Sentimental Saturday – Tess’ Family At Her Wedding

I have often heard people say how it feels like the only time they see some of their family members is at weddings and funerals. The message implied is usually along the lines of ‘we really ought to get together more often.’

But weddings do offer at great opportunity for family to gather and share in a usually, most happy event. Such was the case on Thursday, October 15, 1942 when the Latimer family members got together to share in the wedding celebration of Olive Theresa Evelyn ‘Tess’ Latimer.

On that Thursday, 24-year old Tess married 24-year old Carl Francis Wagner. Tess was a nurse in Orillia, Ontario and Carl was a Canadian army sergeant from Saskatchewan assigned to Camp Borden, not too far south of Orillia, when they met.

The photo below is one of a few ‘snapshots’ taken by an unidentified family member on Carl and Tess’ wedding day.

This photo shows Carl (far right) with Tess’ immediate Latimer family. On the far left is Tess’ father Edward Arthur Latimer, standing between Edward and Tess is Tess’ sister and maid of honour Hazel (Latimer) Filkin. Standing behind Tess are her eldest sister Albertine ‘Abbie’ (Latimer) Ensom and her brother Edward ‘Knox’ Latimer. The two girls standing in front of Tess are her nieces Pat and Jule Filkin, the only two that seemed to be able to muster smiles for the photo.

Edward Latimer Abby Knox Hazel Tess Carl with Pat and Jule Filkin 1942

Pat and Jule Filkin with (middle row l. to r.) Edward Arthur Latimer, Hazel (Latimer) Filkin, Tess (Latimer) Wagner, Carl Francis Wagner, and (back row l. to r.) Albertine ‘Abbie’ (Latimer) Ensom and Edward ‘Knox’ Latimer on October 15, 1942

 

Sentimental Saturday -A Wagner Get-Together

The four siblings were quite literally spread across Canada.

As a result, they did not have many opportunities to all be together, in the same room, at the same time.

In July 1994, one of those rare instances occurred for Ellen’s father to get together with his Wagner siblings.

WAGNER Ivey Gordon Bernice Tess Phyllis Ralph

Seated (l. to r.) are Ivy (Harvey) Wagner, her husband Gordon Wagner, and Bernice (Wagner) Sexsmith. Standing (l. to r.) are Tess (Latimer) Wagner (Ellen’s mother), with Phyllis (Wagner) and her husband Ralph Moore.

As his absence in the photo is rather conspicuous, I suspect that the photo was taken by Ellen’s father Carl Wagner. It is likely that the four Wagner siblings got together likely in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Sadly, only Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Ralph are still with us, having just celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary!

Mattie Diona (Knox) Latimer – Seeing The Fullness Of Her Life Through Newspapers

To some, she was Granny; to others, she was Mom; to all, she was known as Mattie.

Mattie Diona (Knox) Latimer

Mattie Diona (Knox) Latimer

Mattie’s grandchildren knew that she was from California but as she didn’t talk very much about herself not much was known about her early life. Newspapers, the social media of 100 years ago, filled in the blanks, painting the picture of an outgoing, independent and spirited young woman, one who lived within the acceptable social boundaries of her times but who wasn’t afraid to push those boundaries.

Mattie was born in 1884, the first child of Thomas ‘Tom’ Elliott Knox and his wife of two years Amy Jane Squires. Both Tom and Amy were immigrants to California. Tom hailed from the village of Seaforth, in southwest Ontario, Canada and Amy had moved as a child with her family to California from her native England.

Mattie lived with her parents in Livermore, California where her father provided a comfortable lifestyle through his work as a plasterer, mason, and eventually contractor. She had no Knox relatives nearby but her mother’s family, the Squires lived in Berkeley, California.

Mattie first appears in the newspapers at the age of five, listed as guest, along with her parents, at the wedding of her aunt Emily Squires to Charles Wiggin on August 20, 1890. The wedding took place in the home of her maternal grandparents in Berkeley.

