Monday, March 29, 2010

James Gammie Homestead File

One of the important documents that I have been able to obtain is the homestead file for James Gammie. James, a half brother of my great grandfather, Alexander Shand Hadden, had been killed in action in France in 1918 during the First World War. In his will, completed as part of his Canadian Expeditionary Force induction, James had named his mother, Helen (nee Shand) Gammie as his next of kin.

Born on April 26, 1895 at St. Nicholas, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, James was 12 years old when his parents moved the family from Scotland to Saskatchewan, Canada. A few months past his 16th birthday, James completed a Form No. 1, Application for Entry for a Homestead, a Pre-emption or a Purchased Homestead which was assigned file number 26986. His application was subsequently registered on August 30, 1911 at the Dominion Lands Office in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and James was granted the north-west quarter section of Section number 9 in Township 8, Range 10 of the 3rd Meridian.

The homestead file for this piece of property not only contains the registered application that James submitted but also his army will and Department of Militia and Defence written confirmation of his death in France due to wounds received in action in addition to the Surrogate Court order conveying the land to his mother, Helen, in accordance with his last wishes. Interestingly, the order had the following clause attached to it.

This Grant is made upon the condition that no portion of the assets shall be distributed or paid during the war to any beneficiary or creditor who is a German, Austro-Hungarian, Turkisk or Bulgarian subject wherever resident, or to anyone on his behalf, or to or on behalf of any person resident in Germany, Austria Hungary, Turkey, or Bulgaria, or whatever nationality, without the express sanction of the Crown acting through the Attorney General of the Province, and if any distribution or payment is made contrary to this condition the grant of Letters of Administration with Will annexed will be forthwith revoked.

The court order with the attached clause was signed and issued by the Surrogate Court on April 6, 1920, a little more than nine months after the Treaty of Versailles had officially ended the war. It appears that perhaps, there were still some lingering hard feelings!

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