Sentimental Saturday – Happy 4th of July

I’m posting photos from my collection of family photographs on Saturdays with a brief explanation of what I know about each picture.

Ellen and I are both proudly Canadian. Ellen was born in London, Ontario and I was born in Toronto, Ontario.

But we both have family connections to the United States.

My mother, Anne Margaret (O’Neill) Hadden was born in Detroit, Michigan. Ellen’s maternal grandmother Mattie Diona (Knox) Latimer was born in California.

Ellen’s American roots go much deeper though. Her 7X great grandfather was Edmond Faulkner, one of the founders of Andover, Massachusetts around 1645. One of Edmund’s great grandsons Col. Francis Faulkner, Ellen’s second cousin, 6 times removed, fought at the Battles of Lexington and Concord Bridge, initiating the Revolutionary War (or, War of Independence depending on perspective).

Ellen (Wagner) Hadden at the grave of her 7X Great Grandfather Edmond Faulkner

Ellen (Wagner) Hadden at the grave of her 7X Great Grandfather Edmond Faulkner

In 2013, Ellen and I took a road trip that included travelling through Massachusetts and I couldn’t resist attempting to find Edmond Faulkner’s grave. It meant a number of wrong turns along the way but eventually we were successful in locating the Old North Parish Burying Ground in what is now North Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts.

I took the photo above showing Ellen at her ancestor’s grave. The current gravestone was erected by some descendants of Edmond Faulkner just over 100 years ago, replacing what was likely an original, and no doubt very weathered, slate gravestone.

So we wish a Happy 4th of July, Independence Day, to all of our numerous American family members and friends. Enjoy your holiday and please be safe.

52 Ancestors: Andrew Kimmerly, A United Empire Loyalist

The episode of the U.S. version of the popular television show Who Do You Think You Are? broadcast this past week featured Canadian actress Rachel McAdams, along with her sister Kayleen, and highlighted the struggles of the United Empire Loyalists during and after the American Revolutionary War. 

In short, the Loyalists were those British subjects living in the ’13 colonies’ who remained loyal to the British crown and typically either fought for or supported the British side during the American Revolution. As the tide of the war turned against the British, these Loyalists were compelled to leave their homes and their land, most fleeing to the safety of what is now Canada.

Among those who had decided to remain loyal to the crown was a 15-year old Andrew Kimmerly (my wife Ellen’s 4X great grandfather) who joined the Kings Royal Regiment of New York, likely the 2nd Battalion, in May 1780. 

“Preliminary Treaty Of Paris Painting” by Print by John D. Morris & Co. after painting by German artist Carl Wilhelm Anton Seiler (1846-1921) – Extracted from PDF version of Seals and Symbols in the American Colonies poster, part of a U.S. Diplomacy Center (State Department) exhibition on the 225th anniversary of the Great Seal. Direct PDF URL [1] (21MB). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PreliminaryTreatyOfParisPainting.jpg#mediaviewer/File:PreliminaryTreatyOfParisPainting.jpg


With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Andrew headed north and into Canada where he petitioned for and, in 1792, was granted 200 acres of land in Adolphustown, Upper Canada (now Ontario), near the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario.

I have always found it interesting that just two generations later, Andrew Kimmerly’s granddaughter Eleanor Ann married Francis Dwight Faulkner (Ellen’s 2X great grandparents), whose family had been very actively involved in fighting as Revolutionaries, or as they would be termed in the United States, as ‘Patriots.’

My wife therefore is in the rather unique, or perhaps just unusual, position of qualifying for membership in both the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada  and the Daughters of the American Revolution

The Faulkner Lineage – from Ellen to Edmond

In my last post, I included the photo below of Ellen standing beside the gravestone of her 7X great grandfather Edmond Faulkner, the earliest of Ellen’s ancestors to leave Europe and settle in the New World.



Edmond left England around 1639 and settled in Massachusetts. He co-founded Andover, Massachusetts and was a founding member of the first church in Andover. Edmond died in Andover in 1687.

