Wednesday, 28 October 2015

From Unwanted to Prosperous

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat." -- Mother Teresa

Between 1869 and the 1950s, over 100,000 children were sent to Canada from Great Britain during the child emigration movement. The purpose of this program was mainly to give war orphans a better life in a country far removed from conflict. However there was a dark side: many children were in fact not orphans but had been deemed unwanted by their families and society in general. The child care organizations profited when they essentially sold these children to farmers in Canada and other Commonwealth countries. Siblings in foster care were separated from their families and each other, in many cases never seeing them again.

My grandmother's elder brother Alfred Stride came to Canada under this program at the age of sixteen. He was not an orphan; although his father had been killed in 1914, his mother was still alive. However for as yet unknown reasons he was shipped off to Canada, arriving on the steamship Metagama in the spring of 1916.

After working on a farm in the town of Macklin Saskatchewan for the summer, he lied about his age to enlist in the Canadian army. En route to his deployment he made a brief stop in England to see his family (which inspired his younger sister Dorothy to come to Canada seven years later) and then continued on to Europe where he served in France and Belgium.

After the war he returned to Canada, this time to British Columbia where he signed onto the ship Makura as a steward and sailed several tours to Honolulu Hawaii and Sydney Australia. At last he settled down in New Westminster (now part of Vancouver), where he married Maud Black in 1925 and ran a farm where they raised chickens. In the early 1940s he tracked down his sister Dorothy, who subsequently spent several summers helping out on the farm.

Alfred Stride and his wife unfortunately had no children, and remained in the Vancouver area until their deaths. He is buried in the Surrey Centre Cemetery.

*This is a re-post from the original Cinquefoil Heritage blog on Blogster which has been removed by the author.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Seeking Security

"We must plan for freedom, and not only for security, if for no other reason than that only freedom can make security secure." -- Karl Popper

People emigrate for many reasons: war, famine, the promise of land, a job, or a better life in general. The Archibald family of Londonderry Ireland went first to the United States, and then to Nova Scotia, becoming one of the largest and most well-known families in that province's history.

John Archibald was born in 1671 to Robert Archibald and Ann Boyd in Maghera, a small town in what is now Northern Ireland. He married Margaret Wilson of Londonderry in 1716. The family left Ireland not long afterward, most likely to escape the burgeoning violence of the first Jacobite Rebellion and persecution of non-Catholics. They settled in Nutfield, New Hampshire, later known as Londonderry.

There are conflicting accounts as to how many of their nine children were born in Ireland and how many in New Hampshire. Several sources, including Miller's Historical And Genealogical Record of the First Settlers of Colchester County (pub. 1873) state that all were born in Ireland. However much of the information therein was gleaned by oral family tradition, so it's quite possible that the stories were misinterpreted. The Vital Records of Londonderry New Hampshire (pub. 1914) clearly shows that the seven younger children of John and Margaret Archibald were in fact born in New Hampshire.

John Archibald's name appears on the list of proprietors in the Londonderry NH Grant of 1722. His farm was located about 3 miles east-southeast of the first church building, and was designated in the records as "John Archibald North" to distinguish him from another settler of the same name who had been granted land in the community two years earlier. By 1728 he had amassed 257 acres of farmland and he was doing well.

Both John and his wife Margaret died in 1751, within months of each other, and are buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, New Hampshire. But that's not the end of the Archibald story.

In the early 1760s things were changing. The Archibald children were grown and most of them had married and started families of their own. But difficulties soon emerged on the horizon. Britain had declared war on France and Spain, and the consequences were spilling over into colonial America. Perhaps in an effort to preserve the clan from more violence, the Archibalds decided to leave for a safer place. So in December of 1762, seven siblings and their families packed up and left for Nova Scotia. Only two brothers with their families remained in New Hampshire.

Once resettled in Truro, Nova Scotia, several members of the family became leading citizens in the community. The eldest, David, was the first Justice of the Peace and also was the first who represented Truro Township in Parliament. His brother Samuel became one of the first elders of the Presbyterian congregation.

The many Archibald descendants (estimated at over 20,000) are spread throughout the Maritime provinces and New England to this day. They included doctors, politicians, lawyers, scholars, tradespeople, and at least one prominent historical figure: a great-great grandson of John Archibald was Sir Adams George Archibald, Solicitor General of Nova Scotia, later the first Governor of Manitoba, and a father of Confederation.

