Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Halloween Hijinks

Have you ever wondered what mischief your rural relatives got up to on Halloween, way back when?

"Outhouse tipping," that's what. After all, if it's good enough for Loretta Lynn...

First of all, for those of you who've never seen an outhouse (a small structure used as an outdoor toilet) here's what they look like...

This appears to be one of the more modern outhouses of yesteryear as the owner has thoughtfully provided a roll of toilet tissue rather than scraps of newspaper or pages torn from the Eaton's catalogue.

Standard Halloween practice was to tip over outhouses onto their sides. Bonus points if someone was inside!

"Outhouse dumping" was common too. This involved moving someone's outhouse to another location. Sometimes the outhouses ended up in a park or on the front steps of a church. In the early 1960s, I recall Lucan Ontario's Main Street lined with outhouses the morning after Halloween night. The practice soon died out once everyone had indoor plumbing. One of the last outhouses that remained during the latter part of that decade was an outhouse that stood at St. James Cemetery, where many of our relatives are buried.

Dumping outhouses could make front page news...

Source: The Blyth Standard, 1 November 1955, page1

Removing gates from their hinges ranked high among Halloween pranks. Needless to say, the next morning, the farmers were led on a merry chase to round up their runaway livestock.

Anything that was detachable or movable was an easy target for mischief makers. Hay wagons and horse-drawn buggies were favourites. If you could hoist the vehicle onto a rooftop, all the better...

Halloween pranksters hoisted an Amish buggy atop a Ford sales office in Hartville, Ohio, on Oct. 31, 1950. Photo found here.

The more, the merrier!...

Halloween prank with rooftop buggies in Airdrie, Alberta, 1930s.

Source: Nebraska State Historical Society.
If hoisting a buggy (or seven) onto a roof was too much effort, you could simply place one man's buggy in front of the home of another man. Result!

Hiding things scored big points with rural youth...

Source: The Wingham Advanced Times, 5 November 1925, page 5.

Way back when, hiding a farmer's plow in a tree was considered the height of hilarity...

Unsuspecting plow before it was pilfered.

Removing street signs and putting them in the wrong places was always good for a laugh. Turning things upside down was another source of mirth.

But sometimes, Halloween hoodlums carried things too far. Oh, the depredation...
Source: The Clinton News Record, 27 October 1932, page 7.

And in this case in Seaforth Ontario, a Mrs. Paul Shaver had a very close shave...

Source: The Huron Expositor, 3 November 1876, page 8.

Yes, those ancestral pranksters who preceded us got up to plenty of Halloween mischief back in the day. It was all fun and games until somebody lost an eye. Or had a close shave.

But it could have been worse. On Halloween, our ancestors back in Ireland used to batter down doors with stolen cabbages, stuff cabbages down chimneys, and whack each other with bags of flour!

Sunday, 28 October 2018

100th Anniversary of the End of the First World War

The First World War raged for four years from 1914-1918. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the Great War, the ‘war to end all wars,’ came to an end.[1]

Happy Canadians who captured Vimy Ridge returning to rest billets on motor lorries in May, 1917.
Source: Canada. Dept. of National Defence, Library and Archives Canada
100 years later, the Culbert Family History blog plans to commemorate Culbert descendants who served during WW1. On 11 November 2018, I'll publish a list of their names.

Off the top of my head, I know of several names. Surely, there must be more. So if you would like to add your relative's name to the list, please let me know by Wednesday, November 7th. Include a photo, if possible and any details about them that you might like to add.

Not sure if your relative served in WW1? You can check by searching the Canadian military personnel records of the First World War Database. This database is the largest digitization project that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has ever undertaken, and is a valuable resource for Canadians.

[1] Quoted from Parks Canada website: 2018 World War Anniversaries.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Sam and Dick: The Luker Brothers


Dick Luker (left) and Sam Luker (right)
Dick Luker (left) & Sam Luker (right)

Written by Judy Luker Massey with input and permission from her father Samuel Luker and uncle Richard Luker.

Gladys Sarah Hodgins (1894-1984) married Wilbert Luker (1884-1953) when she was 27 and he was 37. She was one of Sarah Catherine Crawley (1857-1939) and husband Samuel Hill Hodgins’ (1846-1919) eleven children.

Gladys grew up on a farm in Lot 14, Concession 3, Biddulph Township near Lucan, Ontario, Canada. She attended Alma College in St. Thomas, Ontario before marrying. Wilbert grew up Lot 5, North Boundary, Biddulph Township and was with the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps during WW1.

