Saturday, 31 January 2015

Stanley Boulton (1892 - 1979)

Stanley Bolton was the seventh of twelve children born to Thomas Boulton and Margaret Johnson. He was born in 1892 and grew up on the family farm at Graham Lake, Ontario.

The photo below of the Benjamin and Ann Boulton home near Reston, MB in about 1910 has Stanley's name written on it that identifies him as the man on the far left. Ann was his aunt, his father's sister. Other members of the family including his sister Abbey Johnson, brothers Abraham and Thomas William and his father Thomas spent some time in the Reston area as well.

At some point, Stanley, or Stan as he is often referred to, moved to Griffin, Saskatchewan near Weyburn.  Here is an article about modern day Griffin a tiny town that is showing regrowth due to the oil activity in the area.

A history book that is found online at called More Griffin Prairie Wool written in 1967 by Mary Scarrow and Mabel Charlton offers the following information about Stan on page 113 .  My thanks to Debbie Sheardown from Davidson, SK for finding this gem for me.  Stan is identified as the man standing on the right in this wonderful studio picture likely from that time. 

This book also says that a man named Bill Grimes bought the garage in the early 1920's and went into partnership with Stan.  The 1921 Canadian Census finds 29 year old Stanley at Griffin in a wood house on Main Street along with his 87 year old father Thomas.   

During the depression, the garage business seemed to die so Bill Grimes retired.  The lack of money for gas and car repairs meant people went back to using horse and buggy and the services of a mechanic in small town Saskatchewan were no longer required.  Luckily for Stan, he seems to be an adaptable fellow and took his mechanical aptitude to harvest equipment instead.  Playing the harmonica was also one of his talents.  


The photo above was likely taken in the forties of Stanley with 2 of his siblings, Abe and Mary Herbison back in the Brockville area. Thanks to Ontario family for sending it to me.

He is pictured above in Winnipeg with his sisters Mary Herbison and Edythe Morris where he died at age 87.  The local RM of Albert History Book written in 1984 says he pioneered the mechanical harvesting industry and I am left curious for more details on that.  Please contact me if you know more of Stanley's story.

Great nieces of Stanley's recall meeting him and tell me he had kept his tools, even at quite an elderly age.  Many of these tools belonged to his father Thomas it seems.  His niece Audrey Morris was able to reunite him with his siblings Mary and Edith for a meal in her home in the seventies.  

Thomas Boulton (1840 - 1926)

Thomas Boulton Jr.

Thomas Boulton was the older brother of Randy's Great Grandmother Ann Henrietta Boulton. He was born in 1840 to Thomas Sr and Ann Higginson Boulton. He inherited land on the west side of Lamb's Pond near New Dublin in Elizabethtown Township from his father than had been granted to him after the Battle of Windmill. It was shared between his two sons William Benjamin and Thomas. William Benjamin later bought out Thomas and the latter moved to to farm at Graham Lake, further north.  This is where Thomas and his wife Margaret raised their family of 12 children. A grandson sent me the photo below of their homestead at Graham Lake.  Try to picture a family of 12 in this home!  Thank you, Don.

On July 5, 1878, 38 year old Thomas Boulton married 17 year old Margaret Johnson (1861 - 1945) at  Belleville in Hasting County, Ontario.  On the 1891 Canadian census, Thomas and Margaret and 7 children were farming in Leeds County.  In 1901 their address on the census is Yonge and Escott (front) in Leeds South.  They have 10 children living with them in that year.  
Mary, Edna, Elton King , Edythe, Lorne, Lenna, George Herbison

Grandson Don also sent the above photo of Margaret with her son Lorne's Model T. 

By the early 1900's Thomas had left Ontario for points west, where Ann Henrietta and her husband Benjamin had come in 1892. Thomas' brother William Benjamin had also moved west and some of Thomas and Margaret's children too.   I believe the family was as listed below.