The following is Ellen’s ancestral line back to Edmond:

1. Ellen Louise Wagner m. Ian Hadden

2. Carl Francis Wagner (1917-1994) m. Olive Theresa Evelyn Latimer (1920-1997)
3. Charlotte Marion ‘Lottie’ Faulkner (1890-1977) m. Louis Jacob Gordon Wagner (1886-1968)
4. Gilbert Wellington Faulkner (1856-1932) m. Sarah Blair (1864-1898)
5. Francis Dwight Faulkner (1811-1872) m. Eleanor Ann Kimmerly (1821-1896)
6. Sylvester Faulkner (1780-1863) m. Mary ‘Polly’ Cram (1781-1858)
7. Peter Faulkner (1743-1829) m. Chloe Cram (1750-1840)
8. Timothy Faulkner (1704- abt. 1746) m. Deborah Farnum (1702-?)
9. John Faulkner (1654-1706) m. Sarah Abbott (1660-1723)
10. Edmond Faulkner (1624-1687) m. Dorothy Raymond (abt. 1624-1668)

Family History Sneaks Into Our Vacation Trip

My wife knows that somehow, in some way, I will find a family history angle to pursue whenever and wherever we go away on a trip.

For the second year in a row, Ellen and I have traveled by car to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. These ‘vacation’ trips have been for the primary purpose of attending the annual open house at the Hope for Wildlife animal rescue and rehabilitation centre. We became aware of Hope for Wildlife through a television series about the efforts of it’s founder Hope Swinimer and the many volunteers working to rescue, rehabilitate and release Nova Scotia wildlife. We certainly appreciate the great efforts made by these folks to return injured and orphaned animals back to the wild.

This year, we changed our travel plans by choosing a route for the journey that took us through the United States. In past, we have traveled to the Canadian maritime provinces using an all-Canada route.  This year’s route allowed us to change the scenery and allowed me the opportunity to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, achieving a tick mark on my ‘bucket’ list.

Typically, we have driven for two long days to arrive at our maritime destination but now, since both Ellen and I are retired and can take the time, we slowed down and allowed ourselves four or five shorter days of travel by car. This year, the route we selected took us from our starting point in Ontario through New York state, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, back into Canada through New Brunswick and finally Nova Scotia.

On the second night of our trip, we stayed in Lexington, Massachusetts. I noticed on our drive there that many of the names of the towns we passed were connected in some way to Ellen’s ancestors, her roots running deep in the New England states. At our hotel that night I used our iPad with the RootsMagic database app along with the Google maps application to locate the cemetery in North Andover, Massachusetts where Ellen’s 7X great grandfather, Edmond Faulkner, is buried.

Using the location information, I programmed my GPS unit to direct us the next morning to about where the cemetery ought to be. So there we were, at the start of our third day on the road, standing in the Old North Parish Burying Ground.



There was only one way to find the grave of Edmond Faulkner – walk the cemetery, checking the headstone inscriptions as we went. Fortunately, this cemetery is not too large and within about ten or fifteen minutes, I found the gravestone for Edmond. 

Edmond Faulkner died in 1687. The headstone that now marks his grave was erected in 1905, I’m assuming as a replacement for a thinner, likely weather faded stone that was originally in place. The current gravestone is thick and heavy, bearing a bronze plaque that reads (my transcription):

To The Memory Of
EDMOND FAULKNER
Who was born in Kingsclear, England.
He came to America and settled 
in Andover.
He was one of the founders of the
first church in Andover in 1645.
Died January 18, 1687.
Erected by descendants of the
seventh generation.
In 1905 (this latter date is chiseled into the stone below the bronze plaque).

I still don’t know the names of my 7X great grandparents but Ellen is more fortunate. Here she is at the grave of her 7X great grandfather Edmond Faulkner.

British Columbia, Canada Showing The Way With Free Online Records

Searching for many of my Canadian ancestors has been facilitated by them having lived for many generations in the province of Ontario. Records in Ontario for births, marriages, and deaths have been available through the Ancestry site. The Ontario records are indexed and there are digital images available of the records that can be saved on a personal computer. But, it is not free. Access to these records requires a subscription to the Ancestry site.

