Saturday 11 November 2023

Ivan Culbert - The Italian Campaign

 Phil Culbert (the great-great-grandson of John Culbert and Mary Ward) follows a Facebook group called "Canadians in the Italian Campaign in World War II."

Click on photo to enlarge.

Imagine Phil's surprise when he found a photo of his father on that Facebook site! (see photo above.) I added the red arrow in the photo to indicate Sergeant Ivan Hector Culbert (1918-1979). Ivan is listening to General McNaughton addressing the officers and soldiers of the Royal Canadian Regiment, somewhere in Italy.



John Culbert & Mary Ward (great-grandparents)

Richard Culbert & Jane Eleanor Fairhall (grandparents)

Myron Manford Culbert & Effie Pearl Taylor (parents)

Ivan Hector Culbert

Descendants (Children):

Victoria "Vicky" (Culbert) Schloendorf

Ian Richard Culbert

Phillip Myron Culbert

Elizabeth Christine Culbert (1955-2020).

Saturday 19 August 2023

Support for the Small Family

 Kim (Culbert) Small's family needs our support.

Kim (the 3x-great-granddaughter of John Culbert & Mary Ward) lives in Huntsville, Ontario with her husband, Jeff and their children, Sam, Connor, and Sophie. 

Kim (Culbert) Small

Kim has endured much sorrow in the past few years. She lost her father, Greg Culbert of Campbell River, British Columbia in 2020, and her mother, Wendy Louise (Hamilton) Oke of Huntsville, Ontario in 2022.   

Kim's husband, Jeff Small has been diagnosed with inoperable stage 4 gastric cancer. 

Jeff Small

The family is under significant financial strain due to the fact that Jeff has been unable to work. Their hope is to give Jeff any added peace of mind in the days and weeks ahead. To date, they have paid $7,000 for additional testing in hopes he may qualify for a clinical trial, incurred the cost of flying family home to help with his care, and various alternative treatments.

Please click here for details on their GoFundMe fundraising campaign. Any amount you can contribute, no matter how small, will make a difference.

Thank you.

Kimberley Tara (Culbert) Small's Family Tree:
John Culbert & Mary Ward (great-great-great-grandparents)
Richard Culbert & Jane Fairhall (great-great-grandparents)
Myron Culbert & Effie Taylor (great-grandparents)
Kenneth Arthur Culbert & Helen Needham (grandparents)
Brian Gregory Culbert & Wendy Louise Hamilton (parents)

Monday 20 March 2023

Springtime in the Orchard

 Ethel Gertrude (Culbert) Gras (1886-1986), the granddaughter of John Culbert and Mary Ward, published a book of her poetry, Poems and Rhymes.

Ethel Culbert in the springtime of  her life. Ethel graduated from Victoria University at the University of Toronto with an A.B. Degree with honors. Photo courtesy of Ethel's granddaughter, Jane (Gras) Heigis.

Ethel, the daughter of Richard Culbert and Jane Eleanor Fairhall, grew up on the Culbert homestead near Lucan, Ontario, Canada on the Coursey Line. She later made her home in the United States with her husband, Norman Scott Brien Gras.

Today, let's welcome the first day of spring, 2023 with Ethel's poem, Springtime in the Orchard.

Ethel Gertrude (Culbert) Gras' Family Tree:


John Culbert and Mary Ward (grandparents)

Richard Culbert and Jane Eleanor Fairhall (parents)

Ethel Gertrude (Culbert) Gras

Descendants (Children):

Edwin Culbert Gras

Ranulf Worcester Gras

Alfred Edward Gras

Jane London Gras

Friday 17 March 2023

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This St. Patrick's Day we're joined again by Jason Poole, the 4x-great-grandson of John Culbert and Mary Ward

Jason, a resident of Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, visited the Guinness St. Jame's Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland in January 2020.

If you missed Jason's previous appearance, click here to see him at Dublin's Jameson Whiskey Distillery.


Jason Poole's Family Tree:


John Culbert & Mary Ward (4x-great-grandparents)

Henry Culbert & Margaret Wall (3x-great-grandparents)

Joseph Henry Culbert & Edith Swalwell (2x-great-grandparents)

Henry Joseph Culbert & Willena Josephine Stansell (great-grandparents)

Olin Stansell Culbert & Gladys Langdon (grandparents)

Sharron Ann Culbert & Peter William Poole (parents)

Jason William Joseph Poole 

Sunday 12 February 2023

Effie Culbert's Summer Kitchen

Remember the photo of Mel Culbert pretending to chop off the head of his little brother, Earl Culbert? (click here if you missed it.)

Here's another shot, probably from that same day at Poplar Farm near Lucan, Ontario. However, this time there's no threat of decapitation . . .

Earl Culbert (left) with his big brother Milward "Mel" Culbert and the family dog, standing at the back of the house at Poplar Farm located on Lot 19, Concession 2 (The Coursey Line) in Biddulph Township near Lucan, Ontario, Canada. Photo probably taken in the late 1930s. Click on photo to enlarge it.

