Thursday, 24 May 2018

Richard Culbert (1853-1932)

Many readers of the Culbert Family History blog are the descendants of John Culbert & Mary Ward's son, Richard Culbert (1853-1932) and his wife, Jane Eleanor Fairhall (1858-1949)...
Jane Eleanor (Fairhall) Culbert and Richard Culbert in 1886. Jane would have been about 28 years old in this photo, and Richard about 33. Photo by George A. Ellis of Lucan, Ontario.
Richard and Jane wed on 16 December 1879. The Fairhall family lived only about a half a mile away from the Culbert homestead. We'll read more about Jane in a future post.

The young couple moved in with Richard's parents, John Culbert and Mary Ward in their log house on Lot 19, Concession 2 (the Coursey Line) in Biddulph Township near Lucan, Ontario. Other family members lived with them too, including Richard's younger sister, Mary Ann, who was a witness at their wedding.

I'm not sure how the farm came into Richard's possession but it sounds like there was a struggle for ownership. In her book, "Stories from Life," Richard and Jane's daughter, Ethel (Culbert) Gras recounts that Richard had to pay off a brother and sister who still had claim upon the farm. Ethel goes on to say,"I remember well the event of the burning of the mortgage, that sinister, legal document that stood between them and the full possession of their property."

Richard and Jane had seven children; six of whom lived to adulthood. All their children were born in the log house on the Culbert homestead.

The Richard Culbert - Jane Fairhall family, 1927. Back row, left to right: Hulda May (Culbert) Carscallen, Myron Manford Culbert, Lela (Culbert) Beadle, George Arthur Culbert, and Mary Elsie (Culbert) Hodgson. Front row, left to right: Jane Eleanor (Fairhall) Culbert, Richard Culbert, and Ethel Gertrude (Culbert) Gras. Photo by Samuel Askin of Stratford, Ontario.

If you read this post, you know that at the end of the 1800s, Richard built a large, brick house on the Culbert property to replace the log house. He planted a row of poplar trees along the driveway, and the property became known as "Poplar Farm."

The house at Poplar Farm
Richard improved the property in many ways; draining the fields, building fences, and planting apple trees. He raised the barn and bricked in a stable for his horses, cows and other livestock.

He bought new farm equipment, including a machine (a binder) to cut and bind the sheaves of grain. His daughter, Ethel remarked on how proud he was of this possession. He never owned a tractor, truck or automobile, depending only on his horses for work and transportation.

Richard kept a colony of bees, providing delicious clover honey for the family and a surplus for sale.

The older couple on the right are Jane and Richard Culbert in front of the house that Richard built on the Coursey Line in Biddulph Township near Lucan, Ontario.

Ethel said, "A man who knew and liked hard work, Richard was honourable and dependable in all his dealings and highly regarded by his neighbours, especially by those who professed the same religious creed and politics; Methodist and Conservative. He was an Orangeman of the deepest dye; parading proudly with his colourful badge on every twelfth of July." Richard Culbert was an Officer of the local Loyal Orange Lodge, a Protestant fraternal organization.

Photos show Richard with a bit of a twinkle in his eye so one could assume he had a sense of humour...

Jane & Richard Culbert at their house on Poplar Farm, near Lucan, Ontario.

However, he's been described by various descendants as "a hard man" and a "stern and severe disciplinarian." His daughter, Ethel said, "He was a man with a strict authority. His word was law within his house and my mother often pleaded with him in vain. He believed in using the rod rather than spoiling the child...a man his children did not dearly love." Despite his tyrannical temper, Ethel says that "he loved his children and would proudly boast of their achievements."

In 1914, Richard and Jane moved into a house on Main Street, Lucan, leaving the farm to their son, Myron Manford Culbert. 

Richard & Jane's house on Main Street, Lucan.

I'm told this is that same house as the previous photo but many years later and with obvious structural changes. The address is 262 Main Street and it's located across the street from the Lucan Community Memorial Centre. The house is on the same side as the administration office of the Township of Lucan Biddulph.

In the 1920s, Richard and Jane moved to a small, cottage-style house on Alice Street in Lucan. 

Even though Richard and Jane lived in town, they still kept a cow, a few pigs and chickens, and had a small garden, although Richard was in a wheelchair for two years after suffering a stroke at age 77. 

The photo below was taken on Alice Street, Lucan, probably around 1931. The houses in the background are across from their house ...
This is the same view of Alice Street in recent times but with some architectural changes...
A side view of the little house on Alice Street...
Jane (Fairhall) Culbert with sons, Myron Culbert (left) and Arthur Culbert (right). Date unknown but probably 1930s-1940s.

Richard and Jane Culbert's house on Alice Street, from the opposite side of the previous photo, as it looked in 2017...
Richard & Jane Culbert lived in this house at 117 Alice Street which has since been renovated inside and out. In 1946, during Jane's last few years, her daughter, Mary Elsie Culbert and Mary's husband, Eldon Hodgson moved in to take care of Jane. Following Jane's death, Mary Elsie (Culbert) Hodgson lived here until she went into a nursing home in the 1980s. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert.
Richard Culbert died, age 79 in the house on Alice Street on 2 June 1932 from hypostatic pneumonia and a cerebral hemorrhage.

Jane continued to live in the house with her daughter, Mary Elsie (Culbert) Hodgson until Jane's death in 1949.

Richard and Jane are buried in Nursery Cemetery, a small cemetery just up the road from St. James Cemetery, north of Lucan...
Nursery Cemetery, 35051 Richmond Street (Highway 4) Municipality of North Middlesex, north of Lucan, Ontario. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert. 

Richard Culbert and Jane Fairhall's headstone. Photo by their great-great-grandson, Jason William Garrett.
For you "tombstone tourists" (and I include myself in that description) the Culbert headstone is near the front of the cemetery and is easy to find. Photo by Richard & Jane's great-granddaughter, Mary Jane Culbert.

Map showing location of Nursery Cemetery

 Richard Culbert was a successful, prosperous farmer who contributed to the community and left behind the handsome house on Poplar Farm as his legacy.

Richard Culbert's Family Tree:
John Culbert & Mary Ward (parents)
Descendants (children):
Hulda May (Culbert) Carscallen
George Arthur Culbert
Myron Manford Culbert
Ethel Gertrude (Culbert) Gras
Mary Elsie (Culbert) Hodgson
Susan LELA (Culbert) Beadle
Richard Edwin Culbert (infant death)

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