 1903, at age 30. After interning for a year, he set up a practice in medicine, surgery and obstetrics in Elmwood, a suburb of Winnipeg. Several years later, he and his wife, Lillian, moved into a large house in the neighbourhood. They raised their family there, and he had an office on the ground floor.

 
Elmwood’s first doctor, he was the kind of old-fashioned physician who made house calls (by horse and buggy in the early years) and delivered babies at home.3 According to his daughter, Margaret, his outstanding quality was his genuine concern for people: “To his many patients, he was not only the beloved physician, but he was the staunch friend and wise counsellor as well.”4

He plunged into community involvement and was elected to the Winnipeg Public School Board in 1907. Perhaps his experience as a teacher before he went to medical school inspired his interest in education. He remained on the school board for nine years, serving as chairman in 1912-13 and helping to guide the board as it built several new schools in the fast-growing city. He helped to establish fire drills and implement free medical examinations for public school students, and he believed in the benefits of playground activities.

the family home at 185 Kelvin St.
He was a member of Elmwood Presbyterian Church (later known as King Memorial United Church) from the time he settled in Elmwood. An elder for 28 years, he was chairman of the building committee and helped raise funds for the construction of the church.5

In 1915, TGH resigned from the school board after he was elected to the Manitoba Legislature as the Liberal member for Elmwood. At that time, his riding stretched all the way to the Ontario border.

These were times of social change. Manitoba’s Liberals brought in several landmark bills, including the right to vote for women, the mother’s allowance act and workmen’s compensation. Nevertheless, a strong Labour vote swept the Liberals from power in the 1920 provincial election and TGH lost his seat.

He then shifted his energies to the medical field. He was a lecturer in the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Medicine, and a member of the surgical staff of the Winnipeg General Hospital. He wrote several articles that were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on the treatment of hand injuries, on the incidence of goiter (enlarged thyroid) in children, and on ulcerative colitis. He served as president of the Manitoba Medical Association in 1921-1922, and he was a member of the executive committee of the Canadian Medical Association from 1922 to 1931. He founded the Manitoba Medical Review and he was the first president of the alumni association of the University of Manitoba.6

TG and Lillian, 1932
All these volunteer activities in addition to his medical practice must have made him a very busy man. Nevertheless, after the death of his three-year old son Arthur from influenza in 1919, he found time for a new passion: psychic phenomena. His ultimate question was whether some part of the human mind, consciousness, or personality survives bodily death.
For more than a decade, he and Lillian organized weekly séances at their home, watching tables that moved on their own and communicating with spirits. He tried to take a scientific approach to his observations and to prevent fraud, so he took hundreds of photos of these events.

When TGH addressed an audience of Winnipeg physicians about his research in 1926, he was afraid he would lose his professional reputation as a result, but they listened to him with what he later acknowledged was “a tolerant and good-natured skepticism.”7 Most of them probably did not agree with his comments, but he had accumulated a bank of good will through his many professional and volunteer activities, and he had a strong reputation for integrity.8

When he died of heart attack in 1935, at age 61, hundreds of people filled King Memorial United Church, where he had been active for so long, to say goodbye to this man who had been such an important part of the community.9

This article is also posted on www.genealogyensemble.com

See also:

“Tales of a Prairie Pioneer” Writing Up the Ancestors, Feb. 1, 2019, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2019/02/tales-of-prairie-pioneer.html

“Five Brothers,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Dec. 1, 2018,   http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2018/12/five-brothers.html

“The Legacy,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Jan. 4, 2019,   http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-legacy.html 

“Arthur’s Baby Book,” Writing Up the Ancestors, March 29, 2017, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2017/03/arthurs-baby-book.html


Sources and Notes:

1. The Hamilton Fonds at the University of Manitoba Archives includes photos, letters, lecture notes, newspaper clippings and other documents related to TGH’s life and research interests. See “Hamilton Fonds” University of Manitoba Libraries, http://umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/archives/digital/hamilton/index.html

2. Although TG was my paternal grandfather, I never met him. He died many years before I was born.

3.  “Elmwood’s First Doctor,” The Elmwood Herald, June 10, 1954.

4 Margaret Hamilton Bach. “Life and Interests of Dr. T. Glendenning Hamilton.” Proceedings of the First Annual Archives Symposium. University of Manitoba Department of Archives and Special Collections, 1979, p 89-90.

