Friday, 11 July 2014

William Benjamin Boulton Jr ( 1877- 1916)

Death by Beefsteak

William Benjamin Boulton Jr., born June 9, 1877,  was the son of Ben Boulton and Maggie Chapman.  Ben was the sister of Randy's great grandmother, Ann Henrietta.  William is listed in the 1881 and 1891 Canadian Census living on a farm near Elizabethtown, Ontario.  He was referred to as "Willie" in 1891.  His parents and remaining siblings 2 sister and 3 brothers were farming near Reston, Manitoba on the 1901 census but he wasn't present.  By the 1906 census, they had moved to 545 Furby Street in Winnipeg.
On December 17, 1906, William married Bessie Irene Nixon of Wapella, SK.  Sadly she died in 1909 as did their infant daughter Margaret a year earlier.  Both are buried in the Wapella Cemetery.
The next record for William is when he signs Attestation Papers in 1915 to join the fighting in WW1.  He lists Reston as his residence as he is a widower, his next of kin is his mother, Margaret whose residence is also Reston.  
As I hoped would be the case with this blog, I received "the rest of the story" by email from by fellow Boulton genealogist, Keith Sly. He was in touch with Susan Bracken who shared this story about the unfortunate death of William in January of 1916. 
From the Manitoba Free Press, January 10, 1916:
  W. Boulton, a soldier whose regimental number was 718126, went into the Boston Beanery, Albert street in company with a lady friend at 8 o’clock last night. He ordered meals for himself and friend, and about 15 minutes later, when he had just commenced to eat a juicy beefsteak and chip potatoes which he had ordered for himself, he was taken suddenly ill. Annie, the waitress, and several customers went to his assistance the impression being that he had only fainted. The police ambulance was summoned, and Constable Burnett and Dixon rendered first aid. Boulton was taken to the General hospital, never having regained consciousness, and on being examined by a doctor at that institution was pronounced dead. Boulton’s antecedents could not be traced by the authorities last night. Prior to enlisting he had been in the real estate business and is believed to be the owner of one or two houses in the city and some vacant lots in a western town. He was about 40 years of age, height 5 ft 11 in. weighing about 200 pounds, hair brown, tinged with grey and slightly bald, full face clean shaven. Saturday night he occupied a room at the Congress hotel. Coroner McConnell is investigating the case and a post mortem examination will probably be held today.

From the same day in the Winnipeg Tribune:

William Boulton Expires at Table in Boston Beanery - Accompanied by Woman
     William Boulton, a private in a battalion stationed in Winnipeg, died suddenly when partaking of a meal in Boston Beanery, Albert street, Sunday night. He was in the company of a woman whose name is not known.
     Boulton ordered meals for two, and when his portion was brought he started eating, showing no signs of weakness. Suddenly his head dropped on his chest and his features became drawn and white. City police constables who were patrolling that beat were called and hurried the soldier to the General hospital where a doctor pronounced him dead.
     The man’s antecedents cannot at present be traced. The only clues the police have to his identity are his regimental number and his name. Coroner BJ McConnell will hold a post mordem today.
From Tuesday, Janaury 11, 1916 Winnipeg Tribune:
     Pte. William Boulton, who died suddenly while eating in the Boston Beanery, Albert street, Sunday evening, was choked to death through the lodging of a piece of beefsteak in his windpipe, according to Dr. Capt. Turner and Dr. Gordon Bell, who conducted the post mortem examination Monday afternoon. The relatives of the soldier have not yet been found, but it is believed his mother resides somewhere in Western Canada.
The style of writing of the day is really something. There is not the concern like today for privacy, political correctness, or graphic descriptions. William Benjamin Boulton Junior is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Winnipeg.
Thanks to Keith Sly and Susan Bracken for their help with this biography.

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