Thomas Boulton was found on the 1921 census in Griffin, SK with his son Stan and died in 1926.  The Griffin Cemetery records the burial of a Thomas Bolton.  

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Lorne Boulton (1897 - 1967)

Robert "Lorne" Boulton was another nephew to Randy's great grandmother, Ann Boulton. A relative in Ontario (who was a wife to a nephew of Lorne's) had sent the above photo to Russell years ago and he recently passed it on to me. The entire service records of soldiers from World War One are in the process of being digitized and are online at Library and Archives Canada. Using that information and other online documentation, I have written his biography as follows. Further information is welcome through the comments below or to my email at
Lorne on the right with his sisters Edna and Edythe.  Florence "Edna"  died in 1925 of tuberculosis.
Lorne was 4 years younger than Ernest, a subject of an earlier blog post.  Ernest signed up as a member of the Canadian Expeditionary force in February of 1916 and was killed in France in September of 1917. That must have been such a sad time for the family: father Thomas, mother Margaret and their 11 remaining children. It would have surely been a traumatic time when third youngest child, Robert Lorne, was drafted in June of 1918.

Lorne had been born on October 11, 1987 in Brockville, making him 20 years old when he was drafted.  His regimental number is 3323488.

This brother seems to spell his name with the "u" as we do, unlike Ernest, whose documentation all spells it "Bolton".  Lorne's service file indicates that he was 5 feet 7 and a half inches tall with light complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. 

Lorne arrived in Birkenhead, England on August 15, 1918.  Training notes in his online file indicate he participated in training in Musketry, Bombing, Rifle Bombing, Anti-Gas and Rapid Wiring in October and November of 1918.  Perhaps fortunately, he would only serve 1 year, 2 months, 3 days on active duty however as in January of 1919, Lorne was admitted to hospital, diagnosed with influenza and later pneumonia.  He would spend the next 5 months in and out of hospitals including one in Eastborne, England.  As an interesting "small world" moment, this was the birthplace of his cousin Thomas' wife Elsie Bushby who had come to Canada before the war, not that he knew that of course.  

Many medical reports are in his service file over this time as his condition was not getting better and at one point his health was described as "dangerously ill"  Even after he left hospital, the aftereffects gave him general weakness and inability to carry on regular duties.  He saw no theatre of war service due to the illness.  It appears he was not given pension benefits at his time as they did not consider his injuries due to battle. Lorne was demobilized - discharged from active service -  and arrived home to Canada July 21, 1919.  He was officially discharged on August 21, 1919.

Lorne is found on the 1921 Canadian census living at Front of Yonge Township in Leeds, Ontario with his mother Margaret, brother Gordon and sisters Edna and Edith.  This was their farm near Graham Lake, northeast of Lyn.  He went on to marry Alma Kirkland (1900-1953) and live in the Lyn area until he passed away in 1967.


Mary and George Herbison, Alma and Lorne Boulton, Lenna and Elton King at the left and Lorna and Alma in the 1950's.

Ernest Bolton (1893-1917)


Ernest Bolton was a nephew to Randy's great grandmother, Ann Boulton.  A relative in Ontario (who was a wife to a nephew of Ernie's) had sent these photos to Russell years ago and he recently passed them on to me.  The entire service records of soldiers from World War One are in the process of being digitized and are online at Library and Archives Canada.  Using that information and other online documentation, I have written his biography as follows. Further information is welcome through the comments below or to my email at
Ernest was born on May 23 in 1893 to Thomas Bolton (1840-1926) and Margaret Johnson (1861-1945) in Brockville, Ontario.  He was eighth born of their twelve children. They farmed at Graham Lake, northwest of Lyn, Ontario.  Thomas was 20 years older than his wife Margaret, who had been born in Scotland.  Ernest appears in the 1891 and 1901 Canadian census living with his farming parents.

A kind soul from the Davidson Library, Debbie Shearwood, was generous to help me with my research and found record of him next.  In the 1906 and 1911 Census record young Ernest is at Davidson, Saskatchewan.  She sent me the clip below from the Davidson Leader archives.

