Thursday, 6 February 2020

J.W. Bushby's Journal - Ni Edoc

Cousin Sharon was kind enough to lend me a box of papers that her Mom Jean had saved that belonged to her mother Elsie Busby Boulton.  Among them was a amazing journal that once belonged to Elsie’s father James William Bushby that is over 150 years old! It contains proof of his multiple journeys across the Atlantic Ocean and the American flag on the front cover leads me to believe it was purchased there.  I am working on a transcription of one particular voyage in 1870.  Keep watching the blog!

We knew he was very artistic as written about here. This journal contains more of his sketches. 
text says - View of Mountains on the coast of Ireland on a Voyage from N. York to Queenstown & L'pool seen on morning of 11th o December 1871 making the 9th (?) day out. 

I am guessing the picture of J.W. Bushby below was taken around the same time as this journal, before he married and had his family.  The beautiful handwriting was so clear and easily read so many years later.  


Continuing to page through the book, I encountered sentences that I thought may have been in another language...

Ot llet Dlog tup a pord fo cirtin dica (auqa sitrof) no ti fi ti si ton Dlog ti lliw nrut neerg.  

After studying it for a bit, especially the two letter words, it began to make sense.  J. W. was writing it in code, backwards!

To tell gold put a drop of nitric acid (aqua fortis) on it if it is not gold it will turn green. 

What fun!  He doesn't explain why he needed to remember this but Nitric Acid is also known as aqua fortis. The corrosive and toxic chemical was indeed used to dissolve metals including silver - almost any metal except gold. 

 Yes Elsie, and thank you to the keepers!  The papers about Grandad Bushby have certainly come in useful on a cold afternoon.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Reston Fair Grandstand Postcard 1911


(My transcript of the back of the postcard - with capital letters and periods added.)

Miss M H Walls  Varna Ontario 
Pipestone Jan 13/1912 
Dear sister 
I have been too busy to write of late. Will write soon. Am going back to Reston Monday. Miss Hales is not able to work yet. She was down hear last week. Vick is in Winnipeg attending M.(?) School. Received parcel at xmas. Fit ok. Thought trim(?) nice. Thanks for same. Love to all. From Ella 

Finding a copy of the postcard above on the Martin Berman Postcard Collection on the Past Forward website was a treat!  Although I don't know of any direct connection to the Boultons, who knows?  Two years later Elsie Bushby would arrive in Reston herself and communicated with her family back home with postcards and letters just like Ella.

The 1911 Canadian census taken 5 months later in June of that year, both Ella and Mary along with other Walls family can be found living in Reston.  Their details are listed on the page after Elsie's brother Arthur and his wife Lou and their 5 children.  Ellen, 35 years old is listed as a dressmaker at a general store and her sister Mary H. is 30 years old and a tailor.  Both live with their brother Victor who is 26 years old and a plumber at a hardware store. Also in the home is Victor's wife Hannah Katherine (26) and 2 young children - Harold and Myrtle. 

Further research finds Victor Walls enlisted in WW1 in 1916  as #922173 as a bugler and was discharged in 1919 at the rank of Sergeant. His military file indicates he didn't see active duty as he suffered from varicose veins that were inflamed from marching in training. Buglers held an important role just the same in each battalion to call the troops for to rise and sleep, for meals as well as giving directions in battle.  

In the 1921 and 1926 censuses, the family of 4 live in Pipestone and Victor is a Tinsmith.  Miss Myrtle Walls from Pipestone was the teacher at Scarth from 1931- 33 according to the Manitoba Historical Website here.  The is as far as I have traced the family. Any further information is welcome at

Reston Fair began and the grandstand was built in 1908 according to the first Trails Along the Pipestone.  I am glad this postcard survives online to help us imagine these early days. 