After 10 years of marriage, Gladys and Wilbert had fraternal twin boys named after their grandfathers (Samuel Hodgins, and Richard Luker) and a great-grandfather (Robert Luker). Samuel Robert Luker and Richard James Luker still debate over which twin is the older.

Photo on left shows Sam (left) & Dick (right). Photo on right shows Dick (left), Sam (centre) and their mother, Gladys (Hodgins) Luker.

Twins, Sam Luker (left) & Dick Luker (right) with their father, Wilbert Luker.

Sam Luker (left) & Dick Luker (right)

Sam and Dick were, it is thought, the first set of twins in the gifted program that they attended at Empress Avenue Public School in London, Ontario.

Dick Luker (left) & Sam Luker (right)

They both skipped two grades and graduated from high school (London South Collegiate) at 15 years of age. They then went to London Normal School.

London Normal School, a teacher's college at 165 Elmwood Avenue East in London, Ontario. Photo by Adam Bishop.

After graduating, Sam & Dick taught all eight grades in 1 or 2 room schools very close to each other in Essex County (Sam at Elmstead PS) and Dick at Maidstone PS.)

Dick Luker
At Teacher’s College, Dick met and fell in love with Anne Gertrude Taylor from Windsor. Anne and Dick married, made their home in Windsor, and had 2 children Leslie and Tim.

Anne Taylor & Dick Luker's wedding day.

After 2 years of teaching, Dick switched professions and became a banker in Detroit. He worked for First Federal Savings in Detroit where he became a Vice President. Sam is quoted as saying, “Dick made all the money but I had all the fun.

Dick Luker

Dick was known far and wide for his interest and knowledge of Dixieland Jazz. He often would lend records to the Detroit radio station and wrote for several jazz magazines.

Anne & Dick Luker with their son Tim Luker (centre)
Anne & Dick's daughter, Leslie (Luker) Agnew & her son, Robbie.

Sam and Dick’s father died of a heart attack when they were 21 and left their mother Gladys a widow for 31 years.

After teaching a year in Windsor and a year at Lucan Public School (1953/1954), Sam went on to attend the University of Western Ontario (UWO). He majored in English and Philosophy, then Psychology. In his fourth year he was awarded the gold medal. He continued on in Psychology and obtained his Master’s Degree with the future goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist.

While an undergraduate, Sam met a young nurse named Melva Moreen Murphy from Midland, Ontario and they soon married.

Melva Murphy & Sam Luker were married on 10 September 1955 in Midland, Ontario at St. Mark's Anglican Church (known today as St. Mark's Anglican Lutheran Church.)

St. Mark's is located the corner of Third and Easy Street.

Sam & Melva outside the church.
The happy couple: Melva & Sam.

After graduation, Sam and Melva moved to Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) where he was Chief Psychologist for the Board of Education.

Sam's graduation from UWO in 1958 with Honours BA. He was the gold medal winner. Pictured here with his mother, Gladys (Hodgins) Luker and his daughter, Judy.

Wanting to get closer to their families after 2 years in the North, Sam and Melva moved to Don Mills (now part of Toronto) where Sam was a School Psychologist with the York Board of Education. Sam and Melva then made their final move to Guelph, Ontario where they raised their two daughters, Judy and Jana.

Melva & Sam Luker with their daughter, Judy Luker Massey.
Melva & Sam's daughter, Jana Lee Luker.
In Guelph, Sam was Chief Psychologist for the Wellington County Board of Education. After eleven years with the Wellington Board, Sam moved to the University of Guelph, first as a Professor of Family Studies and then as Chairman of Part-Time and General Studies. He took early retirement from the University of Guelph in 1987 and worked in private practice for several years.

Sam & Melva
Sam and Melva have travelled extensively before and after Sam’s retirement and they aren’t finished yet. They have been to 87 counties on all 7 continents. Their latest trip was to their great nephew’s wedding on Vancouver Island. They currently live with their daughter Judy and son-in-law Dave in Muskoka in Central Ontario.

Sam & Melva enjoying life in Muskoka.
Sam has done testing with AncestryDNA, Family TreeDNA, LivingDNA, and 23&meDNA, and Dick with AncestryDNA and Family TreeDNA. They are also on GEDmatch: Sam-A880628 and Dick-A338719.

Both Sam and Dick are very proud of their Irish Heritage.🇨🇮

Dick & Sam's 10-day Arctic adventure!

Sam Luker (left) & Dick Luker (right)

John Culbert & Mary Ward (great-great-grandparents)
Susan Culbert & Philip Crawley (great-grandparents)
Sarah Catherine Crawley & Samuel Hill Hodgins (grandparents)
Gladys Sarah Hodgins & Wilbert Luker (parents)

Friday, 19 October 2018

Gladys Hodgins and Wilbert Luker

Written by their granddaughter, Judy Luker Massey with input from their sons, Sam Luker & Dick Luker 

Gladys Hodgins (1894-1984) was born and grew up on a farm (Lot 14, 3rd Concession) in Biddulph Township. 

