Friday, 28 September 2018

Grandparents and Grandchildren

"Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation." - Lois Wyse.
Myron Manford Culbert & Effie Pearl (Taylor) Culbert with their grandchildren, Clifford Wayne Culbert (left) and Marilyn Lillian Culbert at Poplar Farm (the Culbert homestead) in Biddulph Township near Lucan Ontario, September, 1945.

Do you have a photo to share of you with your grandparents? 

Or a photo of you with your grandchildren? 

Or maybe you have an old photo of your parents with their grandparents.

Email your photos to me soon and I'll post them here on the Culbert Family History blog.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

John Culbert’s BROTHER, Richard Culbert

Our ancestors, John Culbert and his wife, Mary Ward need no introduction...

And in a previous post, we met the Richard Culbert-Ann Jane Harlton family. Richard & Ann purchased the property beside our ancestors, John Culbert & Mary Ward in Biddulph Township near Lucan, Ontario. Richard & John purchased the land at the same time: October, 1840.

We assumed that Richard & John must have been brothers since they purchased land side-by-side at the same time. However, with no documentation to prove they were brothers, for all we know Richard & John could have been cousins, or even an uncle and his nephew.


Through Ancestry DNA testing, I’ve found a few descendants of Richard Culbert & Ann Jane Harlton who are my DNA “matches.” (DNA matches are people who’ve taken the DNA test and who are related to you by blood, whether close relations or distant relations.) Each of these matches shares various levels of DNA with me which indicate more or less how closely related we are. 

It’s more complicated than that and uses a unit of DNA measurement called centiMorgans but I’m not going to explain the science behind it at this point. I’m not a scientist nor do I play one on TV.

Now, back to these descendants of Richard Culbert & Ann Jane Harlton who took the DNA test and are my matches. Although these matches are definitely related to me (DNA proves that), their levels of DNA weren’t high enough to determine if Richard & John had been brothers or cousins.

But wait, don’t give up hope!

I’ve just found another DNA match who is a descendant of Richard Culbert & Ann Jane Harlton. His DNA levels with mine are high enough to indicate that Richard & John were probably brothers, not cousins. His DNA levels with my sister proved even more revealing; their shared DNA level was definitely high enough to indicate that Richard & John were brothers. There’s only a very slim chance I could be wrong.

So at last the mystery is solved! Thanks to my sister taking the DNA test, we have determined with a high level of accuracy and without official documents that Richard Culbert & John Culbert were brothers!

Now all we have to do is find out who Richard & John’s father was! We still don’t know the names of Richard & John Culbert’s parents nor the names of any other siblings they might have had. If and when we do find these names, it may lead to finding out much more information about the Culberts in Ireland.

Once again, I ask you to please consider taking the Ancestry DNA test. The story I’ve told you today is a prime example of how our family mysteries can be solved through the use of DNA testing.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Lucan Garden Party and Dance Contest

In which Thomas Culbert loses a bet…

Thomas Culbert (born 1846) was the son of our ancestors, JohnCulbert and Mary Ward. At the time of this event (1888) Thomas was the proprietor of the Central Hotel in Granton, Ontario; a successful business he built and operated. The notorious Donnelly brothers (aka the Black Donnellys) frequented Thomas’s establishment. But more about Thomas Culbert in a future post. You're here for the party.

The following article describes a garden party, concert and dance contest held on the evening of Friday, 16 June 1888 at the Donnelly School House near Lucan, Ontario. I’ve transcribed it but when you scroll down, you'll see the article as it appeared on 21 June 1888 in the Exeter Times newspaper.

And now, let's peek in on the merrymaking as it unfolded... 

-beginning of transcription -

A garden party, concert and dance was held at Donnelly’s school house on Friday evening last, and a very enjoyable time was spent by the large audience. The Lucan band was there and discoursed sweet music. Albert Carroll and William Whalen were also there and delighted the audience with a dancing competition, the winner to receive a silver headed cane.

George Armitage, John Kent and George Hodgins, (better known as Aunt Ellen’s George) were appointed referees. John Casey officiated as timekeeper.

Three dances were to be danced, each contestant being limited to five minutes for each trial. The dances were a sword dance, Italian polka and a Tennessee hoe down.

