Saturday, August 29, 2009

When Tragedy Strikes


I have noted that one of the great influences of our ancestor's lives was tragedy. Such seems to be the case for Ellen's grandfather, Edward Arthur Latimer (pictured on the right). His father, also an Edward, had immigrated to Canada from his native Ireland in 1864, landing in Quebec City from where he made his way to the village of Seaforth in south-west Ontario. Edward (Sr.) was a shoemaker by trade and he quickly established himself at that business in the farming community. In 1872, he married Theresa Delmage, the widow of Richard Sparling. Theresa entered her new marriage with four children and all indications are that Edward raised them as if they were his own. As the years went by, Edward and Theresa welcomed five more children into the world, the third of their children being Edward Arthur born in 1877.

In November 1899, Edward Arthur Latimer married nineteen year old Harriet Elisabeth Sooles who like Edward had be born and raised in Seaforth. They quickly settled into a house on John Street near the centre of the village and on February 1, 1901, Harriet gave birth to their first born, a daughter who they named Harriet Sooles Latimer. All did not go well however and on the same day that she gave birth to her daughter, Harriet died as a result of eclampsia and complications from the birth. One can only imagine the bitter sweet shattering of Edward's world that would only be compounded seven months later when baby Harriet died from what was referred to at the time as dentitis - complications from teething. Edward soon left Seaforth and headed west, eventually finding his way to Livermore, California, now part of the city of Oakland.

Livermore's mayor at the time was a tall, distinguished looking man named Thomas Elliott Knox who like Edward, had been born and raised in Huron County, Ontario. Thomas was married to Amy Jane Squires. Due to their place of prominence in the community, their family activities were often recorded in the local Oakland Tribune newspaper. Their daughter, Mattie Diona Knox in particular seemed to be a favourite subject of the society page where even her weekend camping trips with girlfriends were found to be newsworthy. Edward noticed Mattie as well and on November 10, 1906 Mattie and Edward were married. Following their wedding, they moved back to Canada and settled in Orillia, Ontario where they raised their son and three daughters. A happy ending born out of tragedy.


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