The newspapers report that Mattie visited her Squires grandparents at least annually, with references to such visits appearing in 1897 and 1898. In August of 1898, Mattie was in Berkeley again but to attend the 10th birthday party for her cousin Hazel Foy, the daughter of Amy’s sister Emma. A number of Mattie’s aunts supervised the picnic party that was highlighted by each child receiving a flag button, something considered to be a big deal at the time.

On March 11, 1901, the Oakland Tribune reported that Mattie and her friend Annie Wagoner were the only two graduating students to make the elementary school honour roll. It is not yet known what role academics may have played in Mattie’s high school experience but it is known that she made the high school girl’s basketball team as a starter along with elementary school friend Annie Wagoner. Mattie’s best friend Albertine Bernal made the team as a substitute.

Mattie’s family was doing well through this time. On February 11, 1903, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Mattie’s father as Postmaster for Livermore. The appointment became official on February 16, 1903. Thomas Knox would later be elected as Mayor of Livermore and subsequently he served as a Supervisor for Alameda County.

According to published reports, Mattie continued her visits to Berkeley through trips in July 1903, March 1904 when uncle Harry Squires was ill, and July 1904. Mattie also is reported to have won the prize for the “most original design of decoration” in the annual Livermore 4th of July parade. Mattie’s design involved “a gigantic California poppy with a lady seated in the center.”

As Mattie entered her twenties, she was experiencing a world beginning to rumble with change, especially for women. The suffragette movement was taking hold and fashions for women were changing. While Mattie continued to visit her Squires relatives in Berkeley, a shift can be seen in her activities. She was entertaining her friends at her parental home in Livermore and not just travelling to visit relatives.

In June 1905, on the same page that Oakland Tribune reports Mattie entertaining her friend Lillian Symmes, the newspaper also reports the U.S. government ordering the destruction of hundreds of pictures of President Theodore Roosevelt taken while the President was on a hunting trip in Colorado because of the objectionable dress of a correspondent who was present in the photos named Gertrude Dunn. Miss Dunn’s objectionable attire, specifically was “where the skirt should have been was a pair of very pretty ankles.”

June of 1905 also saw Mattie venturing further away from home and travelling with a friend to Canada. It is not reported but it is likely that Mattie ventured into Ontario, possibly to visit with members of her father’s Knox family.

No sooner had Mattie returned from her trip to Canada then she was off again, this time travelling to Berkeley with her school days friend Annie Wagoner but now doing the approximately 40 mile trip on horseback through the mountainous terrain.

The year 1906 was pivotal for Mattie. She continued her civic activities through attending meetings of the Native Daughters of the Golden West and she continued to travel to Berkeley to visit her relatives. On June 9, 1906 Mattie went camping for a few days with friends, including best friend Albertine Bernal, a trip highlighted by an earthquake. Also, during the summer of 1906, Mattie’s engagement to Edward Arthur Latimer was announced.

In September 1906 a surprise linen bridal shower was held “when a large number of friends assembled at the residence of Miss Emma Smith and went in a body to the home of the bride-to-be and literally showered her with gifts.” According to the newspaper report, Mattie “soon recovered her equanimity and entertained her friends royally.”

On November 9, 1906, the Oakland Tribune reported that a marriage license had been issued for Edward A. Latimer, 28, of Orillia (Ontario, Canada) and Martha D. Knox, 21, of Livermore. The same newspaper provided a report of the wedding in its November 18, 1906 edition:

Mattie Diona (Knox) Latimer as pictured in the Oakland Tribune alongside the report of her wedding to Edward Latimer

Mattie Diona (Knox) Latimer as pictured in the Oakland Tribune alongside the report of her wedding to Edward Latimer in 1906

“On Saturday evening, November 10, Edwin [Edward] Arthur Latimer and Mattie Diona Knox were united in marriage at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Knox on L street in the pretty town of Livermore, by the Rev. Mr. J. B. Stone, of the Presbyterian church.”

As Miss Dollie McKown played Lohengrin’s wedding march, Mattie entered her parent’s living room wearing a white messaline gown trimmed in lace and carrying a bouquet of roses. Mattie was accompanied by her long-time best friend and maid of honour Albertine Bernal. About fifty guests, including all of Mattie’s Squires grandparents, aunts and uncles traveled from Berkeley to Livermore to attend the wedding.