When the referees had taken their seats, John Casey, timekeeper, called on Albert Carroll, who at once stepped on the platform attired in a pair of white knickerbockers, pink stockings and wigwams[1].  Owing to the extreme heat of the evening, he discarded his shirt and wore a red handkerchief around his neck. He was loudly cheered. He at once started the sword dance and surprised everyone by his agility and grace.

Joe Thompson gigged for him and Bobbie Collins accompanied him on the kettle drum. When time was called he was nearly used up, but was quickly revived with a dose of Willie Taylor’s mineral water.

Mr. Casey then called on William Whalen, who at once stepped to the front and was also loudly cheered. William was beautifully attired in an evening suit of black fullcloth and although he did remarkably well, the referees decided in favor of Mr. Carroll.

Mr. Casey again called time and Mr. Carroll again appeared but it could be noticed at a glance that he exerted himself too much in the previous dance.

William (Whalen) then appeared and danced to the accompaniment of a mouth organ played by Robert Guest. William was awarded the dance.

The excitement was now high, each having won a dance. Mr. Carroll who had been well rubbed down by Eli Armitage appeared fresher for the last contest, but after dancing for two minutes, completely broke down, and Mr. Whalen won the third contest with ease.

Dennis McIlhargey has challenged the winners for $50, the contest to take place at the Cedar Swamp school in two weeks.

R.S. Hodgins, Jonathan Hodgins and THOMAS CULBERT lost heavily on Carroll.

John Kent also gave a pleasing act with this trained Mexican pony. Thomas Ryder sang a song “The Gipsy Girl,” and Mr. Reeford delivered a short address on Commerical Union.[2]

The affair on the whole was a grand success.

- end of transcription - but read on...

It sounds like a good time was had by all but there's no mention of the womenfolk. Where were the women? 

Not an actual scene from the dance contest

This is the article as it appeared in the Exeter Times...


Curious about whatever happened to the revellers at the Lucan Garden Party and Dance Contest, and obviously, with too much time on my hands, I decided to see what I could find out about some of them. My discoveries are as follows: 

George Hodgins who refereed the event was, as the article says, “better known as Aunt Ellen’s George” so I'm assuming this George Hodgins was the son of James Hodgins and Ellen Jane McFalls. George, born 1858, was a farmer at Lot 13, Concession 3. He lived to the age of 72 where it’s declared on his death certificate that he “dropped dead.”

John Casey, the timekeeper of the dance contest was a horse-bus driver (a type of early bus pulled by a pair of horses.) John sounds like quite the ladies’ man from this item in the Exeter Times just a month earlier on 17 May 1888. Whether or not John found true love remains a mystery…

Albert Carroll, the dancer sporting a pair of white knickerbockers, pink stockings and wigwams, went on to make a rather stunning pronouncement in the Exeter Times 28 June 1888 edition…

Willie Taylor, whose mineral water revived dance contestant Albert Carroll, fell into his own mineral spring…

Fortunately, Willie was rescued by mouth organist (harmonica player,) Robert Guest...

Robert Guest, the mouth organist and hero who rescued Willie Taylor from a watery grave, was Robert Francis Guest, a farmer born about 1850. Robert (nicknamed "Sergeant") married Maria Dunn and had three children. Robert died of heart failure in 1915, around age 65. Before he took one final suck and blow of his mouth organ, Robert made front page news. He was involved in an altercation with his sister Almina's husband, John Stanley Hodgins. (Yes, another Hodgins.) Robert Guest was charged with abusive language, fined $3.00 and costs, and arrested…

Exeter Advocate. 22 Nov 1895, page 1.

William Whalen, one of the contestants weighs in on the dance competition in this Exeter Times item from 28 June 1888…

Eli Armitage who provided a “rub down” to Albert Carroll showed up at yet another dance, this time in Centralia. The Exeter Times 28 June 1888 edition reports that Eli got into a quarrel with a man by the surname Hudson. They decided to settle the dispute in a duel, with pistols. Here’s what happened next…

Dennis McIlhargey was a farmer, born around 1848. He died a single man, age 64 in 1912 of carcinoma of the penis.

