I have been putting together the story of Jean Baptiste Delaurier and his wife Julia Hazel, my great great great grandparents.
What’s really interesting about this story is that Jean Baptiste was a prisoner of war at the beginning of the War of 1812. He was captured by the British. Meaning, he was fighting for the Americans. The record I found says he was captured at Detroit.
His wife to be, on the other hand, was the daughter of Edward Hazel, who fought for the British (both in the southern states during the American War of Independence, and then he ended up in the Amherstburg, Ontario area fighting in the War of 1812).
So, the story which seems to be emerging is that Jean Baptiste, prisoner of war, American, somehow met Julia Hazel, daughter of Edward, British soldier.
The story that I am imagining is that somehow Edward must have been impressed with young Jean Baptiste, who was probably taken over to the Canadian (technically, British) side of the river after he was captured. I can’t think how Jean Baptiste would have met Julia unless Julia’s father somehow had a hand in it. He was The Enemy, after all. And he would have been in prison. In those days, the marriage wouldn’t have happened if the parents didn’t agree. So Edward must have seen some redeeming qualities in Jean Baptiste, despite the fact that they were on opposing sides of the war.
Julia and Jean Baptiste were married in Detroit after the war was over (in 1819). They lived stateside for a few years after their marriage. So obviously the Hazels didn’t harbour a grudge against the Americans for all those rough years of war. Julia and JB’s first child, Charles was born in Detroit. Julia received a land grant in Mersea township (near Leamington), dated 1834. That’s probably when they came back to Canada.
So, what we have is an American prisoner of war who was able to obtain a nice parcel of land from his enemy, the British. By marrying a daughter of the Empire.
And they all lived happily ever after. They had lots of kids, a very large family and we’re still all doing just fine (well, my branch of this large family tree is anyway. Can’t speak for all my other thousands of cousins).
Delaurier cousins, if you have any more info about this, I’d love some more of the blanks to be filled in.
I haven’t revisited Earl Robson’s stories from Lake Erie Shores in a while. Here’s another one, published by my grandmother in the mid 1980s. Love Earl’s writing. I wish I had known him.
The Leamington Spa
September 6, 1951 .. The visiting mayor of our Leamington namesake will set foot in a far different place than did the first Englishmen to arrive in this Spa. The first Foster (Ralph Foster and wife Ann Wilthew) either came from the vicinity of the Royal Spa, or was familiar with the country. Among the persons dear to my memory is my Grandmother Foster, Canadian born, to whom I listened when a boy as she told fascinating tales of people and incidents in the pioneer days, when scattered log houses were set in clearings along Talbot Road East. If in her descendant’s dribble, something of a taste for aesthetics shows up, then it belongs to her lineage. Books she held sacred, from the simple fairy tale to the profound and sonorous Milton; flowers symbolized the culture that was yet to come into a crude, handmade settlement. I heard her tell of the joy expressed over the first picture to come into the drab little home. It was the frontispiece of a stray old country periodical, the first to find its way far into the gloom of the New World. A visitor in those times was met by ox-cart.
Our grandfather, John Foster, a Steadfast and purposeful farmer of pioneer times, was the Canadian born son of Ralph (and Ann), the original transplanted stock. Ralph had broken away from the established life in England, attracted by the adventure of a new world. He, like the rest of the hardy home-seekers, braved the terrors and tortures of long months aboard a wooden windjammer then the hazardous overland trail to reach the Leamington Spa, not yet born of a forest. There was no grand reception awaiting his arrival. Only brutal challenge to his strength and courage faced him.
Ralph took up a section of wooded land a mile down Talbot Road and began the titanic work of hewing out a kingdom from the wilderness. In time he became the central figure in a rugged settlement, modelled as far as he could mould it after the social strata of his native land. He became known as Squire Foster and for hears held the office of magistrate. Tradition hands down the claim, that it was he who renamed the Village of Gainesville to Leamington. The naming, I have heard from my elders, took place in the old council chambers, a a small cabin sized building located on the farm of Leonard Wigle, grandfather to Leonard and Ernest. the historical old lodge still stands on the original homestead of the first settle, Leonard Wigle, now the property of Hattie Wigle, wife of the late Forest and mother of Whitney.
Out of a dim, frowning forest of yesterdays is handed down by our grandmother a little incident of life as it once was: One when Squire Foster was burning logs back on his bush farm, two men approached him. the brawniest of the two explained he was bringing the little fellow to justice for pilfering. The plaintiff insisted the magistrate go into the village council chamber and open court. The old squire was reluctant to leave his fire, so set the culprit on a stump – the dock, and opened the case. He himself acted as counsel for the accused man, against the evidence of the plaintiff, found the stumped one guilty, and after a severe lecture and a solemn promise on the part of the wrong doer to mend his way, let him off on a suspended sentence.
