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Sunday, May 31, 2015

David Oliphant Jr. in "The Churches of Christ" by Richard Thomas Hughes

From The Churches of Christ by Richard Thomas Hughes and R.L. Roberts.  Greenwood Press, 2001, p. 274-5.  A synopsis of David Oliphant's publishing career and international influence.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

James Avon Smith, Toronto Architect

James Avon Smith was married to Lydia Elliot, daughter of John Elliot and Harriot Pontifex, and niece of William Elliot.  Here's an obituary from American Art News, Vol. 16 No. 34, June 15 1918, p. 7.

And here's a roundup of his career

Saturday, May 16, 2015

John Bulmer Rutherford in "Onward Dear Boys: A Family History of the Great War"

I had a quick look at Onward Dear Boys by Philippe Bieler, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014.  This book reprints a letter written by Andre Bieler during WWI, in which he mentions seeing his friend John Bulmer Rutherford.

Here's a blurb of the book from the McGill-Queens' University Press Website.

"The Bieler family's vast collection of wartime letters and photographs tell intimate, firsthand stories of five young brothers and their parents. In Onward, Dear Boys, Philippe Bieler skilfully weaves together his own voice with those of his grandparents, his father, and his uncles into a story of war, immigration, and family life.

Settling in the province of Quebec, then divided into French-speaking Catholics and English-speaking Anglicans, was a struggle for these devout, francophone Calvinists, but with the unexpected declaration of war in 1914 came an even greater challenge. In 1915 three of the five Bieler boys volunteered with the Princess Patricia Regiment, and in 1916 the fourth son followed. The eldest, Jean, became an assistant to Colonel Birkett, commander of the McGill-financed Canadian Hospital in Boulogne, and the second-eldest, Etienne, was promoted to lieutenant of an artillery brigade. The other two were privates who fought in battles including Sanctuary Wood, the Somme, Vimy, and Passchendaele, and in 1917, the fourth son, Philippe, died at the front. Upon their return to civilian life, the surviving brothers became leaders in government, science, and the arts : the eldest as Deputy Finance Director of the League of Nations, the second as a colleague of Sir Ernest Rutherford in the research of the atom, and the third as President of the Federation of Canadian Artists. The youngest, Jacques, who was too young to go to war, was an instigator of the CCF party, a precursor to the NDP.

Enlivened by a wealth of family archival material, Onward, Dear Boys is a poignant story of the experiences of war and its impact on a family of new Canadians during the first decades of the twentieth century."

Andre Bieler, who wrote the above letter, was a well-known artist who lived in Montreal for many years and was later connected to Queen's University.  Click here to see his bio in the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

William Norton Davis' Mysterious Death, Continued.

A while ago I wrote a post about the brother of Minnie Davis,  Dr. William Norton Davis, who lived and worked in Spokane, Washington in the early 1900s.  Records for William and his wife vanished mysteriously after the 1900 census.  Here is a record I found for him in the American Medical Association's database "U.S. Deceased Physicians File (AMA) 1864-1968".  They don't know what happened to him either.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Bulmer Family in "Peopling the North American City: Montreal 1840-1900"

I'm used to finding references to family members in so-old-they're-out-of-copyright local history volumes.  It's a treat to find something up to date that's relevant to my research.  This recent (2011) and comprehensive social history of Montreal by Sherry Olson and Patricia Thornton, put out by McGill-Queen's University Press,  contains several references to the Bulmer family in Montreal.  Here are a few quotes.

"Thomas Bulmer, soon after his arrival in 1842, moved into the manufacturing of brick;  his plumber son-in-law Charles Garth began manufacturing stopcocks, bathtubs, and steam radiators."
 (p. 188).

That's news to me.  I knew that some of Thomas's sons were well-to-do contractors, but the only information I've ever been able to find about Thomas himself is that he was a "bricklayer".  Doesn't sound too entrepreneurial.  But it turns out he was a business owner and the head of a very upwardly-mobile family:

"The Bulmers were an Anglican extended  family that...worked together and lived as neighbours.  Thomas Bulmer had learned his trade in Hatfield, Yorkshire, arrived by way of Trois-Rivieres, and was laying brick in Montreal from 1843 to 1881.  (He died age 87 from a fall while inspecting a construction site.)  He taught his trade to four of his eight children, and from 1843 to the end of the century three of them maintained a partnership in brick laying, contracting, and brick making.  They extended the family network into the supply of building materials:  one married the daughter of a lumber merchant,  another married a brick maker's daughter, a third the daughter of a manufacturing plumber with 150 employees, and a granddaughter married an architect who owned a sash-and-door factory."  (p. 49)

