Archive for the ‘research’ Category

Letters from the Front – Part 5

November 12th, 2012

Throughout the month of November we will be posting excerpts from a selection of wartime correspondence between Pte. Sefton Stewart of the 77th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and his family in Richmond, Ontario.  The complete letters will be on display at the Stittsville Public Library in the Museum’s exhibit honouring Goulbourn in wartime.

This is letter number five:

The complete letters from Pte. Sefton Stewart are on display at the Stittsville Library.











August 25, 1916
Dear Grandfather,

Received your letter August 23rd, being very much pleased to hear from you.  I suppose on hearing of us in Belgium will be a surprise to you.  Our visit in England was much shorter than I expected.  We are now over in France and Belgium about two weeks.
On this front they seem to be holding the Germans very well, but things have been quite quiet lately.  The other day, they put over a number of large shells around our quarters, not doing much harm.  The report of these large guns was hard on the nerves at first but we are getting used to it.  Already there have been five killed and several wounded out of our Battalion.  I suppose you think well of the Scottish Battalion.
Have you been down home lately? I think you should go down and keep mother company.  You are already aware that we can’t give any information that would put anybody wise to our situation…
Best love,
Sefton

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Letters from the Front – Part 3

November 8th, 2012

Throughout the month of November we will be posting excerpts from a selection of wartime correspondence between Pte. Sefton Stewart of the 77th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and his family in Richmond, Ontario.  The complete letters will be on display at the Stittsville Public Library in the Museum’s exhibit honouring Goulbourn in wartime.
This is letter number three:

Somewhere, August 20, 1916


Dear Mother:

                Just a few lines to let you know we are all well, hoping you are all the same.  Did you receive my letter written shortly after we arrived in France?  Stopped in France a few days and then came right through to Belgium.  France and Belgium are more like Canada than England; the crops being splendid.

                You already know that they are very particular about any information given, making it hard what to say.  The airships are continually flying over our heads.  It is certainly great to see how they can handle them.  Quite often, shells are to be seen bursting all around one, from a distance they seem close.  It is said the Germans are very done out on the front, but are causing quite an excitement yet.  Our camp is surrounded by Belgian crops and houses.

                I forgot to tell in my other letter of receiving a cake when in Bramshott, but didn’t know whether it was from you or Clystal.  Anyway, the box was all broken up, together with the cake, but we certainly enjoyed it.  One thing missing most now is money, not being paid for about a month and only getting one franc or 20 cents per day.  Some of the other fellows have got word or different parcels which were sent but haven’t received them yet.  A parcel mostly takes about a week longer than a letter.

                The other evening we were very much surprised in seeing Roy Tubman and Tom Touchette, a son of Mrs. Rob Hills.  Roy looks fine.  He has been over here ten months and says he has certainly been very lucky, having some close escapes.  Touchette knew quite a few of the boys on account of coming over in the 77th draft.

                I haven’t yet got an envelope for this letter, which is a very scarce article here.

                The Germans seem to know every move, having up on a sign board “Welcome 73rd”.  The British Artillery seems to be landing over the shells much thicker than the Germans.  We were told Alvin Danby was quite close to our camp but just moved away a day before we came in.  How are Pa and George getting along at the harvest?  I suppose they have it almost finished by this time.  I guess George and Irene throw on while Eva mows back.  You will want to get Clystal up for the potato season.

                I don’t think Channon Hall would be able to stand it over here.  We feel very bad for poor Arthur being separated from us, but the last time I saw him was in Bramshott.  He was then looking fine.  It is said their quarters are about a mile over from us.  One companion we always have is our gas helmet.  In fact, we carry two all the time.  School will soon be starting again.  George will want to start as soon as possible.

 
Best love to all,

Sefton

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Letters from the Front – Part 2

November 6th, 2012

Throughout the month of November we will be posting excerpts from a selection of wartime correspondence between Pte. Sefton Stewart of the 77th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and his family in Richmond, Ontario.  The complete letters will be on display at the Stittsville Public Library in the Museum’s exhibit honouring Goulbourn in wartime.

This is letter number two:


Bramshott Camp, England
July 3rd

Dear Mother:

                Mailed you a letter July 2nd but didn’t know our present condition.  We are now transferred into the 73 Battalion.  These are Highlanders, so we will have to put on the kilts.  This is looked upon as the best Battalion that ever left Canada.  All the 77th is being broken up too.  Some fine big men out of the 77th have been turned down for the slightest drawback, such as weak heart or eyes.

                We are now in one of a string of buildings similar to those of the Ottawa Exhibition, which is much better than tents.  Tomorrow we expect to go to the range to shoot for about a week. Sunday evening we went over to Hazlemere, a nice little town, in a motor.  The roads seem very strange.  They are good but very narrow and both sides are lined with hedge or bushes….