*This is a re-post from the original Cinquefoil Heritage blog on Blogster which has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Calling of the Church

"If there is anything that keeps the mind open to angel visits, and repels the ministry of evil, it is pure human love." -- N. P. Willis

"Rev. John Waddell was born in Scotland, April 10th 1771, and obtained his education in Glasgow." This line from Chapter 17 of Thomas Miller's Historical and Genealogical Record of Colchester County Down To The Present Time (pub. 1873) was one of the first hard facts that we knew about this ancestor who became an influential man in the fledgling Presbyterian Church of Canada.

For many years we only had the bare numbers such as birth and death dates, marriage date, birth dates of his children, etc. But these really didn't tell much about the man himself. Where exactly was he from? Where did he live and go to school? Why did he make the harsh trip across the ocean to follow his calling?

New records are becoming available all the time, so recently I decided to take a more in-depth look at this man to see what I could find out, and discovered a wealth of information.

Born in the small town of Shotts, located approximately halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, John Waddell obtained a Master of Arts degree at Glasgow College and followed up with theology studies under the famous Rev. George Lawson at the Associate Synod Hall in Selkirk. Shortly after being ordained in 1798 he was posted to Nova Scotia. En route he made a brief stop in New York, and although a number of opportunities were presented to him, he chose to continue on to Nova Scotia to preside over the congregations of Truro and several adjacent communities.

In 1802 he married Nancy Blanchard, daughter of Jotham Blanchard. They had seven children, several of whom went on to have distinguished careers themselves - one son was also a Presbyterian minister and another son became a medical doctor.

The family was joined by John Waddell's older brother James in 1813. James had also studied for the ministry, but upon completion of his studies he balked at some of the rules and regulations he was told he must affirm to, and being rather strong minded he would not accept them. By the time he arrived in Nova Scotia he was a skilled finish carpenter and cabinet maker.

Rev. Waddell was well-known and loved in all the communities where he preached; as described in History of the Presbyterian Church in the Dominion of Canada by William Gregg (pub. 1885) he was a "plain, practical preacher ... indefatigable, kind, and sympathetic." He was forced to retire in 1836 as the result of injuries from a fall when the wagon in which he was riding overturned, but he remained keenly interested in the affairs of the community until his death in 1842. He and his wife are buried at the Robie Street Cemetery in Truro.

*This is a re-post from the original Cinquefoil Heritage blog on Blogster which has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The American Connection

"It is a revered thing to see an ancient castle not in decay, but how much more it is to behold an ancient family which has stood against the waves and weathers of time." --Francis Bacon

The Blanchards are a well-known New England family. Originating in France, some fled to England to escape the Huguenot (French Protestant) persecution, and arrived in Boston from England in the 1600s. Their descendants settled throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. However the chaotic period following the Revolution prompted one illustrious member of the family to depart for Canada, thus forging connections that resonate to this day.

Jotham Blanchard was born in Dunstable NH in 1745, the ninth of 12 children. Both his father and grandfather had served in the military, and therefore it seemed right for him to also serve. He rose through the ranks quickly, eventually becoming a Colonel; however he wasn't an active combatant.

He married Elizabeth Treadwell and not long afterward he moved his growing family to Peterborough NH. During and after the war he was active in municipal politics, being at various times a town moderator, selectman (one of a board of town officers chosen annually to manage local affairs), and a member of the Committee of Safety.

In 1776 he signed an Association List in which he pledged property and life in support of the Revolution. Near the end of the war he sat on a committee to decide what action should be taken against those who had been on the British side. The final report recommended that Loyalists should have their property confiscated, while no action should be taken against neutral parties.

However post-war acts of retaliation and greed displayed by the victorious colonists disillusioned him, and so he immigrated to Nova Scotia with his family in 1785. It was this move that has caused a number of historians to postulate that Jotham was a Loyalist himself but there is little direct evidence of such. The family settled in Truro Nova Scotia, where in 1796 Jotham obtained a grant of 23,000 acres of land in Sydney County. Jotham and his wife Elizabeth had ten children.

The Blanchards are inextricably linked to two other large and influential Nova Scotia families: Archibald and Waddell. Legend has it that the reason there was so much intermarriage among the three families was that no one else was good enough. (The fifth daughter of Jotham and Elizabeth married into the Waddell clan, from whom my maternal grandmother Lucy is descended. I will be discussing Lucy in an upcoming post.)

It's interesting to note that one of Jotham's grandsons, Hiram Blanchard, became the first Premier of Nova Scotia following Confederation.

*This is a re-post from the original Cinquefoil Heritage blog on Blogster which has been removed by the author.