"What the  Bulmer brothers built in successive construction booms...reflects the expansion of the city as a place of wealth and enterprise.  Although we have found only a portion of their contracts, the notarial documents reveal the progressive uptown extension of development and the reconstruction of centre-city sites with taller and more massive buildings.  In the 1840s Thomas Bulmer and his sons, just arrived, were building brick houses for a 'middling' range.  The most modest was 20 x 28 feet...with three rooms in the upper storey, built-in cupboards, and a trapdoor 'large enough to take up the double windows to the garret.'...On the Dorchester Street terrace...they built a classic double-decker house with four apartments of five rooms each, with double-decker galleries leading 6 metres from the house to the double-decker privies. The most elaborate mansion, on Sherbrooke Street... displayed a skylight, wine cellar, butler's pantry, an indoor water closet, chimney pieces painted to look like marble, and 'an English park gate.'
In the 1850s Montreal experienced its steam revolution...and the Bulmer's work was immensely varied. They built a fireproof office for notary Gibb, an elegant chapter house for the Anglican synod (contracted by Canon Bethune), and a river-front wall and tun room for expansion of Molson's distillery.  Many of the Bulmer contracts were situated in the new uptown neighbourhood of wealth, where they built handsome new models for city living. The best known was Mount Royal Terrace, with twelve units on McGill College Avenue.  Top of the line in this era was an Italianate dwelling on Sherbrooke Street, with the latest and most elegant in plumbing:  black walnut fixtures with marble taps, galvanized iron bath with an 'American shower', iron gas pipes in all rooms, and laundry tubs fitted with hot water.
In the late 1860s...the Bulmers were now concentrating on large brick-laying contracts for a new generation of six-storey commercial buildings in the core of this financial district. As the next boom reached a peak (1886), suburban housing was in demand among the middle class, and Bulmer grandsons began developing tracts in Outremont, Cote-des-Neiges, and the western edge of what is now Westmount."  (p. 49-50).

I also hadn't realized that the Bulmers had business interests outside of Montreal.  It seems like not all the Bulmers were successful.  Unfortunately this book is more interested in family patterns and does not always name individuals: 

 "...two Bulmer sons occupied themselves with a family-owned lumber mill in Manitoba;  another, to escape creditors in Montreal, went to the Yukon..."
(p. 57)

John Bulmer is, of course, our immediate ancestor: 

"...John Bulmer's handsome terraced houses rented for $25 a month.  Bulmer's tenants were among the most comfortable tenth of Montreal families..." (p. 77)

William Bulmer is the son of Henry Bulmer and Jane Maxwell.  He would be John Bulmer's nephew. This section of the book is interested in women's experiences with childrearing: 

"Harriet Richardson, age 24, married William Bulmer, 32, from that Yorkshire Anglican family of builders.  Their twelve children all survived infancy;  eight of them married and raised children in Montreal, three others never married but lived into their nineties...The three women had much in common.  Each bore her last child at age 44 or 45, and for twenty to twenty-five years must have been fully preoccupied with child raising.  From the birth intervals and the likelihood that they breast-fed most of their babies, it is possible that from the month after marriage, menstruation was a rare event in their lives.  In other ways their experiences differed.  William Bulmer worked at two jobs and did not share his brother's lifestyle of banquets at the Hunt Club and costume balls at the skating rink, but Harriet could usually put a roast or a hen on the Sunday dinner table, and they lived on a wide and well-maintained street...."  (p. 130-131)

" of Jane Bulmer's sons was briefly an object of gossip: 'A few years ago a young English girl received a place as a servant, met Bulmer who seduced her under promise of marriage.  He refused to marry her and went to Pullman, Illinois.  She followed him, they went to Chicago, where she became a mother.  He deserted her, she attempted suicide.'  Back in Montreal, after a lawyer confronted his father, there was a midnight wedding, and the son left town again."  (p. 151) The section in quotes is taken from the Montreal Star, October 27, 1886, last edition.  Jane Bulmer must be Jane Maxwell, wife of Henry Bulmer (John Bulmer's brother). 

"Thomas Bulmer's will provides an example of the usual share-alike among eight sons and daughters (Act of Isaacson, 27 July 1846).  (p. 413).

Intrigued by the knowledge that the Bulmer family were industrialists, I did a quick internet search and came up with a patent for an automatic brick-making machine developed by Henry Bulmer and his partner Charles Sheppard in 1871.  I have found patent references to this machine in  Canada, the U.S. and Australia.   The next time I'm at the Canada Science and Technology Museum I'll check it out!

Obituary for Mary Bowling, Wife of Thomas Bulmer, and for Thomas Bulmer Jr.

From The Quebec Daily Telegraph, June 12, 1882, pg. 2.

I love how it doesn't even give her name...

The same date, from the Montreal Daily Witness, p. 1.

Here's an obit for one of Thomas Bulmer and Mary Bowling's grandsons, a son of Thomas Jr. and Phebe Fearon.   From the Montreal Gazette, April 18, 1902.  His father also committed suicide.