R.S. Hodgins who, along with Thomas Culbert lost a bet on the dance contest, was a dealer in groceries, livestock feed, and produce in Lucan. He was known as “The Pork King” for the popularity of his sugar-cured hams. He also operated a cider mill. In 1893, he was appointed Superintendent of the Agricultural Department of the Chicago World’s Fair. In 1895, a fire (deliberately set) destroyed his elevator and store house in Lucan, containing 5,000 bushels of barley.

Jonathan Hodgins was another who lost a bet on the dance. Jonathan was born with “very large feet” on the 4th Concession of Biddulph in 1849. He first learned to smoke and “chew terbaker” at age 11. So says an article in the Exeter Times 28 June 1888 edition. He tried his hand at farming, butchering, cattle droving, and operating a livery business.

Thomas Culbert (yay!) proprietor of the Central Hotel in Granton, may have lost the bet that night but he was lucky in business. Thomas sold the hotel, moved to London, and went on to become a successful and prosperous representative for Carling’s Brewery. But more about Thomas Culbert in a future post.

John Kent and his Mexican pony made news again in the Exeter Times 13 September 1888 edition…

And finally...

Thomas Ryder, also known as “Pitchfork Tom” was a member of the Vigilance Committee who murdered the Black Donnellys in 1880. It was Tom Ryder who thrust his pitchfork into Tom Donnelly, multiple times. The murderers of the Donnelly Family were never brought to trial. Eight years later at this party, Pitchfork Tom was having himself a grand old time. It's as if he was thinking, "Massacre? What massacre?" as he sang without a care. Tom was a bit of a “one hit wonder” with his repeated singing of "The Gipsy Girl," a tune composed by Charles Jefferys and Stephen Glover in 1846. It seems that it's the only song in Tom's repertoire as he's cited singing it on occasion, as shown in this Exeter Times 13 September 1888 item... 


Footnotes:[1]In the 1880s when commercially produced moccasins first appeared in trade catalogues, they were known as “wigwam slippers” or “wigwams.”
[2]Commercial Union refers to free trade talks in the 1880s between Canada and the United States. Some things never change.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

A Barrow of Fun

Photographic evidence proves that the descendants of John Culbert & Mary Ward enjoy posing with wheelbarrows.

First up is Merton Manford "Mert" Culbert, back around 1931 or so with the family dog at Poplar Farm (the Culbert homestead) on the Coursey Line near Lucan, Ontario...

Here's Mert Culbert again, in the late 1920s, surveying a bounty of fresh vegetables at Poplar Farm. Mert's parents, Myron & Effie Culbert sold their produce on Saturday mornings at London's Covent Garden Public Market, over 20 miles from their home near Lucan...

This next photo was taken in the summer of 1949 on the front lawn of the Kincardine Lighthouse...

Back row, left to right: Oran Westell (the Kincardine Lighthouse keeper); and husband and wife, Mac Jarrell and Susan "Toots" (Westell) Jarrell.
Front row, left to right: John Russell "Jack" Westell and his son, Ian Westell; Don Jarrell (son of Mac & Toots Jarrell); another young family member; and kneeling is Oran Westell's wife, Jenny (Russell) Westell.

Fast forward to the fifties with the terrible twosome, Ian Richard Culbert (left) and his brother, Philip Myron "Phil" Culbert on Poplar Farm...

You might be a redneck if your wheelbarrow breaks and it takes four relatives to figure out how to fix it.
-- Jeff Foxworthy

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The Crawleys, Continued

The last post introduced you to Susan Culbert, a daughter of John Culbert and Mary Ward

Photo of Susan (Culbert) Crawley courtesy of her great-great-grandson, Lorne Floyd Brock of Wallaceburg, Ontario. This image was clipped from a larger photo which you can see by clicking here. This photo was added as an update on 18 Aug 2020.

We learned that Susan Culbert married Phillip Crawley and lived just half a mile north of the Culbert homestead on the Coursey Line near Lucan, Ontario. Widowed at age 40, Susan was left to manage the household, the farm, and raise several children ranging in age from 2-18. 

Whatever happened to Susan (Culbert) Crawley's children? This list gives us a few details...