Thus a thin beam of light back into the dim past! It would be enlightening to the people of England, as well as to the younger generation of Canadians, if a glimpse of raw pioneer life could be thrown on a screen. the more we pride ourselves on advancement, the more we lose sight of the fact that the grandest victory recorded in English history was the one won over monster wilderness by the brave, stout-hearted pioneers.
And for them, we honour their memories with neither holiday nor tablet!
Just got a fascinating email from Deb Honor, whose research interests include our mutual ancestor Edward “Red” Hazel, who fought in both the Revolutionary War in the United States, then was rewarded for his valiant service by being sent up by the British to fight the Americans during the War of 1812.
Deb told me previously that our mutual great great great great (x 6) grandfather fought alongside Chief Tecumseh at Moraviantown the day before he died. She now sends me this information which sheds more light on this battle and Edward’s role in it. Thanks to Deb for allowing me to share it.
The following is a letter dictated by Edward and written by someone else because it appears he couldn’t read or write. It was sent to her by Doug Robinson of Chatham — a friend of his found this in Collections Canada (National Archives) while researching an 1812 reenactment. Thanks all of you for passing it on.
Here’s the letter:
Amherstburg Upper Canada 24th March 1820
On the 5th October at the Battle of Moravian Town, I (Edward Hazel) retreated with Eighteen Men of the Regular Army, to the Long Woods about Two miles from George Wards House, the next day I returned to the Plain near Moravian Town were I was taken Prisoner by a Detachment of U.S Army who conducted me to their Main Army, the same Night I made my escape from them and took Thirty six head of Cattle with me, which I drove to George Wards House but found no person in it, I then broke open the door and went in to rest my self, after which I returned to the Indian Camp, and brought Forty Warriors to the House were I gave Ten Head of the Cattle I have taken the night before from the Americans for their support. I then took Three Indians to assist me in driving the remaining Twenty Six head to our Army.
Before I left Wards House I saw the Indians plunder it of every moveable article in the House.
The Cattle was delivered to Dept. Ajt. Commisary Genl. Reynolds + Captain Elliott of the Indian Department.
Edw. X Hazel
So many questions — both Deb and I and a whole bunch of people are wondering how he managed to escape quietly while rounding up all those cattle. Any further comments appreciated, Deb, and thanks for passing this on.
A Bit More about the Fenner family dynamic..
Posted on July 19, 2013 by Victoria Fenner
I was just down to Essex County a couple of weeks ago. I did some more exploring for my documentary. Mostly about life during the time period 1850 to 1870. I’m getting more of a sense of what life was like in the middle of the county even though this time period is not well documented. Lots of reading between the lines still needs to be done.
One of the significant things I learned (or more accurately, realized) has been in front of my nose for the last year. One of the people who has me mystified is my great great grandma Fenner’s eldest son, William Henry Fenner, who was her son, but not my great great grandfather’s son. It is acknowledged in family records and in my great Grandfather’s obituary that they were half brothers. Even though records clearly show that my great great grandparents (Mary Elizabeth Dietrich and Adam Fenner) were married at the time.
I’ve posted about this before but just so nobody has to refer back to a previous post … Mary Elizabeth and Adam were married prior to 1858. I know this from Mary Elizabeth’s medical records because she had been hospitalized for most of 40 years and the medical records are quite comprehensive. William Henry’s birth records are vague but through obituaries, census etc, it would appear that he was born in 1862.
What I have always found compelling is that Great Great Grandpa raised William Henry along with the family. He was acknowledged as part of the family. This seems to be contrary to what we know about Victorian Canada .. specifically, that a woman who has a child with a man who she is not married to was scorned, branded as a loose woman and was deemed an outcast of society. And presumably, the families of such loose women would also be deemed social outcasts.
There is some vagueness about William Henry’s birth in the census etc .. the most notable being that he was born in Germany. I believe this to be not true for various reasons I’ve gone into in previous posts.)