Gladys Sarah (Hodgins) Luker, born 1 October 1894 in Biddulph Township to parents, Sarah Catherine Crawley & Samuel Hill Hodgins. Granddaughter of Susan Culbert & Philip Crawley. Great-granddaughter of John Culbert & Mary Ward.

After attending Alma College, she met and married (June 18, 1921) Wilbert Luker (1884-1953) a roofing salesman. He courted her in a horse and buggy. 

Gladys & Wilbert's wedding day

Marriage record of Gladys Hodgins & Wilbert Luker. The ceremony took place at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Lucan, Ontario, Canada on 18 June 1921.
Wedding announcement in the Exeter Advocate. 30 June 1921, page 5

They made their home in London, Ontario at 43 Becher Street. Their residence was a 3 story traditional home on the corner of the Ridgeway and Becher Street.
43 Becher Street, London, Ontario. Home of Gladys & Wilbert.

Wilbert became an agent for the Prudential Life Insurance Company. During the depression, he was one of the few who was able to make a decent living due to his low key approach and affable personality.

Wilbert Luker, born 15 October 1884 in Biddulph Township to parents, Richard Luker & Mary Brownlee

After 11 years of marriage, Gladys gave birth to twin boys, Samuel and Richard. At the birthing as the first twin emerged, Gladys was reported to have said, “Thank goodness that is over.” The doctor replied, “You are not through yet, Gladys.

Gladys did not know she was having twins. She always said that it was the hairy one, Sam who emerged first. Sam had a lot of dark hair, while Dick was very fair and had little hair. The birth certificate, however, has Dick as 11 minutes older than Sam.

Fraternal twins, Dick Luker (left) and Sam Luker (right).

As the twins were growing up there was a series of live-in maids in the Luker household. The most memorable for Sam was Helen Hodgins, a farm girl and Gladys’ niece. Dick recalls more vividly their French maid from Quebec, who was working in London hoping to improve her English.

Gladys and Wilbert were very sociable, going to dances and entertaining family and friends in their large home in London. Dick reminisced, “There were generally several Lucan people visiting us every week. They loved to talk about the old times. People just loved Gladys and Wilbert. They had many, many friends. Dick commented, “We would always hold Christmas and have a great gang of Lucan people over. After the afternoon session, we always went to Aunt Flossy’s or Aunt Pearl’s.

Gladys and Wilbert purchased several other homes which were an additional source of income for the family. Gladys went to church each Sunday at St. James Westminster and was proud of her Irish heritage and Church of England religion.

The Luker Family paid frequent visits to the Hodgins’ family farm. They often stayed overnight and helped with small chores. The farm was 100 acres with crops and animals. Sam remembers hay being grown and seeing horses, cows, and chickens.

In winter, the Luker family would drive as far as Clandeboye and Gladys’ brother Bill Hodgins would meet them in a horse-drawn Cutter. Dick shared, “We had a wonderful time riding in the big horse- drawn sled. We would meet in Clandeboye or Mooresville. Uncle would give us buffalo robes to keep the chill away. Often there would be 3 feet of snow.” Bill would take the family by sled to the Hodgins’ farm as the roads would often be impassible by car. He and his wife Lila had taken over the family farm. A number of Gladys’ sisters also lived in the vicinity. Gladys’ brother Jim also had a farm just down the road.

Wilbert loved to go to the fall fairs with his brothers-in-law. He particularly enjoyed the harness racing and prize cattle and horses on display. He also took his boys up to northern Ontario fishing. Sam and Dick agree that their father did not particularly enjoy the fishing but he did it for them. Wilbert preferred to go to Grand Bend to the Bossenberry Hotel for 2 weeks or to visit Port Stanley. He enjoyed sitting on the veranda in his white shirt with his sleeves rolled up and feet on the railing. He would sit there reading the Globe and Mail and the London Free Press.
Wilbert Luker

As the years went by, almost all of the 11 Hodgin’s children of Sarah Catherine Crawley and Samuel Hill Hodgins moved into London.

Wilbert retired early partly for health reasons, but only enjoyed his retirement for 2 years when he had a fatal heart attack. His boys were only 21 at the time.

In her later years, Gladys enjoyed TV shows like Jeopardy which allowed her to answer skill testing questions. She remained very bright and alert throughout her life. She was a widow for 31 years until her death in her 90th year in Guelph.