There are some means that can be used to obtain the same records for free but none of those opportunities mean staying at home. You could visit the Archives of Ontario or a Family History Centre to search through microfilm reels and print copies of the records you want, or perhaps your local public library has an institutional subscription to Ancestry, allowing you to find the records and save them to a USB key. Those research trips can be fun but still are not free with the cost of transportation and most importantly, time.

The province of British Columbia (B.C.) however, is leading the way by becoming the first Canadian jurisdiction I am aware of to post their vital records online and for FREE! As was reported by Dick Eastman on December 2nd, B.C. has posted more than 700,000 digital images attached to their fully indexed vital records.

My research has been halted, or at least slowed at times by what seems to be the inevitable migration of families to the west. So for example, a family living in Ontario during the latter half of the 19th century is attracted to and leaves Ontario for the chance at greater prosperity, often with free land awaiting, in the Canadian prairies. Eventually, family members venture a little further west into Alberta and B.C. That is certainly the migration pattern that I have seen with my wife Ellen’s family.

I’ll use Ellen’s paternal grandfather, Louis Jacob Gordon Wagner (pictured to the right) to illustrate this point. Louis was born in Ontario in 1886 but by the early part of the 20th century, Louis had moved to Saskatchewan where he married Ellen’s grandmother, Charlotte (‘Lottie’) Faulkner in 1912. By the end of his life, Louis was in B.C., living near his son Gordon in Comox on Vancouver Island, where he died in 1968.

BC has made available their records for births (1854 – 1903), marriages (1872 – 1936), deaths (1872 – 1991), colonial marriages (1859 – 1872), and baptisms (1836 – 1888). The records, as stated, are indexed and can be searched using a basic search or advanced search screen.

Here is what the search result looked like when I searched for Louis Wagner’s death record.

In addition to basic data being provided in the listing such as gender, age, date and location of event, the listing includes a link to the digital image of Louis’ death certificate. Louis’ death certificate is typed so it is easy to read with the exception of the attending doctor’s certification as to cause of death which is hand written and may be difficult to decipher.

With this record (and several others for other family members in both my family and Ellen’s), I was able to enter additional facts with source citations included in my RootsMagic database and attach the record digital images to the events that each supported.

I’m hoping more Canadian provinces follow the lead of BC in making these records available and easy to access. As a Canadian researcher, life would be so much better.

A Witch in the Family?

Happy Halloween! What better way to enjoy the day but to remember the family witch. Well, at least, the ancestor that was accused and convicted of witchcraft.

Abigail Faulkner (nee Dane) is my wife’s sixth great grandaunt, having married Lt. Francis Faulkner in 1675. Francis was the eldest son of my wife’s seventh great grandfather, Edmond Faulkner. 

In 1692, Abigail was arraigned and indicted, on the basis of the ‘evidence’ of a few local Andover, Massachusetts women, “for the crime of felony by witchcraft.” The women who accused Abigail of giving them ‘the evil eye’ were Sarah Phelps, Martha Sprague, and Hannah Bixbe (Bixby). Each testified that Abigail had “afflicted” them. Their evidence made that much more dramatic as a result of their falling to the floor, I suppose due to their affliction, when Abigail entered the courtroom.

So convincing was their evidence that the jury found “Abigail Faulkner wife of Francis Faulkner of Andover guilty of ye fellony by witchcraft comited on ye body of Martha Sprague allsoe on ye body of Sarrah Phelps.” The court passed a sentence of death on Abigail, a sentence that was not carried out as a result of petitions from townsfolk and family members,and the fact that Abigail was pregnant at the time.

I’ve not encountered any evidence that the witchcraft trait has been passed on to my wife but on a day like today, it’s wise to be on my best behaviour, just in case! 

Images of the trial documents can be found at: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft/archives/MA135/

Murder in The Church – The Death of Dr. James Wright Markoe

My wife’s North American roots are deep. I can trace her ancestors in what is the United States and Canada back to about 1628, just a few years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. My family, in contrast, immigrated to North America in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. It is likely for this reason that most of the MyHeritage record matches with Find-A-Grave memorial pages involved Ellen’s ancestors.


