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. ☺

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

The Yarn of Captain Bushby

Wow! Randy's cousin Linda just knew I would love this picture! The faded carte de visite picture has to have an amazing story, right?  It was a challenge to my Google detective abilities and fun to find out all I could about Captain T. Bushby from the few clues written on the picture.  It was among the picture collection of Linda and Randy's grandmother Elsie.  First was to find where Coquimbo is and it turns out it's a port on the north end of Chile in South America. 

In the mid 1800's, copper ore was mined in the Norte Chico District of Chile and sent back to England for smelting.  The boats were then loaded with coal for the return trip to Chile to help with the mining process.  That's why Captain Bushby was on his way to Coquimbo.

A helpful site here links to a book that recounts the shipwrecks on January 21, 1860.  There were actually four of them listed but only one started out at Swansea, Wales and was heading to Chile with a load of coals.  The ship called "William Marsland" was built in 1853 in Shoreham and was identified as having a capacity volume of 350 tons. Charles Cheesman was the owner.
Not the actual ship but one similar credit to T G Purvis [Public domain]
It was classed as a "Barque" which Wikipedia says is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts having the fore- and mainmasts rigged square and only the mizzen (the aftmost mast) rigged fore-and-aft.

The report in the February 1, 1860 edition of the Morning Chronicles in London says the barque foundered after colliding with another ship, the Stalk, and 11 of the 12 crew and passengers on board were drowned.  The location is described as 100 miles west of Lisbon at 38.5 N 12W.  The collision with the ship carrying barley happened at 2:00 am in a strong wind on a heavy sea.  Many of the crew and passengers from the Stalk were saved by getting into their "jollyboat" along with one miner from the William Marsland by name of William Mill from Redruth, Cornwall.  There is no mention of T. Bushby and was it not for the picture and the writing on it, he may have been lost to history as well as to the Atlantic Ocean.  

But who was T. Bushby?  Great Grandfather James was born in 1852 so he would have been 8 when the accident occurred. There is a Thomas Bushby born 1825 on this page but I haven't yet found any records for him.  I am led to guess this may have been James' uncle, a brother to his father Henry (1819-1877) and son of Frances Bushby (1784-1843) and his wife Frances Artlette (1785-1860). 

The landlocked members of the Bushby descendants that I am familiar with are so far away from their English coast ancestors.  I am glad to be able to find parts of this story and any further information would be most welcome!

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Helping To Picture the Bushbys

Just over 2 years ago, thanks to cousins Ann and Wendy, a wonderful package of Elsie Boulton's letters written from 1913 to 1957 arrived in my lap. They helped me get to know some of the Bushby family so I wrote several blog posts about them in the fall of 2017. Another cousin Linda has recently gone to a huge amount of work to scan  pictures that likely accompanied these letters so many years ago. I imagine that Elsie would have been treasured these pictures as family she would never have the opportunity to see in person. I've linked back to the original blog post and hope others enjoy seeing the faces behind the names as much as I have.  

Reading Frances "Lena" Carpenter's letters to her sister Elsie becomes so much more personal when you see the above picture of Lena and Jim and their daughters Barbara and Kitty. I wonder if it is their wedding picture from 1906 and the girls were born in 1908 and 1910 to help date these moments in time. 

The above group is second youngest sister Dorothy, known as Dorrie and her husband Ewart Pickett. He was a church organist at one time and looks the part in this portrait.  They did not have children but Dorrie looked after their father James William Bushby when he returned to England. Cousin Sharon has this picture of the two of them out in the garden on a sunny day in England.  

These nieces of Elsie's are the daughters of her brother Walter and his wife Martha. Dorothy Francis (top two) was born in 1913 in New Jersey and her younger sister Edna Martha (below) in 1915.  Elsie had named her own daughter Edna and ironically, the letters announcing the birth and naming of the cousins crossed in the mail! What are the odds??  

Youngest sister Gertie came to Canada with Elsie in 1913 and I'm sure held a special place in her heart.  She sadly died right after the birth of her daughter June in 1929, who bears a striking resemblance to her in the side by side pictures. 

These five photos of June above show that Gertie's widower husband Charlie made sure Elsie saw her niece June in pictures.  

The distinguished portrait of Elsie's father James William above helps me think of him of the talented artist and carpenter he was. His letters to his daughter are full of affection and love. 

Many thanks to Randy's cousins who make this blog possible.  So many stories to tell and I'm glad that retirement gives more time to tell them!