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Good Deed Radio Club

Have you heard of the Good Deed Radio Club? A Boulton cousin passed these buttons on to me this summer and I've spent some time online to find out what I could about them. The smaller four are about the size of a nickel and they all have a pin back.  Thank you for the challenge, Faye!  You knew I'd love it. Here's what I know today but would love to hear more from my readers at 

One online source says the Eaton's Good Deed Radio Club was the original idea of a man named Claude Knapman. It began as a promotional gimmick in 1933 for Hamilton, Ontario's downtown Eaton's Department Store. The Saturday morning show featured local amateur talent and spotlighted the acts of kindness and the good deeds that members of the club had performed over the past week.  It was a hit with parents and customers who were loyal to the store and it soon expanded throughout Canada.  Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver soon had similar clubs. 

October 21, 1939 was the first broadcast in Winnipeg from 10:30 to 11:00 on CKY radio. (This station was later named CBW as a part of the CBC radio network.) A 1939 Winnipeg Free Press article I found said boys and girls up to age 16 were invited to apply to be in the club.   Club members were obliged to do a Good Deed every day and write into the station with details of any outstanding deed performed.  Letters were acknowledged with a membership card as well as a red, white and blue button.  Each week a 15 jewel watch was awarded to the best good deed and the presentation of it would happen during the radio broadcast. There was no charge or fee in connection with the membership but no doubt gave some good publicity to the store. 

Music performed by amateur youth was the other big part of the radio show which expanded to a full hour in the 1940's. The Good Deed Choir in Winnipeg lasted until 1959, a twenty year run of promoting local musical talent and encouraging good deeds.  It seems many choir members went on to musical careers.
The Manitoba Historical Society website says the Winnipeg Eaton's store was built in July 1905 as a five-story building. Three additional floors were added in 1910. It closed in 1999 and was demolished in 2002 to make way for a sports arena.

The words to the theme song were found online but I couldn't find the tune. I'm sure it is still in the minds of many Good Deed Alumni though. 😃

Do a Good Deed every day,
Obey the Golden Rule;
Never say an angry word,
Or be unkind or cruel.
Scatter seeds of happiness,
At home, at play, at school, and
You'll find there's sunshine everywhere, 
Obey the Golden Rule.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Coffee Time at the University

Today is an unseasonably warm September day and harvest is in full swing at the Boulton farm.  Thanks to sister-in-law Wilma’s garden, I had zucchini to make some muffins for afternoon coffee time for the combine drivers and grain hauling crew.  Wondering where to catch up with them, I was reminded of the blog post I’ve been working on for a while when Randy said they'd be at The University.  

Good farm helpers like me quickly learn the somewhat obscure names given to the quarter sections.  Legally, this one is the Southeast half of  24-6-28, just south of the house.  The Boultons have a Wilson quarter, Smitty’s, Don’s and Freddie’s which are named after past owners but “The University” name always baffled me. There are no buildings in sight!

A bit of research helped uncover that in 1883, the province granted a group called The Land Committee 150,000 acres to fund the University of Manitoba.  The intent was to sell the land to create and operate a University.  They had lofty goals that would make a free program to further education in the young province.  In 1900, it was renamed the Land Board and in 1904 it was known as University Council.  A few successful years soon turned to controversy as this article tells. 

In 1906, the fund was run by the firm Archibald, Machray & Sharpe and that seems to have been when some of the problems began.  In 1932 while John A. Machray was in charge, discrepancies and poor management resulted in a collapse of the fund and as a result tuition fees sharply increased and there were wage cuts to staff.  It ended with the arrest of Machray and his death in prison in 1933 after pleading guilty to theft. Over a million dollars was missing from University coffers and it was assumed he used the money to cover bad land investments. 

Thomas Boulton, Randy’s grandfather, started payments on the east half in 1907 according to papers that have survived the years.  There is a big stack of invoices, receipts and letters about the sale to read through.  The west half purchase is referred to as the Thompson sale #361 in 1910. 
In 1919, ownership was transferred to Thomas's brother Anthony and after his death in 1950, it passed to Edwin.  Now 112 years later, Boulton seeding and harvest continues on the same land. I'm glad I knew where to find them.  This time. ☺