Charles Arthur Stevens signature

On this day in 1915 Charles Arthur Stevens, a refrigeration engineer, signed up in Smiths Falls. He was born in Deseronto on September 25th, 1895, the son of Charles Stevens and Teresa (née Hunt). They were living in Toronto when he enlisted.

Stevens joined the 59th Battalion with the regimental number 454715. He was five feet five inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. He served for a year before being discharged as medically unfit (weak lungs). He enlisted again in Toronto on January 9th, 1918 and was accepted. He survived the war and was back with his parents in Toronto in 1921, living at 1 Audley Avenue. He left Canada for Detroit, Michigan on August 2nd, 1925.

A recent accession to the Archives gives us an insight into what life was like for the men who worked in the lumber shanties which supplied firms like the Rathbun Company with their raw materials.

James R. Hill was born in Tyendinaga in around 1863, the son of Isaac and Lucinda Hill. Isaac died before 1871. The photograph below shows James with his mother and two sisters, Susan (on the left) and Elizabeth Josephine (standing), and Elizabeth’s daughter, Elsie. The picture was taken by Herbert Osborne, a Deseronto photographer who was active in the early 1890s.

Members of the HIll family in around 1892

The Hill family, c.1892 2015.19 (1)

James married Lucretia Hill on October 14th, 1896 and the couple had two children: Ruth, born in 1898 and Selma, born in 1900. In the 1901 census, James and Lucretia were living next door to Lucinda, Elizabeth and Elsie. Susan had married a Maracle and in 1902 was living in Rochester, New York.

In October 1902 James was working in Collins Inlet, near Manitoulin Island, in a lumber camp. He wrote a letter to his sister, Susan, talking about his life in the camp and his feelings about his distant family members in Deseronto.

Letter from James Hill to Susan Maracle, 2015.19 (13)

Letter from James Hill to Susan Maracle, 2015.19 (13)

Collins Inlet Nov 30th 1902
Camp No. 1
Dear Sister Susan
I must write a few lines to you to-day, its almost six weeks since I have been at this camp. I like this place very much nearly all that are working here are from Deseronto and Reserve, we are getting good board, nice clean Camp. The Weather is fine to-day, it snowed yesterday for a little while, but it turned into rain, I got a letter from home last Friday. I am very glad to hear that Elsie likes the school so well and its also a good thing that the officers all think so much of her. I intend to go and see her before I go home and I must write to her before Christmas. I wrote to Lucretia the second Sunday I was here but she never answered me yet, and perhaps is’nt going to. Charlie Claus is here with me and we are going to stay all winter and drive the river in the Spring if we keep our health, there was about forty Indians here from our Reserve, and about sixteen Chippewa Indians from Manitoulan Island, but most of our Indians have left here for some other Camps. I suppose you see Ruth & Selma some times. If I can draw some money some time before Christmas I will send the children some money for presents, and you try and get their picture together and send it to me I think if I even had their picture I wouldn’t get so lonesom after them some times, tell them I cannot go to see them until Spring. I hope the poor children are both well kiss them both for me. This will be all Good Bye
From Your Brother
James R. Hill
Collins Inlet
Algoma District
Camp No. 1

It is not clear what happened to James after this. His wife moved to Rochester in 1906 and was working as a servant for the Babcock family in 1910. In 1911 Lucretia married William Charles Holley, with whom she had another three children. She died in Brighton, New York on September 2nd, 1957.

Perhaps the reason this letter survives is because James died young and it was kept as a memento of his life and his affection for his family. It was found in a house in Main Street, where Lucinda Hill, James’s mother died in 1933.

Robert Edward Large signature

On this day in 1915, Robert Edward ‘Teddy’ Large enlisted at Camp Barriefield in Kingston. He was born in Belleville on April 6th, 1898, the son of Robert Large and Eliza (née Clark). In the 1901 and 1911 censuses, the family were living in Deseronto and Teddy attended Deseronto High School.

When he signed up, Large was five feet nine inches tall, with a medium complexion, brown eyes and dark hair. His regimental number in the Canadian Engineers was 500226.

Large survived the war. He died unmarried on November 27th, 1926 at Toronto General Hospital of kidney failure. He was buried in Newmarket, Ontario.

If you missed the history talk on the nineteenth century development of Deseronto this weekend, there’s a chance to catch it again on YouTube:

Due to a technical hitch on the day, the visuals weren’t available, but this version includes the slides!

Ernest Walter Davey signature

On this day in 1915 Ernest Walter Davey signed up in Montreal. He was a banker, the son of Edward Davey and Frances (née Smith), born May 5th, 1891 in Deseronto. The day before he enlisted, Davey married Gladys Cook in Toronto, where they were living at 433 Indian Grove.

On enlisting, Davey was five feet three inches tall, with a fair complexion, grey eyes and dark hair. His regimental number was MCG1776 and he joined the 2nd University Company.

Davey survived the war and had two children with Gladys, but he died of pneumonia in Timiskaming, Ontario on January 27th, 1922. At the time of his death, he was a commercial traveller. Gladys got remarried in Timiskaming in 1928, to Harry Stanford Worth.

Huron Clause's signature

On this day in 1915, Huron Clause enlisted in Niagara, Ontario. On his attestation paper he gave his place of birth as Deseronto and his date of birth as July 22, 1889. Huron was a Mohawk and was working as a lumberman when he signed up.

On enlisting Huron Clause was described as five feet seven inches tall, with a dark complexion, dark grey eyes and black hair. He joined the 37th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force with the regimental number 408046. His service record shows that he arrived in England on August 26th, 1915 and was transferred to the 17th Battalion. He also served in the Canadian Ordnance Corps in 1916 in England. He spent a month in hospital in England in the summer of 1916 with an infected thumb. He was granted permission to marry on December 27th, 1916 and married May Lawrence in London on that day.

In April 1917 Clause was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps, serving with them in France from May.  He was diagnosed in October 1917 with trench fever and set back to England to recover. The trench fever left him weak and in pain and only able to walk with a cane.

Huron was sent back to Canada in June 1918 and a medical board at Niagara Camp recommended  that he should be discharged as unfit for service. He was discharged in Toronto on August 8th, 1918 as physically unfit. In 1921 he and May were living in Orillia with their three children: Dorothy, Lily and Robert. Clause died in Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, on May 19th, 1973.

Arthur Howard's signature

On this day in 1915 Arthur Howard enlisted in Kingston. He was born in that city on 17 January 1895, the son of Ethel (née Norton) and Herbert Howard and was a student at Queen’s University when he signed up. Herbert Howard was the accountant for the Bank of Montreal in Deseronto and his family were living in the apartment above the bank (now the Town Hall) at the time of the 1911 census.

Sid (as he was known) signed up under the name Albert and he added a year to his age, claiming to have been born in 1894. He joined the 26th Battery of the 7th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade as a driver with the regimental number 89754. When he enlisted, Sid was described as five feet eight inches tall, with a dark complexion, blue eyes and black hair.

Sid Howard’s neice, Cynthia Tappay, tells us that after serving in France he volunteered for service in the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force and served in Russia from October 1918 to July 1919. The family story is that Sid and his friend Dough Jemmett smuggled an orphaned Russian boy back to Canada with them and the boy ended up in Northern Ontario. Sid returned to Deseronto after leaving the army and moved to Salt Lake City in Utah in September 1919 to work for his uncle Bill (his father’s brother). He married Ellen [?] of Nisqually, Washington around 1921 and became naturalized as an American on June 21, 1928 in Tacoma, Washington. By the time of the 1930 census the couple had a son called Robert. Sid died of a tetanus infection in Tacoma on November 22, 1934.


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