One of the several bits of information that I discovered about Ellen’s ancestors through their memorial pages involved a fifth cousin, twice removed: Dr. James Wright Markoe (right, as he was pictured in the New York Times in 1920). James and Ellen share great grandparents, John Faulkner and his wife, Sarah Abbott. John and Sarah are the 4th great grandparents to Dr. Markoe and the 6th great grandparents to Ellen.

On Dr. Markoe’s Find-A-Grave memorial page is a biographical note stating that he died after being shot at church. I couldn’t resist exploring that story and found that it was, in fact, true.

Dr. James Wright Markoe was the personal physician to J. P. Morgan, the very wealthy financier and industrialist. It was this friendly relationship that lead J. P. Morgan to financing New York City’s Lying In Hospital which Dr. Markoe founded and oversaw for a number of years.

The New York Times reported that on Sunday, April 18, 1920, Dr. Markoe was one of a number of ushers who were taking up the collection during Sunday services at St. George’s Episcopal Church, near Stuyvesant Square in New York City. As Dr. Markoe proceeded with the collection task “a lunatic, recently escaped from an asylum, arose from a seat towards the rear of the church, fired a revolver and mortally wounded” Dr. Markoe. Some reports have suggested that the murderer had misidentified Dr. Markoe with his real target, J. P. Morgan, Jr.

The ‘lunatic’, as the newspaper referred to him, was apprehended by men who were also attending the church service and turned over to the police. He was later identified as Thomas Simpkin of Duluth, Minnesota. Simpkin’s version of events is that he had no particular target but rather he was dismayed because the “preacher in his sermon at the church told them to be good to strangers but no one spoke to me, and I resented it.” Simpkin as it turns out had moved his family from England to Canada about seven years earlier. He told police that he had joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force to fight in World War 1. According to Simpkin, just prior to departing Canada for the war, he learned that his wife was again pregnant and when his request to be stationed closer to his family was denied, he deserted and moved the family to the United States. The attestation papers for Thomas Simpkin indicate that he lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada when he was inducted into the military in 1916.

Dr. Markoe’s murder prompted a flurry of calls for changes in the way the U.S. courts dealt with those who at the time were considered to be ‘insane.’

As for Dr. Markoe, he was laid to rest in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery following a funeral service that took place in the chapel of the very church in which he had been killed. The New York Times described  the funeral as a “quiet, simple service except the dismal beating of the rain on the tin roof which at times almost muffled the droning of the prayers for the dead.” The funeral was held under police guard with admittance controlled by admission tickets. Among the mourners were Dr. Markoe’s widow, Annette, as well as family and friends including J. P. Morgan, Jr. as well as a police honour guard provided in recognition of the work Dr. Markoe had done for the police of New York City over the years.

The Wagner – Faulkner 50th Wedding Anniversary

When my wife Ellen’s grandparents celebrated the significant milestone of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1962, as is often the case for these events, a party was held.

Unfortunately, Ellen’s parents were unable to attend due to business commitments but Louis Jacob Gordon and Charlotte ‘Lottie’ (nee Faulkner) Wagner’s three other children and their spouses were present to celebrate the occasion.
Pictured below are the Wagner children with their parents: seated are Charlotte ‘Lottie’ (Faulkner) Wagner, Louis Jacob Gordon Wagner; and, standing left to right, Ralph and Phyllis (nee Wagner) Moore, Ivy (nee Harvey) and Gordon Wagner, and Bernice (nee Wagner) and Albert Sexsmith.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to meet any of these family members but that is changing. Taking advantage of recently being in the western part of Canada, I’ve now had the opportunity to meet with Ellen’s only surviving aunt and uncle, Ralph and Phyllis Moore. This year, Ralph and Phyllis celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary, a milestone that I have a tough time ‘wrapping’ my head around as it is an achievement of longevity and commitment so seldom enjoyed by couples.
Congratulations to both of them!