What I like about this story is that it doesn’t follow the usual script we are told — that children born “out of wedlock” were all social outcasts, and the families associated with them are stigmatized. It is good to see that all of the children managed to marry into established families, so despite their compromised circumstances, they were not stigmatized to the extent that I would have thought. (Especially since Great Great Grandma Fenner was in a mental hospital for most of the last 60 years of her life. Everybody would have known it and yet we don’t appear to have been stigmatized and sent packing to the margins of society. And the fact that I grew up in this same small village with a lot of the original families and nobody ever breathed a word of this. And small towns have long memories …)
The surprising thing which I discovered and referred to in the lead paragraph — my great great grandfather’s will contained a proviso that a part of the farm he was buying was to be left to William Helliweg Dietrich. (the deal was in progress when his will was drawn up, so the conclusion is not clear in the will). I have wondered, ever since I found the will, who William Helliweg Dietrich was. I assumed he must have been a brother of Adam’s wife (whose last name was Dietrich). No way to prove this, but I now believe that William Helliweg Dietrich was William Henry Fenner. This seems to make sense, considering that my great great grandfather never acknowledged William Henry as his son so it makes sense he would not give him his last name in the will. Even though William Henry and his siblings all called him Fenner.
I had another look at the land records for the family farm and see that William Helliweg Dietrich did take possession of the west 50 acres of the farm which my grandfather had been successful in purchasing. That parcel of land was eventually sold to our next door neighbours, so it didn’t stay in the family as the original farm has.
The reason why I am so happy with this new piece of information is that it supports the idea that my great great grandfather was a very decent man. With my great great grandmother’s mental illness, it was a lot to deal with, especially in the latter half of the 1800s. I still think it is remarkable that he raised William Henry with his own children, and went a step further by leaving him an equal piece of land to my great grandfather’s. When all was said and done, he treated William Henry, his son by another man, almost as an equal with his own children. (Except for the name … it appears clear that great great grandpa did not let everyone believe William Henry was his. That is interesting in itself .. it would have been much easier for him just to pretend).
I have a whole pack of cousins out there who are descendents of William Henry Fenner. I feel bad writing about this is in a way, since there is now a missing branch on their family tree. They’ll likely never know who their great great grandfather was, because their father was not a Fenner as they thought. It’s all a mystery … but obviously our ancestors wanted William Henry in spirit, even if they all didn’t agree he should be a Fenner in name.
I took a drive down old Hwy 98 this weekend through the old home village. I drove down the sideroad beside our old place next to the Ruscom River and very slowly approached the barely marked railway crossing that ran behind our place, carefully looking both ways for a train as I’d always done.
I need not have been so cautious. Because the trains are gone.
I had no idea. Last year when I visited the ancestral homeland, I never saw a train. But I assumed they were still running. Maybe they weren’t. The impact of the realization that they were gone hit me .. well .. like a freight train. I can’t explain why it was such a shock, except maybe to say that it triggered a whole set of memories. Trains in the night. The rumble of an approaching train, and then feeling it gradually get closer as it shook the house and demanded our attention with its loud whistle.
I sometimes felt a bit afraid as the train got closer. There were some very dramatic accidents that happened at those crossings, both behind our place and my grandparents. And there were some fun stories too. My father still tells about the Mail Flyers and the Wolverines and the other names they would have for the trains that came by. My mom used to take the train home from school in Ridgetown. One time, she tells me, she brought two baby goats home on the train. When I was a kid in the 1960s, the rail line was double tracked. There were no passengers trains but lots of freight. You could sometimes see two trains coming at each other on different tracks from different directions. There were a lot of trains.
This summer, I want to walk the rail line all the way from South Woodslee, through Ruscomb, to Comber. A long slow way to experience my birthplace at a leisurely pace and maybe experience the place from a different perspective. I’ll look at the surrounding land, imagining what it must have been like to be riding on one of those trains, whistle blowing, pistons pumping, flying along on the hard, flat countryside. I’ve never seen the place from the perspective of the rail line before. It would have been a little dangerous to do that a few years ago.
But now, I can walk along the rail line without having to listen for that distant rumble. I won’t have to get off the rail line. Because now, there are no trains …. just the silence of the fields. And my memories.
I have been corresponding with Dennis Cotter of Woodslee who has been trying to track down some long lost relatives.
The above picture, is the Great Southern Hotel in Woodslee — Writes Dennis — “This hotel was owned by my great grand parents Ed and Margaret Cotter, Edward (Ned) died in 1892 and Margaret ran it until she sold it to her nephew Simon Hogan in 1896. The lady on the far left is Emma Cotter Maier, one of Edward’s younger sisters.”
He is also trying to track down some missing branches of the family tree.
“My Cotter’s were from Ontario, I think near Tilbury. My grandfather, John Peck was supposedly adopted by Charles & Mary Ann Pique from around Chatham Tilbury district. I think now that there was no adoption that far back. My grand father was born in 1866 in Canada. All he knew was his real parents name was Cotter & they were too poor to keep him. Probably had other children too.