While she may not have been perceived as a young, attractive, outgoing socialite in her twilight years, the newspapers tell the story of a Granny Mattie that she never told.

Sentimental Saturday – Christening Day

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

Carl Wagner holds his son 'Ted' on the aby's christening day

Carl Wagner holds his son ‘Ted’ on christening day

Four generations of the Wagner family. Gathered to celebrate the christening of Carl and Tess (Latimer) Wagner’s first child, Carl Edward ‘Ted’ Wagner.

The photo was likely taken by Tess who also provided the names of those in the photo by writing them on the back of the picture.

On the left is Ted’s great grandfather, Rev. Louis Henry Wagner who conducted the christening. On Carl’s left (the far right of the photo) is Margaret Florence (Wagner) Knetchel, the sister of Carl’s father. According to Tess’ notes on the back of the photo, the christening took place sometime in October 1943, a time when the world was at war and Carl was serving in the army.

 

Sentimental Saturday – A Mess Of Fish

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

Ah, the great outdoors! Summers at the lake. Just the sounds of nature to break the peaceful quiet.

The Wagner family enjoyed life at the cottage and in the summer, they liked to go fishing. This week’s Sentimental Saturday photo shows their prowess with rods, reels and hooks. A mess of fish were brought home to eat. But first, the obligatory pose with the catch.

All the kids, from left to right Ted, Mary Jane, Scott, and little Ellen yelling something (or complaining?) to father Carl on the far right.

The photo was likely taken by Ellen’s mother, Tess (Latimer) Wagner in the backyard of the family home. The photo is undated but was probably taken around 1954.

Carl Wagner (far right) with his children proudly show off their catch of fish

Carl Wagner (far right) with his children proudly show off their catch of fish

The Tragedy Of Not Beating The Train – John Eades

Life was good. Especially on that Wednesday.

John Eades was getting married on that Wednesday.

It was also not just any Wednesday for in addition to being his wedding day, that Wednesday was Christmas Eve.

John and his bride Sarah Latimer exchanged vows in the quiet, little village of Seaforth, Ontario that day. John gave his age as 25, his bride Sarah stated that she was 22 years old, although records suggest that she was likely younger. A lifetime of adventure awaited. They then spent their first Christmas together as husband and wife in 1873.

Over the years that followed that Wednesday, Sarah would give birth to at least five children while John worked first as a barber, then as a grocer and salesman to sustain the family.

They moved around a bit. They started off in London, Ontario then moved to the little village of Wingham. From there, it was off to the big city of Toronto where they lived in a small house at 138 Henderson Avenue.

They saw the arrival of the 20th century and probably sensed that renewal of excitement and hope that newness brings with it.

But that was the end for Sarah. On February 9, 1900, Sarah died of what the attending physicians called “cardiac and rural diseases.” Her age was given as just 45 years.

John carried on as best he could. His youngest son Edward John Latimer Eades was just nine years old when Sarah died so John worked in grocery sales and deliveries to keep them going.

Until that Monday when everything went wrong.

EADES John newspaper article death after hit by train 3 Mar 1913 - Copy

It was snowing lightly on that March 3rd, 1913. Adding a softness to snow-covered ground.

John was summoning his horse to pull the carriage of pork for delivery along Dovercourt Road in Toronto. Up ahead was a railway crossing. Just more than one hundred years ago, there were no flashing lights and certainly no barriers in place when the trains came through.

But there was a signalman. On that Monday, Thomas Eversfield was that signalman.

Thomas would state that he waved his flag. He yelled for the driver to stop but the horse and sleigh were going too fast. Others reported that the driver seemed to have every confidence that he could make it across the tracks before the train came through. The train engineer saw the horse and sleigh and applied the brakes but was unable to stop the westbound freight train.

And so it was on that Monday that John Eades died, as did his horse, when he collided with the train. A tragic death that put John’s name on the front page of that afternoon’s local newspaper.

 

52 Ancestors: Jack Hangs Up The Blades For A Life Of Service

This is the fourth and final part in a series of posts that primarily set out to capture the professional hockey career of John Osborne ‘Jack’ Filkin, or, ‘Uncle Johnny’ to my wife.