This prairie town is midway between Moose Jaw and Saskatoon and apparently he was working there at one time as a lineman with the Government Telephone Department.  What brought him to Davidson, I am not sure.  Another son of Thomas and Margaret, Stanley, is in a photo at the Boulton farm at Reston in about 1910. He was a garage owner at Griffin, SK on the 1921 census and his father Thomas lived with him.  Griffin and Davidson are 300 kilometers apart, however.

On February 29, 1916, 23 year old Ernest Bolton enrolled in the Canadian Expeditionary Force from where he was living, in Davidson. His next of kin was listed as his mother Maggie, living in Brockville. He declares his trade as a teamster and a driver on these papers where he is noted as being 5 feet 10 inches tall and 178 pounds with fresh complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair.  He is declared as a Presbyterian.  After a complete medical examination and being given vaccinations and immunizations, he is declared fit and is given regimental number 504033.
They wasted no time getting him overseas as he left Halifax on May 16, 1916 and arrived in Liverpool 14 days later.  His service record shows him as having entered a School of Cooking in March of the next year for 2 weeks.

On August 1 he was granted 10 days leave and noted in the picture above, it was taken on his last leave in Paris in August of 1917.  His file says he rejoined his unit on August 12th and on September 18, he was killed in action.  A clip from his hometown paper is pictured below, thanks to Debbie.

Ernie was part of the 10th field company of Canadian engineers and was the rank of Sapper.  I have found that a "Sapper" is the name given to a soldier who is charged with facilitating the living, moving or fighting of the forces.  They may be bridge builders, foxhole diggers, or his his case, a cook for the soldiers.  

After originally writing this blog entry, a nephew of Ernest's was so kind as to send me a copy of the original letter sent to Ernie's mother on September 24, 1917.  I am so glad to be able to tell the final chapter of the story as written below.
My Dear Mrs. Boulton -  
It is with regret that I write to tell you of the manner of your son's death in action.He was in charge of a working party in one of our trenches, on the afternoon of the 18th, when a Hun shell, burst in the trench close to where he was standing.  A piece entered his side and he died instantly.We got his body out that night and he was buried the next day back of the lines, a Church of England Chaplain taking the service and as many men as could be mustered being present.I cannot do more than tell you that he was a most brave and gallant man and his loss is felt by all ranks of the company.  Since ceasing to be a cook and while doing front line work he had continually volunteered for all the dangerous jobs and when these jobs were allotted to him, he carried them out with bravery and thoroughness.  All ranks mourn his loss and I can assure you that his place will be hard to fill.Will you please accept the sincere sympathy of myself and all ranks of this unit in your bereavement.
Yours very sincerely,  Capt. C.E.

Ernie was buried in Sucrerie Cemetery in Ablain-St Nazaire in France at Pas-Calais.  Details of his headstone can be found here.  His file indicates his father received a Memorial Plaque and Scroll with serial #800712 and his mother the Memorial Cross.

The town of Davidson honoured Ernest on their War Memorial.  Thanks again to Debbie for the pictures below.  Ernie was one of so many young men who left Canada never to return to their homes and families.  "We will remember them". 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Uncle Frank

John Franklin Boulton (1925-2014)

John Franklin Boulton was born August 24, 1925 to Thomas Boulton and Elsie Bushby, the sixth of eight children.  The photo above was taken when he was 4 or 5 years old with the dog called Fannie.  He told me that remembered this picture being taken with an old Brownie camera as he was facing west right where the driveway at the farm is now.  The absence of trees behind him makes it look so different from today.  I am told that Frank had red hair and it looks like it was a thick curly head of hair!  

Frank with his grandmother Ann and sister Mary about 1929
Frank and Faye Boulton, Raymond White
Besides his parents, sisters and brother, there were several other family members living in the home Frank grew up in.  His father Thomas' bachelor brother Anthony, widowed brother Herb and their mother Ann shared the home and meals with them in the thirties and forties. They also had hired men during the busy seasons that needed to be fed.  It must have been a constant chore to make a meal and clean up from the last one.  Frank recalled fondly how his mother was able to do it with whatever she had on hand or could grow or pick, very little was bought in a store.