Best love to all,
Sefton

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Letters from the Front – Remembering the Great War 1914-1918

November 1st, 2012

Throughout the month of November we will be posting excerpts from a selection of wartime correspondence between Pte. Sefton Stewart of the 77th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and his family in Richmond, Ontario.  The complete letters will be on display at the Stittsville Public Library in the Museum’s exhibit honouring Goulbourn in wartime. In addition to Sefton Stewart’s letters, there will also be local artefacts from that era, and a book containing the names of local Veterans. These men and women were either born in Goulbourn or were long-time residents of the area. If you should find there is a Veteran from Goulbourn who is not listed, please let us know – we welcome additions to this collection.
Sefton was 17-years-old when he joined the war effort.  His father was James Stewart, whose occupations included undertaker, carriage maker, farmer and one-time reeve of the village.  His mother was Margaret (McLean) Stewart.  Sefton’s family home was at 39 Perth Street in Richmond.
The Goulbourn Museum gratefully acknowledges the kind donation of these First World War letters from Mrs. Mary (Seabrook) Munro, niece of Sefton Stewart.  Her family preserved these letters for 93 years.
The correspondence covers a period from 1916 to 1918 and demonstrates in a very human way the huge sacrifices made by these young men and their families, the devastation of the European cities and countryside and the intolerable loss of life suffered by families and by countries who saw so many of its youth killed on the battlefields of Europe.  These letters capture the feel of the period in a way no history book can attempt to replicate.
Here is the first excerpt:
July 2, 1916 – Stationed at Bramskott Camp, England
 
Dear Mother:
     How is everybody?  As for me, I am quite well.  There are so many things to tell, I don’t know what to tell first.  Wrote two letters on ship but didn’t get posting them because it was reported no letters to be mailed within four days after out arrival.  Did you get the cablegram we sent?
     We had a very good trip; the weather being fine, except for the first two days which were foggy.  A great many were sick, Sid and Arthur were sick for half a day, but we were all dizzy at first.  Left Halifax Tuesday morning, arrived in England Thursday, the 28th.  Our ship, the Missanabie, Empress of Britain, and the Drake, a man-of-war, sailed together.  Saw quite a few ships.  The Drake guarded them off. 
     Came into Liverpool Harbour Thursday night.  It is a very large harbour, being crowded with ships.  From Liverpool to Bramshott Camp, it is a bushy country, divided up here and there with farms, cultivated mostly by women.
     Bramshott Camp is so large you could easily get lost, there being about 40,000 troops stationed here.  Saw Percy Foster out of the 89th and Michael Fox out of the 38th, both being very glad to see us.  We are crowded, about 15 in each tent, making it very hard to move around.
     On the 1st of July there was an inspection of all these troops by the King at Hinhead, eight miles from our camp.  A company of the 77th went as a guard.  Being the first time to see the King, it was something wonderful to see such a gathering of troops.
     The second day we were here there was an inspection by Lord Brooks, Commander of this camp.  A lot of the Battalions have been divided, but we haven’t been yet.  On ship we only had a little physical drill in the mornings.  On our ship there were 1800 soldiers; a person would never imagine all the works and machinery there is about a ship.  There were four sittings each meal, there being accommodation for 450 each sitting.
     The weather is very changeable, raining frequently.  Our first night in camp it rained all night.  We are surrounded by villages, two and three miles away.  There are some deep valleys giving a fine view of the country.  The north coast of Ireland was our first sight of land which we were all anxious to see.  The rocky coast is all divided off into small patches and the grass is very green.  When we came into the dangerous zone, we were met by three torpedo destroyers, a long, low little boat which has very high speed.  These stopped with us until we reached England.
     I guess I will write all afternoon as it is our only time, but will have to take in some of the sports which are going on.  Must write to Clystal.  Canadian mail goes Monday and Thursday.
Best love to all,
Sefton
Pte.  Sefton Stewart
77 Battalion
A Co. No. 1 Platoon
Bramshott camp
c/o Army Post Office London, England

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Shipwrecks and Sorrows Lecture Oct. 23

October 19th, 2012

The Ottawa Public Library presents Shipwrecks and Sorrows: Maiden Voyage of the 100th Regiment as part of the History Series for Adults Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Carlingwood branch at 281 Woodroffe Avenue. 
Shipping out to Canada in 1805, the new 100th Regiment of 900 Irish soldiers aboard five troopships met with maritime disasters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only seven survived one shipwreck off Newfoundland while 340 men, women and children died. Two other troopships were wrecked off Nova Scotia. 
This program is presented by historical researcher, Kurt Johnson, a board member of the Goulbourn Museum, in commemoration of the War of 1812.

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Perils and Petticoats

September 18th, 2012

Kurt Johnson will present Perils and Petticoats: Exceptional Women of the War of 1812 at the Stittsville Branch of the Ottawa Public Library on Sept. 25 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Click here for more information or to register for the event.

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Reading about the War of 1812

September 25th, 2011

With the bicentennial celebrations months away, people may be wondering what they should know about the War of 1812.