I’m wondering if there is any way to trace them. I have written to Chatham, Toronto and Ottawa and none could help. I’m glad to know two things, the name and the area. These Piques’ took him when he was a baby. My grandfather and mother’s name should have been Cotter if he wasn’t adopted.”
If anyone has any information to contribute, post a comment on this post and I’ll put you in touch with Dennis.
And thanks, Dennis, for sending me this request. I like it when people add to the knowledge that has already been collected by my grandmother. It means that our heritage and history is constantly growing. And therefore, the past, and our ancestors, still live on.
This was an exciting discovery — the ship’s manifest from the ship Virginia. It was sent to me by a Dodson cousin, Jan Briggs McGowan, who I connected with recently over Ancestry.ca and our common ancestors.
My grandmother’s history said that the Dodsons came over, 17 in number on The Virginia, on July 3, 1841. I suspected that she had the name wrong. After all, there must have been hundreds of ships over the ages named Virginia. Turns out she was right. (I think it might have been 1842 … since the ship was brand new and registered in October 1841. Or maybe its first voyage was before it was registered? I don’t know … it’s the right name, the right family and approximately the right date, so everything else about the story is consistent)
And her story of 17 of my ancestors coming over in one shipload was also right. She actually says it was 17 Dodsons and Parrs that came over together.
Jan sent me the names of the Dodson/Parrs on the manifest. It turns out that this was a very tightly intertwined family tree. Three Dodson siblings married three Parr siblings. The families must have been very close. My imagination starts spinning. Did their parents betroth their children to each other when they were born? Or did they live next door to each other and the kids had such a good time playing with each other that they decided to do it for the rest of their lives? A charming story whatever the truth is.
So here are the names of the shipload of Parr/Dodsons: (I counted 18 .. maybe one of them was born on board ship). Can you imagine 6-8 weeks on a ship with 12 children???!!
Jan’s line — Richard Bates RB Parr and his wife Mary [Dodson] and their children Richard, Mary Ann, Rose, Priscilla, John & George
Mary’s brother Wm Dodson Jr and his wife Elizabeth [Parr, sister of RB] and their children Susannah, Eliza and John (not sure if he was bn England – maybe he was born on board ship)
My line: Mary’s brother George Dodson his wife Esther [Parr, sister of RB] and their children John, George and Richard Elisha
As for the good ship Virginia:
The U.S. ship VIRGINIA, 649 tons, was built at Nobleboro, Maine, in 1839, and registered at the port of New York on 1 October 1841. In 1845, James Eaton, master, she was advertised as sailing in J. Elwell’s line of coastal packets between New York and New Orleans, and in 1848, Benjamin Salisbury, master, she was advertised as sailing in Nesmith & Walsh’s packet line between New York and Liverpool.
And as my grandmother wrote, the Virginia did go down in a storm. Not until ten years after the Dodsons/Parrs had arrived in the New World. So there’s a big grain of truth even though the specifics weren’t accurate.
(This part of the letter begins by Adella talking about her life in Texas, where she moved to be with her daughter, Shirley Brueggerhoff. Music is the theme of this part of the letter, and her beloved piano)
“They both (Shirley and her husband) both sing in the Presbyterian Choir and Gary in the junior choir. She (Shirley? Not specific) brought my mother’s organ (1875), solid walnut and not high, and wants my parlour grand. I don’t play and sing too much any more but would be lost without it. I must tell you about my piano. It’s no ordinary piano and was maybe tuned only once or twice but the copper strings brot from Germany are long as a baby grand. That’s why it’s so high and was built for the Toronto Ex and came directly to me as present from my father in 1902. Mine is a Knabe but I’ve never played on a better one than it.
The dining room suite cost $1200 and is beautiful. When Shirley and I went home in ’64, my grandpa Thompson’s large bible was all to pieces upstairs in the hall .. I took out two pages (where it was written) where they were married in ’37 in Muddy York (Toronto). They had 7 children. Ma was the youngest and born in 1856, so she got a lot of furniture when grandma (Thompson) died in 1892 and Grandpa came to live with us. The front page, I left .. (where it was written) “Given to John Thompson in 1846″.
By last spring (1965), ALL had been taken, also my sister’s huge hope chest, tall lamps and many things. We gave the new washer to Sherwood (Simon), but one of the other two is a real museum piece.
The walnut cupboard with glass doors in the dining room and 2 walnut drop leaf table came from Langton Norfolk Co. My mother’s old home. We brought the cherry chairs, Grandma’s, with the original cane seats and numerous things. My grandpa made the trunk in then front hall upstairs. Maybe in Ireland.
