Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Fair Memories

It's that time of year again - the time for fall fairs, the traditional time to celebrate agriculture and the harvest, along with innovations in manufacturing and technology. The oldest of these fairs in Canada is the Canadian National Exhibition, or CNE, held each year since 1879 in Toronto, Ontario during the last two weeks of August and including the Labour Day weekend. The photo below from http://commons.wikimedia.org shows the Princes' Gates to the 192 acre Toronto lakefront property that annually hosts the fair, in 2003.

My maternal grandfather, J. (John) Graham O'Neill often shared stories with me about his parent's struggles in attending the 'Ex' with him when he was a child due to his carriage wheels often becoming stuck in the mud of the unpaved fair grounds in the late 19th century.

My own memories range from tolerating my parents' desire to wander through the exhibits of the latest appliances and household conveniences when I knew that the real fun was to be found on the midway to impressing a teenage date by attending a 1975 concert by her favourite 'group', only to blow it by admitting that I wasn't at all familiar with any of the group's music. The group was Chicago. I'm familiar with their music now!

My most memorable 'Ex' recollection however, was the coming of age involved in being allowed to attend the fair for the first time on my own. The year was 1968 and the featured attraction for my friends and I was called "Time Being." An entire building had been transformed into a "psychedelic total environment discotheque" experience, complete with a full slate of '60's rock groups providing live performances. A band would play a concert in the afternoon and another band would play an evening concert. The evening concert typically involved a more well known group.

The day that my friends and I attended 'on our own,' a little known group named "Raja" performed in the afternoon. We knew nothing of the group at the time and still can offer little by way of any song titles but the group's drummer used tympani sticks rather than standard drum sticks and that novelty alone made them interesting and worth watching to a group of 13 year old boys.

The evening performance was what we were excited about because "The American Breed" were scheduled to perform and we just had to see them. At 8:00 p.m., we were front and centre, standing in a sea of teenagers as the group played their two hour concert that included their biggest hit "Bend Me, Shape Me." With the concert over, it was time to hastily make our way to the commuter train ride home so as to not exceed any curfew. Unfortunately, the midway was placed as an obstacle between the concert building and the train station. One last ride, or two, couldn't possibly hurt. And the rides didn't hurt - they were fun, as always. What hurt was the glares from parents who found us walking home at about 1:00 a.m. as they drove through our neighbourhood looking for us.

I don't recall being allowed to go to the 'Ex' again 'on my own' until possibly that fateful date in 1975. Despite not knowing any of the music performed by her favourite group, my date married me two years later anyways!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gaull Cousin Is An Author

Pamela Gaull read my blog post in Scotland about my meeting with cousin June Morrison and realized that she and I were also connected as cousins. After she left a comment on the blog, we were able to connect by email, sharing information and photos. Since then we have added Facebook to our electronic connection toolkit.

As a result, I have been able to celebrate with Pamela from a distance, her accomplishment of having her first novel published, the cover of the book pictured below.

With the recent publication launch, Pamela has been on a bit of a promotional tour typical for authors - the launch party and book signings. On Saturday, September 11, 2010 Pamela attended a book signing in Ellon, a small town north of Aberdeen, Scotland. Not only was Pamela feted as a new and good local author, she was surprised when into the bookshop walked three other of our Gaull cousins.

From left to right, John Gaull Thomson, Pamela Gaull, Frances (McWilliam) Scorgie, and Fiona Thomson (daughter of John Gaull Thomson). I am a second cousin to each. Our common ancestors are John Gaull and his wife Harriet McKenzie. John Gaull Thomson is a great grandson, Frances and Pamela are great granddaughters, Fiona is a great great granddaughter and I am a great great grandson.

Ellen and I are planning to visit Scotland in a couple of years when I retire (Fall of 2012) so hopefully we'll be just in time for the next book signing and family get-together!

Pamela's book is available through Amazon.co.uk.

Disclaimer: I received no remuneration as a result of this post. I ordered my copy of Pamela's book through Amazon!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Last Will and Testament of Catherine Hailer Breithaupt

In my last post, I shared the last will and testament of Margaret Hailer Wagner Bean who left her estate to her children "to share and share alike." Today, I am sharing the essential elements of Catherine Hailer Breithaupt's last will and testament (Margaret's sister).