A Surprising Connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder


My wife’s uncle, Gordon Wagner, spent several years in the 1970’s and 1980’s travelling and researching his family history. I have recounted in past posts how Gordon donated the original source documents that he gathered to the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.


Following his family history research, Gordon, a retired land surveyor, took up writing, a pursuit that resulted in a couple of books being published. In 1986, Gordon attended classes through “Elderhostel” and wrote an article about his experience that was to be published in the newspapers of Comox, British Columbia (where Gordon lived) and Andover, Massachusetts (where Gordon attended his Elderhostel classes). While I don’t know if the article was ever published, I am in possession of a copy that Gordon provided in the summer of 1986.

In his article, Gordon explains that a part of his family history quest involved collecting a stone, essentially a piece of the land, from each significant ancestral farm. He had found the farm in Lyons, New York where the Wagner family had settled after their immigration from Germany around 1830. He had also found the farm of Sylvester Faulkner, settled around 1790, north of present day Belleville, Ontario and the land settled by Johann Jacob Hailer in 1832, located in present day Kitchener, Ontario. The missing piece for his collection was something from the farm of the Edmond Faulkner, the first of the various family lines to come to North America, settling in Andover, Massachusetts around 1635.

Elderhostel, a program that offered week long college courses to seniors, provided Gordon with an opportunity to attend courses and spend some time at Salem State and Merrimack College in Massachusetts with the hope of finding that original Faulkner land. Through serendipity, Gordon met with Forbes Rockwell, an engineer and local amateur historian who had meticulously mapped the original Andover settlement and traced each successive ownership of the lands. Forbes escorted Gordon to the Faulkner land, now the site of the Kittredge Elementary School in North Andover, Massachusetts.

Aside from reviewing and analyzing Gordon’s research, I recognized that I did not know enough about colonial Massachusetts so I began exploring. Edmond Faulkner is one of my wife’s 7th great grandfathers. Edmond’s son John married Sarah Abbott, the daughter of my wife’s 7th great grandparents George Abbott and Sarah Farnum (spelling variants include Farnham, Farnam, Farnaum, Farnem, and Farnom) in 1681. This George Abbott, a tailor, died intestate on 22 March 1689. Records show that his estate was later probated with his widow Sarah receiving the sum of 25 pounds. The records also show that Sarah remarried just a few months after George’s death. Her new husband was Henry Ingalls, the 6th great grandfather of Laura Ingalls Wilder. So while Laura and my wife are not related by blood, there is a connection through marriage.

The new pet name for my wife – “Half-pint.”

The URL for this post is: http://ianhaddenfamilyhistory.blogspot.ca/2012/04/surprising-connection-to-laura-ingalls.html

Murder Near the Family Tree, Part 4


This is the 4th and last post in a series recounting the events associated with the murder of Catherine Aureila Vermilyea on the night of Thursday, October 4th, 1934. Mrs. Vermilyea was the mother-in-law of my wife Ellen’s second cousin, twice removed, Dr. James Albert Faulkner. The murder case and the ensuing murder trial of Mrs. Vermilyea’s son, Harold Vermilyea (pictured on the left) caused a sensation in 1934 southern Ontario that was followed across North America.

Bringing a Murderer to Trial

When Harold Vermilyea, the son of the murder victim returned to his home in Ontario, California on Saturday, October 6th, he was greeted by the police who arrested him on a charge of murder. Harold professed his innocence stating that he had been away in northern California seeking employment at the time of the murder. On October 17th, Harold left Los Angeles where he had been held in custody and boarded a train, accompanied by two police officers from Ontario, Canada.

While on the train, Harold told a Toronto, Ontario newspaper reporter that he was glad he was going back to Belleville. “I want to get it over with.” The crime was reported on across both Canada and the United States. Police boarded the train car in which Harold sat every time the train slowed or made a scheduled stop to provide additional security. By October 20th, Harold’s trip ‘back’ had brought him to Toronto and an overnight stay in the infamous Toronto ‘Don’ Jail. The police made good use of Harold’s short time in Toronto to construct several police ‘line-ups’ to allow potential witnesses, taxi drivers and hotel employees, to try and identify Harold. Not having enough men for the purpose, Toronto police reportedly went to the streets around police headquarters and ‘recruited’ passersby until they had sufficient numbers for the line-up.