Mary and Frank Boulton
Jean and Frank Boulton
Frank, Edwin, Anthony Boulton

Frank attended Kinloss School except for one year when the school was closed due to lack of pupils. That year, he lived in town with his Aunt Susie and Uncle Hazen Bigney during the week, especially in the winter. He had many fond memories of this couple and remembered how kind they always were to him.
Frank began farming alongside his older brother Edwin and his Dad and Uncle Anthony. He saw huge changes in farming over the 50 plus years he was actively involved from horses to large scale machinery.
Frank behind a six horse team

Perhaps one of the funniest (or most horrifying) stories he liked to tell me was about one day when they were cleaning granaries and as he was kneeling down, a mouse ran up the pant leg of his coveralls . He grabbed the mouse with one hand on the outside of his pants and ripped his coveralls off with the other. That's a story I've never forgot, especially in long grass near granaries!
Russell Boulton on Frank's knee
Uncle Frank had an important role as a caregiver at the Boulton home, especially after the death of his sister in law Merle in 1959.  He was often tasked with picking up the nephews Rick, Russell and Randy and getting them where they needed to go and then in later years did the same with his great nephews.  Frank kept busy on the farm with his chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys including an ornery pair of Chinese geese. There was always a dog, a collie named Laddie was the last.  Cats and kittens were given a pat and some kibble too. His garden north of the house was his pride - tomatoes, corn, potatoes, green beans, peas, carrots, parsnips, later pumpkins for the kids.  He proudly acquired a John Deere Model A in the 1990's.  

Great nephews with Frank on his 89th birthday
He had a soft spot for kids - Wilma's boys Drew and Stewart brought a spring back into his step and he was pressed into babysitting and chauffeuring duties with the arrival of Jarrett, Joel and Scott.  A spoonful of sugar right from the sugar bowl at coffee time was a special treat!  My boys also remember asking him for their favorites - a cold wieners to be "toasted" over the humidifier and ice tea mix with boiling water when they stayed with Uncle Frank.

In 2003, Frank moved into the Willowview Personal Care Home in Reston.  Losing his independence and being unable to drive his treasured red 1994 GMC Sierra was difficult for him.  Once he realized he could leave for a walk or a visit to the farm, he adapted and it was easier for him to cope.  He kept busy with the many activities at the home - puzzles, crokinole, Handivan Trips, Quiz Nights and Pub Nights.  

I wonder if he knew about the difference that he made in so many people's lives in his years living there as they've told us in the last few weeks. Uncle Frank was so welcoming and friendly to everyone's visitors, he made all feel welcome there.  He never said anything but,"Hello" in his special way when he first saw you - a greeting that everyone who knew him will miss.  He was one of the few residents given the passcode to the exit doors!

Frank seemed to enjoy telling me about the old days and his memories of his parents and family.  He never seemed to tire of answering my questions or telling me who was in the latest picture I found without names on the back!  His memory never seemed to fail him, he could tell what crop was sown on which quarter in what year and how it turned out.  It was amazing!

Frank had bright blue eyes that would twinkle when he had a story to tell and a smile that came right from his toes.  Staff of the Willowview have told me he was easy to love and made each and every one of them feel special.  He was known for watching the weather channel and kept track of the sunrise and sunset times each day.  He was also known for keeping watch over the bird feeder and knowing whose turn it was for a bath.  It must have been sad for him when old friends and new acquaintance would come into the home only to pass away.  He lived there nine years until his time came too on a calm December night right before Winter Solstice.

Russell, Rick and Randy with Uncle Frank - Aug 2014
We count ourselves among the lucky ones to have known and loved Uncle Frank.  His memory will live on in our minds and hearts.