Catherine (pictured right in a 1907 photo) was born on the 16 August 1834 in Berlin (now Kitchener), Upper Canada (now Ontario). It is reported that Catherine was the first person of German heritage to be born in this region of Ontario that is now famous for its German culture, including a widely popular annual 'Oktoberfest.' In 1853, Catherine married Louis Breithaupt, a tanner born in Germany who at the time was living and doing business in Buffalo, New York. Catherine met Louis through her brother-in-law, Jacob Wagner, Margaret's husband. Louis and Catherine had ten children, the first three of whom were born on New York state before the family moved back to her hometown of Berlin.

Louis died in 1880 and Catherine lived the next 30 years as a widow in Berlin before she herself passed away in 1910. Catherine was survived by six of her ten children. The tannery and leather goods business had been very prosperous ans consequently, Catherine left an estate much more sizable than her older sister, Margaret. Her residence pictured below in 1897, published in the "Busy Berlin Jubilee Souvenir" booklet displays a grand Victorian era lifestyle.

Catherine left the following:

1. $3, 000 [about $65,000 - $70,000 today] "to be invested at interest by my executors and the interest derived therefrom to be paid yearly to The Missionary Society of the Canada Conference of the Evangelical Association of North America.

2. $3,000 to be similarly invest for the same Canada Conference Church Building fund.

3. $1,000 the the General Missionary Society of the Evangelical Association "to be used by them for heathen missions only."

4. $1,000 for the Young Men's Christian Association in the Town of Berlin to erect a new building or purchase the building they were currently occupying.

5. $500 to the Deaconess Society of the Canada Conference of the Evangelical Association

6. Land on Margaret Avenue in the Town of Berlin for the Deaconess Society to establish a suitable Home.

7. $500 to the Zion Church in Berlin "to be used by them only for repairs to the pipe organ."

8. "I bequeath the sum of Three Hundred Dollars to each of my grandchildren who shall survive me."

9. "If my sister Margaret survives me [and she did] she is to be paid ten dollars per month after my decease during her life and I bequeath the same to her accordingly."

10. "I bequeath to my nephew the Rev. Louis Henry Wagner, if he survives me, the sum of One Thousand dollars payable within one year after my decease without interest."

11. "I bequeath my old Family Bible, the one which belonged to my mother, to my son Louis Jacob for his life ... it being my desire that the said Bible be kept as an heirloom and be held for the time being by the oldest of my male descendants."

12. Gifts and articles received from her children were to be returned to those who had given them.

13. Household goods and furniture were to be divided equally based on agreed value and if there was no agreement then they were to be auctioned off with only the family members allowed to attend the auction.

14. All residue of the estate was to be shared equally amongst her surviving children.

15. "With respect to my daughters' shares I desire expecially (sic) that they shall retain their shares in their own names and under their own control and free from the control or disposition of any husband they have or may have."

The will of Catherine Hailer Breithaupt named her sons as executors and was probated on 23 March 1911.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Last Will and Testament of Margaret Hailer Wagner Bean

Margaret Hailer was born in Chippewa, Ontario in 1831, the eldest child of Jacob and Margaret Hailer. As a very young child, Margaret moved with her parents from Chippewa, a small village near Niagara Falls, to Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario or Upper Canada as it was then. Her parents, her father specifically, are reported to be the first 'European' settlers in the region.

At the age of 18, Margaret married the Rev. Jacob Wagner with whom she had 3 children. Following Jacob's death, Margaret married Daniel Bean (Biehn), a school teacher, in 1862. Margaret and Daniel had 6 children. Margaret died July 7, 1918 and her last will and testament was probated on May 13, 1919.

In her will, Margaret directed the following:

"1. I will and direct that all my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses shall be paid.

2. I will and direct that my real & personal estate if any shall be sold privately or by public auction and converted into money at such time or times as my executors may in their discretion deem prudent.