Written by: Judy Luker Massey (granddaughter of Wilbert & Gladys) with input from Sam and Dick Luker (the sons of Wilbert & Gladys.)


Gladys' DNA information: Haplo DNA Group H1c1

Gladys and Wilbert are buried in Exeter Cemetery in Exeter, Ontario.

Gladys Sarah (Hodgins) Luker's Family Tree:

John Culbert & Mary Ward (great-grandparents)

Susan Culbert & Philip Crawley (grandparents)
Sarah Catherine Crawley & Samuel Hill "Red Samuel" Hodgins (parents) Descendants: (Children)
Samuel Robert Luker
Richard James Luker

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Sarah Catherine Crawley & Samuel Hill "Red Samuel" Hodgins

Last month, I introduced you to Susan (Culbert) Crawley (1832-1907), the daughter of John Culbert and Mary Ward. Susan (Culbert) Crawley and her husband, Philip Crawley had several children; one of them a daughter, Sarah Catherine Crawley.

Sarah Catherine (Crawley) Hodgins (1857-1939). Photo courtesy of her great-granddaughter, Judy Luker Massey
Sarah Catherine Crawley was born 31 January 1857 on Lot 17, Concession 2 in Biddulph Township, just north of the Culbert homestead. She was born ten years before Confederation when Ontario was known as Canada West. Biddulph Township hadn't yet joined Middlesex County and was still part of Huron County.

Living so close to the Culbert homestead, Sarah probably saw a lot of her grandparents, John Culbert and Mary Ward; and of her mother's siblings, some of whom were close in age to her. By the time Sarah married in 1874, her first cousins on the Culbert homestead hadn't even been born yet.

When she was 17 years old, Sarah married 27 year old Samuel Hill Hodgins (also known as "Red Samuel"). Their marriage document states that she was 18 but actually, she was 17.

The wedding took place on 30 September 1874. Sarah's sister, Rachel Crawley was one of the witnesses along with George Jackson. The 1871 Census shows George Jackson (born 1852) living in Sarah's parents' household and working as a servant. This probably means that George was the "hired hand," a man employed to do manual labour on the farm. 

Their marriage document shows that they were wed at St. Paul's Rectory in London, Ontario. The rectory was the minister's residence that was located beside St. Paul's Cathedral. I was informed by a staff member at the St. Paul's Cathedral office that it would be unusual to be married inside the rectory rather than inside the church so perhaps this is an error on the part of the registrar. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please let me know.

The marriage document says they wed at St. Paul's Rectory.
St. Paul's Cathedral (an Anglican church) in London, Ontario in modern times, minus the adjacent rectory. Photo by Einar Einarsson Kvaran on Wikipedia.

St. Paul's Rectory in foreground on left in the 1800s. Photo taken from the roof of St. Paul's Cathedral. St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church is visible in the background. Photo source: Ivey Family London Room, London Public Library, London, Ontario, Canada.

Sarah's husband, "Red Samuel" Hodgins was born 4 October 1846 to parents, George "Longworth George" Hodgins and Nancy Ellen "Annie" Hill. It's interesting to note that Samuel spent his entire life at Lot 14, Concession 3 in Biddulph Township, for this is where he was born, grew up, raised a family with Sarah, and died.

Sarah Catherine Crawley and Samuel Hill "Red Samuel" Hodgins had 11 children.

Sarah Catherine (Crawley) Hodgins. Photo courtesy of Judy Luker Massey.

Samuel Hodgins died on 20 October 1919, age 73. The widowed Sarah moved in with her son, George Allen Hodgins and his wife, Wilhelmine (O'Neil) Hodgins on Lot 14, Concession 4, Biddulph Township.

Sarah Catherine (Crawley) Hodgins died age 82 in 1939 and is buried alongside her husband, Samuel in St. James Cemetery, Clandeboye near Lucan, Ontario, with their son, John Dufferin Hodgins. 

Sarah Catherine (Crawley) Hodgins' Family Tree:
John Culbert & Mary Ward (grandparents)
Susan Culbert & Philip Crawley (parents)
Descendants (Children):
Annie Hodgins
Mary Ida Hodgins
Estella Kate Hodgins
James Grafton Hodgins
John Dufferin Hodgins, Sr.
Florence Susan "Flossie" Hodgins
Pearl Ellen Hodgins
Thomas George Allen Hodgins
Gladys Sarah Hodgins
William Walter Hodgins
Lillie Victoria May Hodgins (aka Elaine Hodgins and Babe Hodgins)

Coming soon: In an upcoming post, we'll meet one of Sarah and Samuel's daughters, Gladys Sarah (Hodgins) Luker.