On Sunday, October 21st, Harold was admitted to the Hastings County Jail in Belleville, Ontario, a place that was to be his ‘home’ for the next several months.

The Evidence

There was such interest in this case that crowds waited for hours, sometimes in the rain, in order to get a seat in the courtroom. Harold was identified by Miss Mountney, the maid, as the man who came to the Farley home on the night of October 1st, refused to give his name and left abruptly before Mrs. Vermilyea could greet him. Next, four hotel workers testified that Harold had stayed at the Walker House hotel in downtown Toronto, under the name of Mr. Carter, from Septmber 30th until October 5th. A taxi driver, named John Bannas, testified that he had driven Harold from Toronto to Belleville and back on both October 1st and October 4th. The round trip fare that they had agreed upon was $15.00.

A medical expert testified that blood stains were found both on the pants that Harold was wearing and that blood stains were also found in the taxi that Harold had been in for the return to Toronto. As this was before DNA testing could provide more definitive evidence, all the expert could provide the court was that the blood was human.

The evidence showed that Harold upon returning to his hotel in Toronto learned that the Belleville murder was already in the early editions of the newspaper. He immediately checked out of the hotel in the early morning hours and took a taxi to Hamilton, Ontario where he boarded a train, using the name of B. F. Collins, bound for Chicago, Illinois. Arthur Iszard was the porter on that train and he was able to identify Harold as the passenger named Mr. Collins who, upon entering the United States at the Sarnia, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan border, wired ahead to Chicago for an “aeroplane reservation.” The pilot on that Chicago to Los Angeles flight along with a passenger, the publicity director for the Metro-Goldwyn Moving Pictures Company, also identified Harold as being on the flight to L.A., occupying seat number 11.

And finally, the evidence showed that Harold had stored his car in a garage from September 25th until October 6th and then tried to have the operators of the garage erase the record of the car’s stay.

The Defense

Two well respected lawyers were appointed to defend Harold at his trial. Both Charles A. Payne and Col. Richard H. Greer had received the honourary title of King’s Counsel or K.C. in recognition of their legal work. They depended on the evidence of Dr. J. J. Robertson, a Belleville physician, to show that Harold was insane. Dr. Robertson testified that, based on his examination and interviews, Harold had thought up “the plan for weeks and weeks.” Harold, the doctor continued, thought his mother should divide up part of her estate (which was valued at $40,000 at the time of her death). Harold’s proposal was that he and each of his three siblings could be given $5,000 by their mother. As Dr. Robertson stated, “His mother was well off, a sister was well off and they didn’t need any money, but his his children did need help.” When his ‘begging’ letter was responded to by his sister, Harold saw this as a sign that they were conspiring together to ruin him, at least that’s what the defense wanted to the jury to believe.

The Decision

Mr. Justice Jeffrey, the presiding trial judge, in his charge to the jury stated, “Some might say that it was only circumstantial evidence, but sometimes circumstances linked to form a chain of evidence beyond any reasonable doubt.” The jury took four and one half hours to reach a verdict. During this time, the courtroom spectators refused to give up their seats but rather waited in the courtroom, in some cases sending their children home to bring food and drink. When the jury returned, they pronounced their verdict of guilty as charged.

The following day, Mr. Justice Jeffrey pronounced sentence on Harold – “The sentence of the court upon you, Harold W. Vermilyea, is that you be taken from this place to the place from whence you came and there be kept in close confinement until the second day of May, and upon that date you be taken to the place of execution and be there hanged by the neck until you are dead, and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul.”

After the trial and sentencing, Harold’s brothers, Arthur and Clarence told a reporter, “He got justice. He got a fair trial. What has happened is best for him and everyone else.” His lawyers appealed his case unsuccessfully and on May 2, 1935, the sentence of the court was carried out in the yard of the Hastings County Jail ending the sensational trial saga of the mid-1930’s, believed at the time to have been one of the longest murder trials in Ontario history to that time.