3. I will and direct that my children who have paid to me certain legacies which they received from the Estate of my father J. J. Hailer, dec. and for which I gave them my notes, shall be repaid according to the agreement expressed in said notes. Should there not be enough left however to pay them in full, I will and direct that they share and share alike, according to the amount received from each. Funeral and testamentary expenses as also any just debts other than these mentioned in this article shall be paid in full and preferred.

4. Should there be any residue, after above claims have been duly settled, I will and direct that my eight children, their heirs or assigns forever, shall share and share alike, namely: To Catherine Bates, one-eighth, To Louis Henry Wagner one eighth, To Eusebius H. Bean, one eighth, To Euphemia Schmidt, one eighth, to Emma Mary Bean, one eighth, to Samuel U. Bean, one eighth, to Jacob Wesley Bean, one eighth, and to Alma Margareth Bean, one eighth.

5. I appoint my sons Louis Henry Wagner and Eusebius H. Bean the Executors of this my last Will and Testament."

The Will was signed by Margaret Bean and was witnessed by two of Margaret's nephews - Louis J. Breithaupt and his brother, John Christian Breithaupt.

Interestingly, it can be noted that 8 of Margaret's nine children are named in the will. Only Jacob Wagner (Jr.), her youngest child with her first husband, born in 1859, is not named.

Monday, September 13, 2010

They Walked to Conquer Cancer Again!

We all have a story to tell about at least one special someone who has received the terrifying diagnosis of cancer. In April, I posted a story about my daughters, Lisa and Jenna who formed a team to participate in the 60 kilometer (a little more than 37 miles) Walk to End Breast Cancer in support of research at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Ontario.

They raise funds and walk because breast cancer took their mother from them when they were just teenagers.

It hadn't been the first time that Karen had found a small lump in a breast. The first time had occurred in our second year of marriage. At that time, the benign lump had been removed and Karen had been told not to worry as some people were just prone to these small 'cysts.' In August 1999, twenty years later, another small lump was found. A mammogram indicated that there was again nothing to worry about and that further medical intervention was not needed "except for the patient's peace of mind." With no 'peace of mind' and as only worry was being felt, surgery was scheduled to remove the lump.

On December 20, 1999, Karen and I returned to her surgeon's office full of expectations to be told all was well. Her surgeon entered the small office where we waited, sat down beside Karen and uttered the life changing words, "I'm afraid I don't have very good news for you." Karen passed away in 2002 after a brave battle with an aggressive form of cancer.

Lisa and Jenna formed the team 'Karen's Wings' to raise funds by completing a marathon type two day walk through the streets and neighbourhoods of Toronto. In the past two years, their team has raised about $14,500 to fund leading edge research that is inching closer to a cure.

This past weekend, 4,633 cancer survivors and their supporters hit the streets and walked again. The oldest walker was 97 years young 'Kitty' and the youngest survivor, a 4-year old girl who has already experienced the trauma of a double mastectomy. Below, Lisa and Jenna cross the finish line at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds to the cheers of many gathered there to offer encouragement and congratulations.

The closing ceremonies allowed all participants, including the survivors shown below wearing their pink survivor shirts entering the ceremonies across the stage, to celebrate their achievement - this year raising $10.6 million to further the Princess Margaret cancer research work.

Next year, we plan to expand the Karen's Wings team with the addition of my son John along with my wife, Ellen and myself (assuming doctors okay the participation of us 'old folks'). Our real hope, however, is that we won't need to walk because cancer will have been beaten!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Could Have Been Rich!

On April 1, 1858, Jacob Wagner, my wife's great great grandfather, entered into a partnership agreement with Louis Breithaupt. Jacob and Louis were brothers-in-law, having married sisters Margaret and Catherine Hailer, respectively. The original hand written agreement is on file at the University of Waterloo, Ontario in the Wagner Hailer Family fonds.

The agreement reads, in part:

L. Breithaupt of the city of Buffalo, N.Y. and
Jacob Wagner of the city of Berlin, Waterloo County, C.W. [Canada West]

for the purpose of carrying on a Leatheretton and Tannery in the said Berlin city.

We, the undersigned hereby agree, that L. Breithaupt and Jacob Wagner divide the profits and losses of the concern equally.