Rachel Crawley the 1st (1851-1852) died the year after she was born.

Rachel Crawley the 2nd (1854-1881) married William Brock, also of Biddulph Township. Rachel died in 1881, two days after giving birth to their daughter, Susannah Rachel Brock. The baby died after only eight days. Rachel's husband would later marry Rachel's sister, Rebecca Crawley.

Maria Crawley. (c1855-1885) So far, I haven't found any evidence of what happened to Maria. She's recorded on the 1871 Census when she was a teenager but she's not in the 1881 Census. I can't find a death record for Maria either. In fact, I can't even find her birth record. The only mention I've seen of Maria is in that 1871 Census. UPDATE on 18 Aug 2020: Her full name was Annie Maria Crawley. She married William Herbert, and gave birth to a daughter, Annie M. Herbert on 27 April 1885 in Biddulph Township. Annie Maria (Crawley) Herbert died as a result of childbirth on 28 April 1885, age about 30 in Biddulph Township.

Sarah Catherine Crawley (1857-1939) married Samuel Hill Hodgins when she was 17 years old. Samuel was born, lived all his life, and died on Lot 14, Concession 3, Biddulph Township, near the Culbert family, and even closer to the Crawley family where young Sarah lived. There were so many Hodgins men in Biddulph Township that they were given nicknames to distinguish one from another. Samuel Hodgins was known as "Red Samuel." Sarah & Red Samuel had 11 children: Annie Hodgins, Mary Ida Hodgins, Estella Kate Hodgins, James Grafton Hodgins, John Dufferin Hodgins, Florence Susan Hodgins, Pearl Ellen Hodgins, George Allen Hodgins, Gladys Sarah Hodgins, William Walter Hodgins, and Lillian Victoria May "Elaine" Hodgins.

Sarah Catherine (Crawley) Hodgins (daughter of Susan Culbert & Philip Crawley). Photo courtesy of Judith Luker Massey.

Elizabeth Crawley (1859-1915) married Thomas Morgan. In the early years of their marriage, they lived in Biddulph Township but in 1882, they moved to Michigan. Elizabeth & Thomas had 8 children: Edsel/Etsol Phillip Morgan, Lucinda Morgan, John Grafton Morgan, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Morgan, Cora Morgan, Susan Elizabeth Morgan, Edna Pearl Morgan, and Thomas Milton Morgan.

Rebecca Crawley (1860-1933) married William Brock, the widower of her deceased sister, Rachel Crawley the 2nd. Rebecca & William had 4 children: Harry Huber Brock, William Nelson Brock, Lorne George Brock, and Clarence Gordon Brock. UPDATE: Rebecca Crawley was the twin sister of Margaret Crawley.
Rebecca (Crawley) Brock (daugher of Susan Culbert & Philip Crawley). Photo courtesy of Lorne Floyd Brock. This photo was added as an update on 18 Aug 2020.

Margaret "Maggie" Crawley (1860-1932) married George Ryan of Biddulph Township. Maggie & George had 2 children: Ethel Susan Ryan and Sarah Olive Ryan. UPDATE: Margaret Crawley was the twin sister of Rebecca Crawley.

George Eli Crawley (1864-1921) married Ida Victoria Fraleigh of Birr, Ontario; a hamlet between Lucan and London. They lived in Lucan and in Exeter. George ran livery businesses in both towns. George & Ida had no children.

Harriet Ellen "Hattie" Crawley (1866-1926) married Alexander McNeil of London Township. They lived in Lobo where Alexander was a hotel keeper. Hattie and Alexander  had 2 children: Susan Kathleen McNeil and Ward Alexander McNeil. The 1911 Census shows them living in Melbourne Village, Ekfrid Township, Middlesex West, Ontario. In 1914, the family immigrated to the United States. The 1920 U.S. Census shows the family living on Grand Avenue in Highland Park, Michigan, and Alexander is working in an auto shop.

William H. Crawley (1869-1930) married Katherine Elizabeth "Kit" Kane and they lived in Hartford, Connecticut where Will worked as an electrician. Will & Kit had 2 children: Mary Crawley and George Andrew Crawley.

Note: If you're a descendant of any of these people, please contact me here...