I asked my siblings, Terry Culbert and Dana (Culbert) Garrett if they knew the purpose of that old wooden building attached to the back of the house. They told me it was Effie Culbert's summer kitchen

Effie Pearl (Taylor) Culbert, the wife of Myron Culbert, was the mother of the above-pictured Mel and Earl, along with four other sons: Cliff, Ken, Ivan, and Mert. 

Myron Culbert and Effie Taylor on their wedding day, 14 June 1911. Much cooking and cleaning and mending lay in store for our Effie.

It was here in her summer kitchen that Effie prepared the harvest from their abundance of fruits and vegetables. Effie canned, pickled and preserved their home-grown bounty. Not only was there enough produce to feed their large family, they also sold some of their produce at the Covent Garden Market in London, Ontario; a journey of over 20 miles (32 km) from their home.

See the pump on the right hand side of the summer kitchen photo? That pump was connected to an underground well, and it was the Culbert family's source of water for drinking, cooking and bathing. Like other farmers in the area, Myron and Effie didn't have indoor plumbing and running water so they had to go outdoors to the pump for all their water needs.

The water pump at Poplar Farm. Pumps, made of cast iron, drew the water up through an underground well. You had to push up and down on the long handle for the water to come out the spout.

Off that cement deck, Effie chopped the heads off the various fowl that she raised, such as chickens and turkeys. She plucked and prepared them for supper. This was many decades before anyone in our family became a vegan. Meat was the meal of choice for farm families at that time.

Effie's turkeys. You can see the summer kitchen in the background, attached to the house.

Effie would have spent many hours in her summer kitchen. Her work never ended. 

I've been reading Effie's diaries which include entries from 1931 through to her death in 1957. She made note of what she cooked, baked and/or canned, pickled or preserved on any given day, and listed her daily household chores. I've randomly chosen some entries from July 1939.

Effie's diary entry for July 11, 1939:

Earl and I went to the bush and got 3 quarts of blackberries. Merton picked cherries and I did 8 quarts.

The next day:

The boys and I picked 4 pails of peas. I canned some and done the ironing. 

A sampling of other July entries include:

I made pies and biscuits and cherry jam. 

I got up at 4:00 a.m. and churned butter and cleaned up the front part. I did 3 quarts of berries.

Merton and I did all the milking.

We went to church twice.

I ironed and made gooseberry and raspberry jam.

We threshed the wheat. I had 11 men for supper. I made the first apple pies.

I made chokecherry jam and jelly and mended a pair of pants for Cliff.

I cleaned up the upstairs and canned peas. 

I am trying to feed three little pigs. I washed and got some ironing done.

The above were just some of things she did during the course of any particular day that month.

Raising a family of six boys on a farm was a thankless and endless series of chores. Occasionally at the end of the day, Effie made time to listen to the radio. This seems to have been her only form of relaxation although I'm sure she had her hands busy mending at the same time as she was listening

Here's to Effie Culbert and her summer kitchen!

Thursday 2 February 2023

Off With Their Heads!

Fed up with your little brother? Mel Culbert shows you how to remedy the situation! ...

Milward Taylor "Mel" Culbert (1920-1958) with his little brother, Earl Culbert (1929-1994) on Poplar Farm near Lucan, Ontario, Canada.


Yes, that's an AXE in his hand! Little brother Earl's neck is on the chopping block. 

Another day of fun on the farm in the late 1930s.

Mel and Earl and their four brothers, Cliff, Ken, Ivan and Mert were the sons of Myron Manford Culbert and Effie Pearl Taylor. The six boys were the great-grandsons of John Culbert & Mary Ward.



John Culbert & Mary Ward (great-grandparents)

Richard Culbert & Jane Eleanor Fairhall (grandparents)

Myron Manford Culbert & Effie Pearl Taylor (parents).

Sunday 1 January 2023

New Year's Resolutions - 100 Years Ago

The following article appeared in the 4 January 1923 edition of the Exeter Advocate, 100 years ago. This newspaper was read by the many descendants of John Culbert & Mary Ward who lived in or around the Lucan, Ontario area.

Note: "Gas hack" was slang at that time for "automobile."

Happy New Year!

Friday 23 December 2022

Merry Christmas!

Ivan Hector Culbert (1918-1979). This photo was taken on Christmas Day 1940 in Brighton, Sussex, England on the sun porch of one of Ivan's billets.

Ivan Hector Culbert (the great-grandson of John Culbert and Mary Ward) is pictured above in 1940 on his first Christmas away from home. 

Ivan joined the Royal Canadian Regiment in January 1940 and was sent overseas. He returned home to Lucan, Ontario, Canada in 1946 with his Welsh war bride, Elvira Hutchings, and they had four children.

Merry Christmas, Culbert descendants everywhere!