There is to be an equal capital in it, from each of us, say about $3000 - to four thousand dollars each. The one, that puts any more capital in it then [sic] the other, is to have lawful interest for same."

The agreement then goes on to note that Jacob Wagner "is to have full charge of the business." Also, "the business is to be worked on under the name and style Breithaupt and Wagner."

Sadly, eighteen days after Jacob and Louis signed this agreement, on April 19, 1858, Jacob died. Louis, without his brother-in-law and partner, proceeded to establish the tannery in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, pictured above as it looked in 1897 from the book "Busy Berlin: Jubilee Souvenir 1897."

The business was a huge success, launching the family into local and provincial prominence in addition to sustaining a wealthy lifestyle for four generations before the family business was sold.

That wealth, as a result of Jacob's death, did not extend into the Wagner family so I'm not rich - but I'm fine with having married into charm and good looks!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Sibling Photos

At my son's recent wedding (see John and Maryann Got Married!), my sister, Lou-Anne insisted on having a photo taken of the 'senior' Hadden siblings - Lou-Anne, our brother Bob and myself. The photo below is the result of Lou-Anne's insistence.

In our sibline, I am the oldest, followed by Lou-Anne, and then Bob. The same order as we stood together for the photo. (Two brothers, Brian and Stephen who were born between myself and Lou-Anne died at 2 months and 14 months respectively).

The photo seemed to be a first. For some reason I couldn't remember another time when we had a photo taken of just the three of us. There were photos of us with our spouses or children but nothing in which the three 'kids' were together. That is, until I came across the gem below, taken around 1965, that captured our annual visit with Santa (oh, and that thing I'm wearing is my Daniel Boone 'bulky-knit' sweater, hand made by our mother).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Family Connection to the 18th Premier of Ontario

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I had found a connection in my wife Ellen's family to the 18th Premier of Ontario - William Grenville Davis, also known as Bill Davis or in some quarters, 'Brampton Billy.'

My hunt for the connection began when I spotted Bill Davis' name listed in the lengthy online summary of the various family records held by the University of Waterloo's Breithaupt Hewetson Clark Collection. Bill Davis was the Premier of Ontario when I began my career as a public servant working for the province of Ontario (some 31 years ago) so seeing his name in family records connected to Ellen's family really piqued my curiosity. In addition, no one in the family had ever mentioned a connection to one of Ontario's longest serving Premiers in the modern era.

The same record group summary that mentioned Bill Davis also mentioned his mother, Vera Davis (nee Hewetson). I was aware of the Hewetson family in relation to Ellen's family. The connection is found through Rosa Melvina Breithaupt (Ellen's second cousin, twice removed) who married Alfred Russell Hewetson on 10 October 1917. Hewetson ran a very successful shoe manufacturing business in Brampton, Ontario with his father, John William Hewetson.

When Alfred Russell Hewetson died of pneumonia in 1928, at age 40, Rosa took over his involvement in the business. Eventually, Rosa would re-marry to H. Spencer Clark with whom she would establish the renowned Guild of All Arts or Guild Inn and the planned community of Guildwood Village in the Scarborough area of Toronto, Ontario.

Now to the Bill Davis connection - Alfred Russell Hewetson's sister, and Rosa's sister-in-law, Vera Mildred Hewetson married successful Brampton, Ontario lawyer, Albert Grenville Davis in 1923. Their son, William Grenville Davis, was born in 1929. Rosa was Bill Davis' aunt although it is not clear from the records and biographical information I have read, whether he knew her as such. So Bill Davis does not have a 'blood' relationship to Ellen but their families are connected.

Bill Davis followed in his father's footsteps and was called to the Ontario bar in 1955. In June 1959, he was elected to represent the provincial riding of Peel, which included his hometown of Brampton. He served as the Minister of Education from 1962 to 1971 and as Premier of the Province of Ontario from 1971 to 1985. During the 1960's, Davis transformed the education and especially the school board system in the province and, as Premier, he lead the province through tremendous years of growth. His critics, and what politician doesn't have a few of those, accused him of being bland.

In his most famous quote, Davis replied to his critics, "Bland works!"