5. For more information about the church, see “Historic Sites of Manitoba: Elmwood Presbyterian Church / King Memorial Presbyterian Church / King Memorial United Church / Gordon-King Memorial United Church,” Manitoba Historical Society, http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/sites/gordonkingmemorialunited.shtml, accessed Feb. 22, 2019.

6. Ross Mitchell, M.D. “Dr. T. Glen Hamilton, the Founder of the Manitoba Medical Review,”
The Manitoba Medical Review, vol. 40, no. 3, p 219.

7. Margaret Hamilton Bach, Ibid, p. 92.

8. Dr. Charles G. Roland, “Glenn – the Mystical Medic from Manitoba,” Ontario Medicine, May 18, 1987, p. 29.

9 “Death of Dr. T. Glen Hamilton Ends Life of Marked Achievements,” The Elmwood Herald, April 11, 1935.




Friday, March 1, 2019

Bread and Buns for the Wounded


When I started researching the Hamilton family’s history and realized that my grandfather’s only sister, Maggie, had died at the age of 23, I cried. I felt I knew her personally after reading the two letters she wrote from Saskatchewan to her aunt in Ontario in 1885. Those letters portrayed a young woman full of promise: observant, articulate and empathetic.

this may be a photo of Maggie
 My last post focused on a letter in which Maggie described life on her family’s prairie farm. This second letter describes her experiences during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 when Canadian government soldiers set up a field hospital near her home to care for those wounded in battle.

She also expressed sympathy for friends and relatives who had recently lost young children. When she wrote this letter in July, she had no idea that her father would die of a heart attack in September, and that she herself would contract typhoid less than a year later.

RIP, Margaret Hamilton, born Scarborough, Ont. Sept. 26, 1862, died Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, June 24, 1886.

(See also "Maggie Hamilton's Letter from Saskatoon, 1885," Writing Up the Ancestors, Feb. 15, 2019)
          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Saskatoon, May 13, 1885
My Dear Aunt,

            We received your kind and welcome letter and were very sorry to hear of you having so much trouble. No doubt you will miss your dear little child very much but what a comfort it must be to you to think that he is now safe in the Arms of Jesus. There are so many of our friends gone to their graves since we left Ontario. I’m sure it is a warning to us all to keep watch for we know not the day nor the hour that the Son of Man cometh.

            A few weeks ago Mr. and Mrs. Copland, our most intimate friends out here, lost their only child, a little girl of about four years of age. She died of diphtheria. They left four little children lying in their graves in Ontario and came out here partly to be away from the places where they had so much trouble.

                                                                                                                   July 20th

I am very sorry to have been so long in answering your kind letters but we have been so very busy this summer that I have neglected my writing.... The soldiers are all gone now and the place seems very quiet. I think you have no idea what a stir war makes in a country. Mother says that we have seen a great many changes since we parted with you at the station in Toronto and I’m sure we have. I only wish that we could meet and have a talk.

You may be sure we were very anxious for a while last Spring not knowing the night that they might come in on us. When the Indians did come, they camped on our place. People think now that there would likely have been more trouble with them had we not been gathered together in Saskatoon and prepared as best we could to meet them. We hear after that White Cap had got orders to take all arms from Saskatoon people. No doubt Father will tell you all about them.

I baked bread and buns for the wounded when they were here and after they were gone for the London Fusiliers. Sometimes baked about eighty weight a day in a little no. 8 stove. I’m sure the wounded men got every attention. I just wish you could have seen the Hospital to see how comfortably they were fixed up, everything so tidy and clean. I think many of them could not have been so well attended to if they had been at home. I believe they had almost every kind of fruit and vegetables you could think of in the cases of presents that were sent out to them.

We made a party for them before they went away. Tea was served from four to six and after that a short entertainment and after that was over dancing commenced which lasted until morning. We had a very nice time. Had another party in Saskatoon on Dominion Day. The London Fusiliers were down from the Crossing. Were playing games all day and some of the songs they sang they had composed since they came out telling about their journey and the band was there too. Many things I could tell you if I saw you that I cannot write about. I must now close as the mail leaves Saskatoon in about an hour. I am glad to think the war is over. All send our love to you all.

                                                                                          From your loving niece,
                                                                                          Maggie Hamilton

Maggie's remains now lie in the family plot in Winnipeg.