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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Birth Family of Helen Paton, Mother of William Rutherford

Who were Helen Paton's parents?  Unfortunately, her marriage record to our ancestor James Rutherford do not give us their names, and our Rutherford family tree is also silent on the matter. Helen Paton died before Scotland began keeping civil death records, and her death record is pretty sketchy--it doesn't even give her age.  There are several family trees on line which suggest that her parents are William Paton and Margaret Laird of  Inchillan.   I've done some investigating and while I can't find any direct evidence that Helen is the daughter of William and Margaret, I have found enough indirect evidence to convince me that it's very likely.

William Paton and Margaret Laird had a daughter named Helen on July 6, 1809.

They also had other children.  Their three eldest were born in Erskine, Renfrewshire, Scotland, before Helen was born.  First was Margaret, born September 21, 1800, then William Jr. was born August 2, 1802, and Janet, born July 31, 1804.  Helen and the younger children were born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire:  Ann Paton was born September 2, 1811, Laird Paton was born March 12, 1814, and Andrew Paton was born January 11, 1816.

Records show that Helen's younger brother Laird Paton had strong ties to the Rutherford family, ties which suggest a close family relationship.   Laird, who grew up  to become a carpenter,  had moved to Montreal by 1846, when Erskine Presbyterian Church has a record of him marrying Ann Scott. From that point forward, birth, marriage and death records in the William Rutherford family, and also in the family of Helen Rutherford (William's sister, who lived in Montreal for several years before her death) are frequently witnessed by Laird, who, if he were Helen's brother, would have been both William and Helen's uncle.  For example:

  1. 1856: Laird Paton is a witness to the marriage of William Rutherford Sr. and Elizabeth Jackson. 
  2. 1864:  Laird Paton is a witness on the burial record of Frederick Clarke Boyland, daughter of Helen (Rutherford) Boyland.  
  3. 1866:  Laird Paton is a witness on the baptism record of Andrew Rutherford, William and Elizabeth's son. 
  4. 1868:  William and Elizabeth have twin boys, and name one of them Edward Laird Rutherford.
  5. 1868:  Laird Paton is a witness on the baptismal record of Helen Paton Boyland, daughter of Helen (Rutherford) Boyland.
  6. 1869:  Edward Laird Rutherford dies; Laird Paton is a witness on the burial record.
  7. 1874:  Laird Paton is a witness in the baptism of Ann Paton Rutherford, daughter of William and Elizabeth.  
Most of these records are from the Montreal Erskine Presbyterian Church, which all three families appear to have attended. 

I have also seen records which suggest that Laird Paton and William Rutherford were in business together during their early days in Montreal.  Eventually Laird formed the company Laird Paton and Son, and William Rutherford started William Rutherford and Sons.

Fun fact:  Laird Paton's son, Thomas Laird Paton, was the first goalie to win the famous Stanley cup.  Here is his bio from the HockeyGods website:

Thomas Laird Paton (1854 – February 10, 1909), was a Canadian Amateur Ice Hockey player of the early era of the sport.  Paton played the position of Goaltender for the Montreal HC (Montreal AAA) and was a member of the first Stanley Cup Winning Team in 1893. Paton would be a founding member of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association Hockey team (Montreal HC).  Paton began goaltending at age 30 and had a successful nine-year career (six years with the lowest goals against average in all of organized Hockey). 
Paton was a pioneer goaltender in organized Hockey. Tom's Hockey career can be traced back to the early Montreal Winter Carnivals, where he backstopped his Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal AAA) to their 1st championship in 1885, posting three shutouts in four games, including one in the final. He again won the carnival championship two years later.
Paton would play goal at the 1st International Hockey game, at the Burlington Winter Carnival in Vermont - February 26, 1886. His Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal AAA) would defeat the Montreal Crystals, and the host team, the Van Ness House to win the carnival championship.
Paton's career would be marked by dominance. Throughout every season he played between 1888 and 1893 for the Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal AAA), his team would win the AHAC championship.
Paton is most notable to be the first goaltender in Stanley Cup history to be awarded the trophy. Ultimate Hockey considers his performance in 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892 and 1893 to be worthy of winning the equivalent to the Vezina trophy that the NHL awards today for top goaltender - He was regarded in many history texts as being undefeated in 1890 and 1891
In 1892 despite a poor regular season effort Paton and the Montreal AAA defeated the Ottawa HC in the final game of the season to win the 1892 AHAC season championship by a score of 1 to 0.
Paton would be go on to be awarded the Stanley Cup in 1893, and retire at the end of the 1893 AHAC season. He is also the first goalie to retire from Stanley Cup Hockey competition as a current champion.
Paton would introduce the game of Hockey to Toronto in late winter of 1887. During a trip to Toronto to visit his friend Hart Massey, Paton learned that no one had heard of the Hockey games that were being played in Montreal, Ottawa and Kingston. Paton and Massey then sent a cable to Montreal, and ordered a box of 18 sticks, a puck and a set of rules to be sent from Montreal, and then organized some demonstration games with 10 local Torontonians at the Granite Curling Club.
Throughout all his pioneering efforts and success in early Hockey, Tom Paton is not a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame

Monday, November 23, 2015

How Is John Bulmer Rutherford Related to James Augustine Rutherford?

John Bulmer Rutherford (known as Bulmer to his family and friends), my husband's grandfather, wrote to his mother, Ida (Bulmer) Rutherford of Montreal, while he was serving during World War I.  We recently found two of his letters among some family papers.  One of them was sent from Highclere Castle in England, where he was visiting relatives. Below is a transcript of the letter, which was only partially dated, but must have been written in 1918.

Oct 13th

Dear Mother, 

As you see I am at Highclere just now and am having a very restful time for a few days.  I received Dad's cable yesterday but it is very late and I am not going to answer it as I know you have the information you wanted by now.  As soon as I arrived in London I went to Mr. Rowson's place to make sure he had the news but I presumed that Mr. Hodgson would have been informed officially some time before.  I wrote to Mrs. Williams at Liverpool and asked her to break the news to Marjorie if she had not already been informed.  It turned out that she was sick at the time and the doctor would not let them break the news.  I went up to Liverpool on Wed. night (I arrived from France Fri night) and spent the day with Marjorie Hodgson.  She was bearing it very bravely, far better than I thought she could stand it considering that she had been ill.  She said that General Dodd's cable had arrived at home in addition to Mr. Rowson's.  It had helped her a lot to know that Sid had not suffered in the least.  I brought her the little personal things that he would have wanted kept.  I also wrote to Mrs. Hodgson and presume that she has received the letter before this one.

Sid and Oliver Becket were both killed instantly by the same shell just two hours after the opening barrage of the battle for Cambrai.  It dwarfed into insignificance everything up till that time but as you have seen the casualty lists you will realize that Canada had to pay the price of her victory.  It was the pivot point of the whole front and all these later victories have come about as a result of what the Canadians accomplished there.  It had to be done and nobody else could do it.  When I came away the greatest part of the battle was over & the city was below and in front of us and within easy reach of our guns though not in our hands.  Of course since then it has fallen. 

I was staying in town with the Blaiklocks or Col Birks  whichever you please.  I told Polly B. that she ought to call it the 16th Canadian Gloucesters (16 Gloucester Sq) as their passing visitors certainly number a battalion.  She was very struck with the idea so it is christened as such.  Geoff Williams and Geordie Nick were both staying there at the time in addition to many others so it was very fine.  Mrs. Blaiklock is a wonderful hostess and Col Birks is fine.  I went up to Liverpool and came back to town for a day and then up here on Sat.  Uncle Jim is away to-day but expects to be back to-morrow.  Kenneth, the youngest boy, a little younger than I am, is here at present.  It was a perfect day to-day the first for some time and we were out on the lake and tramped through the park and incidentally took a few photos, which I will send home if they turn out.  I am feeling very comfortable (sic) arrayed in some of Ken's clothes (civvies).  I am not going to Scotland as I do not particularly want to go alone.  Nick might have gone up but it is too late as he has to report to his depot to-day.  I just missed Fred Peverley by a few days as he went back to France just as I arrived in Eng.