There was so much to be done and I am glad to hear you are repairing things, papering, painting etc. Shirley put some stoneware, English, in the top of the cupboard (glass) in the kitchen thinking she’d go up when she sold, but it happened at the same time she was moving so she was too busy. The big white potato dish is over 80 years old as are the other dishes.
I have my Grandma’s paisley shawl that my grandfather’s brother bot in Paisley, Scotland in 1847 and cost $37.00. My grandparents (Thompson) came from Armah and Enniskillen, Ireland. When built in 1901, our house was the finest home between London and Windsor.
Hope your not too bord reading this.
Yours most sincerely,
Adele Taylor (Knister)
(ed note: There are another couple of pages in the letter about the politics in Texas. The letter contains some very spicy comments about Lyndon Johnson’s family. I’m not going to repeat them here because our story is not about either LBJ or American politics. Okay, there’s one line I can’t resist “I hate LBJ like poison but I’m a Democrat so I’ll vote for him”. And “With our Socialist Commy government I don’t know how long he will last.” And also because I don’t know how libel laws pertain to people who are dead, I won’t repeat what she said about LBJ’s sister. Many of the women of Ruscomb had very definite opinions about politics. Adele was one of them.
Thanks to Barb Ayearst for sharing this wonderful letter).
This is part 2 of a letter written to Barbara and John Ayerst from Adella Knister Taylor about the grand home of her childhood. See previous post for part 1.
“Staunton Knister’s dad was a first cousin to pa, and when he had a sale, they bought the TERRIBLE green and gold dresser in the back bedroom which came from England and is walnut (so his wife, Pearl told me). But one of pa’s housekeepers painted it green and gold — wasn’t that awful? …
We gave bushels of things to three museums and others too numerous to mention ..Ethel’s sewing machine and dressers and big table upstairs were left. After her husband died, Ethel moved down to the farm and I went home and washed all the downstairs woodwork and dishes etc. Ethel never had much time for housework — she’d rather be out of doors and tend her cats. I guess that’s why I don’t like cats. Ha.
The two and a half thick stone walls in the basement came out of Amherstburg Quarry in the Detroit River and hauled there on flat cars and it has never frozen in that house with no fire. None o fher her fruit ever froze. We took cars full of things to the Salvation Army in Windsor and left boxes full in the kitchen for them to get but they did not want to come in the house with no one there.
I am thrilled someone bought the place who appreciates it, I could not even think of it for a long time. I was in hospital and bed at Shirley’s for 7 weeks with nervous breakdown. They took a dozen xrays and said it was “fatigue” but found nothing. Memories have no aches and pains. Just Memories.
I think Dr. Charles and Will Knister whose fathers were pa’s brothers, knew how I felt but I went home last May and buried my only sister and came through it fine.”
Next: Part 3 and Adele’s piano.
Written by Mrs. W. G. (Adele Knister) Taylor
February 4, 1966
Written to the Ayearst Family shortly after they bought Adele’s childhood home.
You’ll be surprised hearing from me, but as I am the only one left who lived in my old home, I thought I’d better tell you a little about the house. I washed the dishes for the carpenters, painters etc in 1901, as we of course boarded them. After the painters had 8 quarts of varnish and rub downs on woodwork, the architect would not accept it and 3 more were put on, making 11 in all.
Of course, the quarter cut oak doors and wainscotting and 2 floors came off our “other place”. Many times the dog and I went for the cows in the woods across the creek. I gathered mushrooms there on this side of the creek (Ruscom River October 62). While Shirley loved the place it was my home over 60 years, while (sister) Ethel and I each owned the farm on the 6th concession. (I sold 50 acres to Russel Simon for much less than he got for freeway (ed note: Highway 401).
It went on Shirley’s* tuition at Alma College where she graduated in Interior Decoration in 1944 at age 18, and afterward at Texas University. I gave the other 50 acres to my sister Ethel (married name Pembleton) where the barn burned. Some one was kind enough to throw a cigarette on the straw stack while the threshing was in progress, so burnt the barns, stock and all.
Ethel sold her farm about 10 years ago with the stand of oak wood walnut. My cousin Dr. Charles Knister said they sold $12,000 of timber off it.
My mother and brother died in 1917, then my father had housekeepers and alwasy hired men. My father died in 1930.
Tomorrow: the opulent furniture in the house, and the not so opulent green and gold dresser.
* Shirley was Adele’s daughter, who eventually married and stayed in Texas. Adele moved down to Texas to live with her daughter, which is where the letter was written.