Sunday 18 December 2022

Ivan Culbert Receives a Christmas Parcel from Atkinson’s School, and Writes a Letter from England

The following letter, written by Ivan Hector Culbert (the great-grandson of John Culbert & Mary Ward) was published in the Exeter Times-Advocate on 19 March 1942.

During the Second World War, while Ivan was overseas, he received a Christmas parcel from the pupils of S.S. No. 2 Biddulph, also known as Atkinson's School, and their teacher, Mr. Skinner.

S.S. No. 2 Biddulph also known as Atkinson's School in Biddulph Township, Ontario, Canada.

Ivan replied to the teacher and pupils with a letter, sent from a dug-out somewhere on the coast of England.



John Culbert & Mary Ward (great-grandparents)

Richard Culbert & Jane Eleanor Fairhall (grandparents)

Myron Manford Culbert & Effie Pearl Taylor (parents)

Ivan Hector Culbert (1918-1979)

Descendants (Children):

Victoria "Vicky" (Culbert) Schloendorf

Ian Richard Culbert

Phillip Myron Culbert

Elizabeth Christine Culbert (1955-2020).

Friday 11 November 2022

The Kindness of a Culbert Soldier

 The photo below shows Sergeant Ivan Hector Culbert (1918-1979), the great-grandson of John Culbert and Mary Ward. Ivan joined the Royal Canadian Regiment on 8 January 1940 and served overseas until he returned home in January 1946 with his war bride, Elvira Hutchings.

Photo courtesy of Ivan Culbert’s son, Phil Culbert.

Ivan was stationed in England when this photo was taken, far from his home on Poplar Farm near Lucan, Ontario. The little British boy with a tin can was begging for money to get something to eat. Ivan kindly gave the boy a coin.

We don’t know the identity of the boy. One wonders if he was part of Operation Pied Piper in which the British government relocated millions of children out of urban centres to rural locations in Britain and even overseas. It was assumed that the risk of bombing would be lower in the countryside, and so the children would be out of harm’s way.

Mothers were reluctant to be separated from their children but were told it was in their best interest. Propaganda such as the poster below discouraged mothers from the temptation to bring their children back to the city …

Long lines of children were led to bus and train stations to begin their journeys to the countryside. Each child was given a box containing a gas mask and a few personal belongings. Each child wore a label with their name on it, pinned to their coat, in the same way that you would label your luggage.

Children about to board a train to the countryside, wearing name labels pinned to their coats.

The character of Paddington Bear was inspired by author Michael Bond’s recollections of watching newsreels of children being evacuated.

"When I was small, I had memories of children being evacuated from London with a label around their necks and all their possessions in a suitcase, and this became part of Paddington," said Michael Bond.

"Paddington Bear was a refugee with a label - 'Please look after this bear. Thank you', and he had a little suitcase."

BBC History describes the man in charge of evacuation, Sir John Anderson, as a cold, inhuman character with little understanding of the emotional upheaval that might be created by evacuation. There was no careful selection process as to how and where the children were placed when they arrived in the countryside. Children were billeted with hosts who were paid, and who were invited to “take their pick” as the children lined up against walls or in the village halls.

Life in rural areas was a shock for urban children, unaccustomed to the lack of indoor plumbing and running water. Many children had never seen farm animals. Most children were not told where they would be going, why they were going nor why their parents weren’t coming with them. It was a time of adventure for some but for others it was traumatic and lonely.

After the war, many children returned to homes which were missing a parent who had died in service or as a result of the bombings. In some cases, children lost both their parents. After years away from their families, some of the children who had been quite young at the time of the evacuation didn’t recognize their own parents.

Looking back on Operation Pied Piper, it was concluded that wrenching children away from their families for the duration of the war was more traumatic than the risk of bombing. Thankfully, many children had been spared the horrors of bombing that took place in the cities. However, evacuation wasn’t always as safe as it seemed. Hundreds of evacuees were killed while enroute to safe havens. Some were killed after being relocated, by minefields or other wartime hazards.

Many children were fortunate in that they had positive experiences with their hosts who treated them well and with kindness. Some children enjoyed their new rural homes so much that they didn’t want to go back to the city. Sadly, that wasn’t the case for all children. Some suffered from ill treatment and sexual abuse.

What became of the little boy in our photo? We don’t know his name or his story. Was he part of Operation Pied Piper? Was he orphaned? We can only hope that he had a chance to grow up safe and loved. And we can note that a Canadian soldier – a descendant of John Culbert and Mary Ward - cared enough to give that little boy a coin.

In 2018, Phil Culbert wrote a tribute to his father, Ivan Hector Culbert on the Culbert Family History blog. If you missed it, click here.

Ivan Culbert



John Culbert & Mary Ward (great-grandparents)

Richard Culbert & Jane Eleanor Fairhall (grandparents)

Myron Manford Culbert & Effie Pearl Taylor (parents)

Ivan Hector Culbert

Descendants (Children):

Victoria "Vicky" (Culbert) Schloendorf

Ian Richard Culbert

Phillip Myron Culbert

Elizabeth Christine Culbert (1955-2020).