By the looks of things the end of the scrap seems to be in sight now.  This is not the time to talk peace though.  Not when we have him more or less on the run.  The time to talk peace is when he says he surrenders unconditionally, which he will do sooner or later.  I do not understand why they address all their notes to Wilson.  I guess they are afraid of the Americans in the future for they have really had little to do up till now.  I am going up to town for a couple of days before going back which I do on the 18th.  

With love to all the family,
Your Loving Son, 

The Sid Hodgson that Bulmer discusses in this letter is a fellow Montrealer and McGill student, Sidney James Hodgson, who was killed in battle in September of 1918, at the age of 20.   Bulmer obviously survived the battle.

This letter is particularly important for the light it sheds on relationships between Canadian Rutherfords and those who remained in Britain.  Specifically, who was the Uncle Jim who hosted Bulmer during his stay at Highclere?  I believe "Uncle Jim" was in fact James Augustine Rutherford, the Estate Manager at Highclere.  According to census records, his youngest son, Seymour Kenneth Rutherford, was born around 1900.  Bulmer was born in 1897, and so would have been three years older than Seymour, or Kenneth as he appears to have been called.  However, although James Augustine Rutherford (who was born in 1856) was a generation older than Bulmer, he could not have been Bulmer's uncle.  I believe that they are cousins.  

Bulmer was the son of William Rutherford Jr. and Ida Bulmer, and the grandson of William Rutherford Sr., who immigrated from Scotland, and Elizabeth Jackson.  He would have been the great-grandson of James Rutherford of Jedburgh, Scotland, and his wife Helen Paton.

James Augustine Rutherford, on the other hand, was born in Stallingbusk, Yorkshire, England in September of 1856 to James Rutherford and his wife Ann Foster.  His siblings were Helen (1858), Jane Elizabeth (1861), Ann Isabella (1863), Maggie Laird (1865), John Edward Foster (1869) and William Archbold (1871).   His father, James, was a land agent and later a gardener, and census records consistently show that he was born in Scotland around 1828.   One of his children carried the family name Laird (Maggie Laird Rutherford), and one of James Augustine Rutherford's did as well (Godfrey Laird Rutherford).  (Laird was Helen Paton's mother's maiden name).  I believe that James the father of James Augustine was a son of James Rutherford, forester, and Helen Paton, of Jedburgh.  Their son James, who was William Rutherford's brother, was born on November 9, 1829, in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, Scotland.   If I am correct, then William Rutherford Jr., Bulmer's father, would be James Augustine Rutherford's first cousin, and Bulmer would be his first cousin once removed.  I have to say that there are a few genealogies online which state that the James Rutherford who was born in 1829 lived and died in Scotland, but I don't see any sources, and I believe that my theory explains the relationship between Bulmer and the Highclere Rutherfords. 

By the way, Highclere Castle, home of the Earls of Carnarvon,  is now famous as the estate where the TV show Downton Abbey is filmed.  James Augustine Rutherford was the estate manager when the 5th Lord Carnarvon (of King Tutankhamen fame) lived there.

Here is a picture from the book Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey:  the Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 2011).  Major J.A. Rutherford (James Augustine Rutherford) is front and centre. 

Here is some evidence of John Augustine Rutherford's leadership in military matters before the start of the war, from the Reading Mercury newspaper, May 12, 1900.

And here is a death notice for Major Rutherford, from the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer Newspaper, June 11, 1929, p. 10.