A Brief Family Tree
For those reading this story, a brief sequence of family evolvement is probably in order – if only to explain the “Smith-Smith” dilemma that faces those of us who try to explain the fact that, on two occasions, a Smith married another (unrelated) Smith.
Willie Smith, my great-grandfather, was born in Scotland in 1825, moved to Canada and married Mary Ann Guinn in 1857 in Durham, Elgin County, Ontario. From this union of Willy and Mary Ann came, in 1863, a daughter, Margaret Maria, later to become my grandmother. Her younger brothers, Thomas Johnstone Smith (b. 1867) and Robert Richmond Smith (b. 1871), were known to me as “Uncle T.J.” and “Uncle R.R.” They were my Dad’s uncles. I don’t really remember my grandmother very well. She died in 1939 when I was 7 years old.
My other great-grandfather was Thomas S. Smith. He was born in 1813 in England, married Nancy Klock from Pennsylvania, and they had nine children. My father’s father, i.e. my grandfather, was one of these children. His name: Robert Klock Smith. Thomas and Nancy Smith are buried in the rural church (Anglican) cemetery near the town of Carp, outside Ottawa. (Much more about this side of the family history is available from Mary Jane Smith [Carlyle] in Peterborough).
Robert Klock Smith, born in the Ottawa Valley in 1859 and always known as “R.K.”, married Margaret Maria Smith (no relation) in the Ryerson District north of Oak Lake in 1889. R.K. died in 1931, Grandma, as menitoned above, in 1939. He was 70 when he died; she was 76.
R.K. and “Maggie” had 7 children – Errol, Melville, Cecil, Walter and Ralph (twins), Grace and Muriel. Cecil, my father, was born in 1893 on the farm north of the Town of Oak Lake. In 1922 he married Marion Agnes Smith (again – Smith/Smith!) who was born in 1899 and whose father, my maternal grandfather, was born in Scotland. Mother had two older sisters, Annie (Milne) and Nora (Doherty). Cecil and Marion had three children – Ina (b. 1923), Lyman (b. 1926) and me (b. 1931). My birth certificate of October 28th, 1931, indicates my place of birth as “House, W1⁄2 Sec.19, Twp.10, R.23,W1”, which means I was born at home on the west half of Section 19, Township 10, Range 23, west of the first principal meridian. I married Joy Harris of Winnipeg in 1958 and we have four children – Richard (b. 1959), Janet (b. 1962), Brian (b. 1964) and Murray (b. 1966). We have nine grandchildren.
I met Joy Harris at her Winnipeg home one January evening in 1958. I had met her at university, but only briefly. She was hosting a bunch of friends (no surprise there!) after a toboggan party. Her class mate Joan Darbey, who I had taken to a show, suggested “let’s go back to Joy’s house”. Though cooking up a storm, Joy still had time to ask me all kinds of interesting questions about my Ag. Rep. work. A week later I asked her out on a date, we were engaged in April (I think) and though I spent July and August at summer school at the University of Wisconsin, we married in Winnipeg’s St. George’s church on September 6th. My brother Lyman, Carson Whyte, and Dennie Harris, with best man Gordon Newton were with me; Barb Sparling, Eleanor Cordingley and Geraldine Harris were Joy’s attendants. A whirlwind? Maybe, but if it’s the right person, that’s OK.
Just as Mary Jane Smith of Peterborough can provide much more information about “R.K.” and his side of the family, the late Millie Sloan’s book “to the Queen’s Bush and West” has more about great-grandfather Willie Smith and that side of the family. As for Alex Smith, my maternal grandfather, less is known. Joy and I did visit the poor farm he had left in the highlands of Scotland in the 1880s, probably displaced by an English landlord. His wife, my Grandma Bannister, from Oak Lake, was a wonderful woman. She was very ill with cancer and died when I was seven or eight years old so I don’t remember her very well.