Most of us learnt about the War of 1812 back in Grade 7 history lessons, and we probably only recall the names of Laura Secord, Isaac Brock and Tecumseh. We may have little understanding of the contributions of thousands of people who fought for King and Canada on the battlefields of this continental war.

At the Goulbourn Museum, we tell about the 100th Prince Regent’s County of Dublin Regiment of Foot, which served with distinction in the War of 1812. And in 1818, the Irish lads came to Richmond to settle the town and surrounding farms, becoming our pioneer settlers.

My former Ottawa Citizen colleague, Kate Heartfield, asked friends to submit a favourite book about the War of 1812. Mine is Dianne Graves’ book, In the Midst of Alarms: The untold story of women and the War of 1812 (see book cover above).

If you want to broaden your knowledge of the War of 1812, read Kate Heartfield’s blog here where she lists numerous books — most are available through the Ottawa Public Library.

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Going Fishing for Our History

August 22nd, 2011



Historical research is like fishing in the Jock River. You cast and cast a line into murky waters. For Goulbourn Museum’s new travelling exhibit, I did research on the 1805 maiden voyage of the 100th Regiment of Foot. I went to the good fishing places as the late A. Barry Roberts, author of the outstanding history book, For King and Canada, at the Library Archives of Canada to make digital copies of British Colonial Office letters about the military disaster when three of the regiment’s five troopships were wrecked at sea.

Back home, a computer keyboard was my fishing pole — type in 100th regiment 1805 shipwreck, and see the fishtails swirling around. One website lead to another as I got luckier in snagging narratives about the tall ship Nais, also known as Aeneas, off Newfoundland and the brig Two Friends, off Cape Breton Island. More sources are available for the Nais or Aeneas, since the 340 deaths of 347 aboard rates international prominence on the United Kingdom’s major disasters list since 1707 (see Aeneas in third group of 300-499 fatalities here ).

Consequently, historians and journalists have been reporting on this maritime tragedy for 200 years, including Terence Grocott in his 2002 collection, Shipwrecks of the Revolutionary & Napoleonic Eras (see above cover and page). Goulbourn Museum bought the book after seeing it as a primary source for the Wikipedia item.

Kurt Johnson, Munster

Mail to: Kurt@goulbournmuseum.ca

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Exciting finds

August 9th, 2011




Our Goulbourn Museum director gave the key to a treasure chest when Donna Keays-Hockey e-mailed the reference http://www2.swgc.mun.ca/nfld_history/CO194/CO194-45.htm for my research on the 1805 maiden voyage of the 100th County of Dublin Regiment of Foot. Microfilm B-681, stored at the Library and Archives Canada, is a collection of six letters from British military officers reporting on the maritime disasters that befell our Goulbourn regiment. In this August 30, 1806, letter (above), Lieut.-Col. J.W. Gordon seeks financial compensation for “these [two] poor fishermen for the humanity and generosity” in rescuing and sheltering five soldiers and two seamen from the Nais troopship which sank off Newfoundland. The death toll was 340 of the 347 on board.
A. Barry Roberts wrote an excellent account of the “terrible catastrophe” in his well-researched book, For King and Canada. And what a tragic story it is: death and destruction on stormy seas; the absolute horror of men, women and children swept into the icy waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and heroes saving many victims of the shipwrecks.
In doing research for our new museum exhibit on this voyage http://www.emcstittsvillerichmond.ca/20110630/lifestyle/New+museum+exhibit+captures+settlers%27+maiden+voyage+to+Canada, it was exciting to find new information in modern books like Shipwrecks of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Eras, in old publications like Cape Breton’s Magazine, or an 1812 edition of Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea. These narratives help us present our history with the personal words of flesh-and-blood people, the pathos of tragedy, and the cold facts of knowledge.
Kurt Johnson, Munster

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Carleton County Copy Books – from guest blogger Jim Stanzell

August 8th, 2011

View Belden’s Atlas on McGill University’s website.
Carleton County Copy Books were started in March 1824 with the appointment of George T. Burke, late Colonel with 99th Regiment of Foot, previously the 100th Reg’t and Superintendent of Richmond Military Settlement, as Deputy Registrar for Carleton County. These books, 1 thru 5, continued until Feb 1847 when a book for each Township was started. Transactions contained are; Bargain and Sale, Mortgages and Discharge of Mortgage, Wills, Quit Claims and a few others. There is little genealogical data contained in these instruments but a person’s place of residence, his occupation and his wife’s given name is mentioned in a B&S in later memorials. The Township, Lot and Concession or Town Lot is always mentioned.

All five copy books have been indexed in two stages. Books 1 thru 4 were done first and surname and given names by memorial are given. Book 5 was done next detailing buyer, seller and witnesses as well as Township, Lot and Concession for each memorial. Then Copy book 1 was done in similar format to book 5.

These ledger type books are located in Ottawa City Archives, 100 Tallwood, corner of Woodroffe, third floor, reading room.

Jim Stanzell   

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Goulbourn Museum

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