Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Christening Tradition - Or Ted's Great Christening Adventure

Recently, while attempting to organize old family photos, well, at least get them all together and safely stored in one place, I was simultaneously taking the time to scan photos that I knew I had not converted into an electronic format.

I love family photos. They capture moments, usually important moments, of family gathering and celebrations like birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. 

A few of the photos that I scanned really caught my attention as one of the main subjects in the photos was my wife's father, Carl Wagner, wearing his army uniform and holding an infant. On the reverse side of the photos, notes about the photos had been written by Ellen's mother, Tess (Olive Theresa Evelyn (nee Latimer) Wagner). The photos were from Ellen's oldest brother Ted's christening. That Ted (formally Carl Edward Wagner) was christened came as no surprise but rather it was the generations of family members who attended the christening that fascinated me.

In the photo above, Ted as an infant is being held by his great grandfather, Rev. Louis Henry Wagner in front of the church in which the christening took place. Unfortunately the name of the church is not identified. 

Tess' note on the reverse of the photo offers much to the family history. She wrote, "Baby Carl 15 weeks old! Great Grandfather Wagner christened him this Day! This is the church too. Grandfather 86 years old and he had christened wee Carl, his father Carl and Grandfather Louis Wagner! Grandfather Wagner was so proud to do this!"

Grandfather Louis Wagner, referred to in the note is not present in any of the christening photos. It is probable that he was unable to attend the christening as he lived in Saskatchewan, Canada at the time and the christening took place likely in London, Ontario.

Two additional photos from the same family celebration were of special interest but needed a bit of research to identify the family members depicted. In the photo below, the reverse side of the photo noted that 'Baby Carl' or Ted was with "Great Great Aunt Alma and Adolph."

Well, following some digging I learned that Great Grandaunt Alma was Margarette Otilla Alma Bean, the half-sister of Great Grandfather Rev. Louis Henry Wagner. Their mother, Margaret Hailer had married Daniel Bean (Biehn) following the death of her first husband Rev. Jacob Wagner. Adolph was Alma's son Paul Adolph Bender, making him Ted's first cousin twice removed. Alma's husband and Adolph's father, Alfred C. Bender is also in the photo, standing on the left.

Finally, here is a photo which is described by Tess Wagner as "4 Generations - Grandfather, Father, Great Aunt Florence, Baby Carl."

It was the Great Aunt Florence reference that had me puzzled. After some digging, I learned that 'Great Aunt Florence" was Margaret Florence Wagner who married Norval Laverne Knetchel. 'Florence' was Rev. Louis Henry Wagner's daughter from his second marriage. Louis had married Sarah Lodema Moyer in 1889 following the death of his first wife Mary Staebler in 1887.

I do love old family photos and the moments they capture!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lest We Forget - The Hadden - Wagner Families Wall Of Honour

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we pause to reflect and remember those who went before us, bravely sacrificing their youth and in too many cases their lives, for our freedom.

The following is the list of those known brave ancestors, some from my family and some from Ellen's, who gave so much. Today especially, we remember them. They shall not be forgotten.

World War I

GAMMIE, James (1895-1918), Private, Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, killed in action

GAMMIE, Peter (1893-1984), Private, Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force

GORDON, Alexander Garrow Duncan (1891-1917), Private, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, killed in action

MERNER, Albert Edward 'Herbert' (1897-1917), killed in action

TRIGGS, James Little (1899-1916), Cabin Boy, Royal Navy, killed in action

TRIGGS, Phillip (1899-1967), Cabin Boy, Royal Navy

FINDLATER, William (1880-1918), British Army, died at home from wounds

World War II

SENATO, Nicola F. (1913-1945), U.S. Army, killed in action, Japan

NUSBICKEL, Thomas Raymond (1923-2002), U.S. Army

GAULL, George Leonard 'Lenny' (1920-2013), Canadian Armed Forces

MORGAN, Bruce Evan, M.D. (1924-2007), Navigator, Canadian Air Force

WAGNER, Carl Francis (1917-1993), Canadian Armed Forces

WAGNER, Gordon Gilbert Henry (1914-1994), Canadian Armed Forces 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Great Grandaunt Emily Visits The Latimer Family In Canada

It was the Spring of 1933 when Emily (Squires) Wiggin set off on a trip around the continental United States and Canada. A year earlier, Emily became a widow when her husband Charles died in their home state of California. This trip would take her from the Pacific to the Atlantic and then north through Canada on her return home. The trip would also include a two-day visit in Orillia, Ontario to see how her niece, Mattie (Knox) Latimer was getting along.

(from left to right, Knox Latimer, Emily (Squires) Wiggin, Mattie (Knox) Latimer, and Albertine Latimer)

Mattie was the oldest child and only daughter of Emily's older sister Amy (Squires) Knox. Amy and her husband Thomas were solid fixtures in California where Thomas had served for many years as Postmaster and Mayor of Livermore and then as a County Supervisor.  Mattie had not remained in California however, moving to Canada soon after marrying Edward Latimer in 1906.

Fortunately, Emily kept a diary of her trip and so we learn directly from her that on Saturday, May 6, 1933, she arrived in Toronto at 7:45 a.m. to a downpour where she was welcomed and greeted by Charlotte (Latimer) Mullett, the sister of Edward Latimer, Charlotte's daughter Doris Mullett, and Albertine 'Abby' Latimer, Edward and Mattie's eldest child who would accompany Aunt Emily to Orillia for her visit.

(left to right, Tess Latimer, Albertine 'Abby' Latimer, Emily (Squires) Wiggin, and Mattie (Knox) Latimer)

After a breakfast of coffee and toast, Aunt Emily and Abby reached Orillia by train around noon where they were met by Abby's brother Knox Latimer. As Emily described the visit, "After dinner with Mattie and family, who all gave me a warm welcome, we went through a nearby hospital, then Knox took us, Mattie, Tess [Tess was Ellen's mother Olive Theresa Evelyn (Latimer) Wagner] and me for a ride in a truck to a Park and Statue of Champlain...Hazel and Jack also came over to see me. Had a most enjoyable day."

(Edward Knox Latimer, May 1933, Orillia, Ontario)

It sounds like it was also a tiring day, for in her entry for Sunday, May 7th, Emily starts off with, "Everybody slept late, but all were on hand for dinner. Ed [referring to Mattie's husband Edward Latimer] not so hilarious today as yesterday."  Following a Sunday afternoon drive around the town of Orillia to see the sites, Emily caught the 7:10 p.m. train back to Toronto where she purchased some post cards and her train ticket to Vancouver. After commenting in her diary that "Albertine was lovely and invaluable," she "went to bed right away on the train and slept well."

(Olive Theresa Evelyn 'Tess' Latimer, aged 13, May 1933, Orillia, Ontario)

Finally, my sincere thanks to Ellen's cousin Pam Marino of Jamestown, California for the previously unseen by us photos and diary pages for which she granted permission for me to share with other family members through this post!