The previous three posts about Jack Filkin’s hockey career can be read here:


Jack Filkin learned to play hockey, likely on the frozen ponds and rivers of his native Ontario, Canada. It is clear from all of the records that Jack loved hockey and would do whatever was needed to find a place on a good team. He was scouted a signed by the New York Rangers. He didn’t make the NHL team following the 1929 training camp but rather was assigned to the Rangers’ pro farm team, the Springfield (Massachusetts) Indians. 

His second pro hockey season was spent in the California Hockey League playing for the Los Angeles Millionaires. Unfortunately, no cumulative statistics for the team or the league could be found for the 1930-31 season. However, various newspaper articles and family-held press clippings tell of Jack impressing with his speed, his goal scoring touch and his ability to play both a finesse and physical style of hockey. Whatever it took to succeed. 

Jack Filkin as a Los Angeles Millionaire (original photo privately held)


Jack’s Los Angeles Millionaires finished second in the league that year to the Oakland Shieks. Jack was near the top of the list of goal scorers, probably in the top ten players, possibly as high as the top five in the league.

It is not surprising then that Jack’s pro hockey contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Arrows of the Canadian-American Hockey League for the 1931-32 season.

Jack was off to the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ to join an Arrows hockey team being coached and managed by Hockey Hall of Famer Herb Gardiner. The team played all of it’s home games in the Philadelphia Arena on Market Street in the city’s west end. Statistics for the 1931-32 season show that Jack played in 31 games, assisted on three goals, and accumulated twelve minutes in penalties. 

What that record does not show is that jack sustained a career ending injury towards the end of the season. Jack’s hockey season was ended early when he severely broke one of his legs.

The following hockey season, Jack attempted a comeback with the 1932-33 Edmonton Eskimos of the Western Hockey League. Leading up to the Eskimos’ opening game, an Edmonton sports reporter introduced the new member of the local team in this way:

Over on the left wing, McKenzie [Edmonton Eskimos coach] has a big, robust speed merchant in the person of Jack Filkin, 25-year old sniper who has had his share of pro competition…Filkin had a bad break with the Arrows, suffering a badly fractured leg, and he never did regain the form expected of him.

Although his hockey career came to a disappointing end, Jack had lived the dream. But it was now on to other and perhaps even greater things John Osborne Filkin.

With his hockey career over, John returned to Toronto with his wife Hazel (Latimer). They settled into a pleasant home on Vaughn Road in the Toronto borough of York. John and Hazel welcomed into their family two daughters. John went off to work each day according to voters lists as a salesman. Eventually John took up the profession of tree surgeon as recorded in numerous subsequent voters lists. Eventually this profession would be described as Landscape Architecture.

John Filkin in 1965 (from Lions Club International newsletter)


In 1950, John became a member of the Lions Club service organization. According to a variety of club archived records, in 1958, John became the President of his local Lions Club branch. The following year he became the Zone Chairman for the Lions Club. He then spent 1961 and 1962 as the Lions Club’s Deputy District Chairman, followed by two years in the role of 100% Deputy District Governor. From 1965 through 1967, John was a Director of the Lions Club International, representing Canada.

John’s dedication to service through the Lions Club is well documented, both in Lions Club archived records and in the many newspaper articles from across Canada and the United States reporting on John’s message to fellow Lions Club members at the many conventions at which he was invited to be the keynote speaker.

When not inspiring and encouraging Lions Club members, John found time to serve as the Commissioner of the Parking Authority for the Borough of York (Toronto, Ontario) or 16 years. In the 1971 photo below, John Filkin is seen helping Borough of York Mayor Philip White cover a parking meter, an act that offered free parking in the borough for the busy shopping season the week prior to Christmas.

John ‘Jack’ Filkin (left) with York Mayor Philip White, December 1971 (Toronto Star newspaper archive)


Following a life of giving joy to hockey fans and serving his community, at home and abroad, John Osborne Filkin passed away on April 28, 1977 having followed his dream, served his community well, and teaching all of us how to live life well.