Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Story Behind a Forester's Ribbon

I believe that the things left behind help us fill in and remember the life stories of those who have gone before.  This Canadian Order of Foresters ribbon badge and pin belonged to Russell Gerald Cassell, Randy's maternal grandfather.   That's him pictured in front of a healthy sunflower row with his wife Agnes.

This link shows the many charitable connections made by Foresters lodges in Canada and the US from 1870's to the present day.  A sense of community and belonging were encouraged by the group. The black reverse side of the ribbon was worn facing out at the funeral service of a member to show respect and solidarity.  



Using the online history source, Manitobia, I found the picture above of a Foresters group in the book Elkhorn 1882-1967 by Marion Sipley.  About the lodge, she says it was organized on November 25,1879 and their charter was received June 10, 1889.  It is amazing to me that men who were busy carving out homesteads, building homes and adapting to life on the prairies had time for a fraternal social organization. I have also read these groups were vital to having some insurance for families whose breadwinners were seriously injured or killed in the times before Life Insurance was affordable for the average man.   The same book says the lodge was terminated in 1966.

As an aside, this same book filled me in on something I've often wondered about Elkhorn.  It says the village was named when a C.P.R. Crew man found a 3 foot long elk horn while working in the area and the name stuck.  That makes sense!


In between the two ribbons is sewed a tag that bears the name of the manufacturer, Dominion Regalia Co Ltd at 2 Elm Street (at Yonge) in Toronto.  What a surprise to discover that the company still exists and makes ribbons and more as it has been for over a century!  Dominion Regalia has been making the poppies for all of Canada since 1996 when they were awarded the contract after many years of having the work done by disabled veterans in workshops across the country.  

The picture below from a reunion in Elkhorn in 1990 is of Grandpa Cassell in the middle in a dark suit surrounded by his dozens of descendants and their spouses.  His life has made the world a better place and what a legacy he and Agnes have left behind!  


  1. I stumbled across this blog online and it has been amazing reading and seeing family history further back than I have ever known! I'm in the front row of the family picture, 4th from the right. :)

    1. Glad you found the blog! It's been a labour of love with lots of help on the Cassell side from Aunt Allie and Aunt Ena. ( My husband Randy is on the right in the back row wearing sunglasses and I'm beside him in the shadow!). There are more family reunion pictures at this site - Sharon

  2. It's been incredibly interesting. My grandma is Marie Cassell (McMechan), my mom Jo-Anne is mid-right in the black tank top, and my Dad Kelly McMechan is right behind her holding my little brother Dillon. My older sister Megan is to the right of me I this picture. If u need any help filling in the younger years on that side let me know, I can definitely help out! :)
    -Ashley McMechan (only anonymous because I can't remember my password haha)

    1. Oops, Megan is to he left of me in the pic.