Thursday, 29 November 2018

Our Nearest and DEERest at Woodland Cemetery

As you know from the previous post, Thomas Culbert (son of John Culbert and Mary Ward) is buried at Woodland Cemetery in London, Ontario.
Woodland Cemetery gates. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert.

This beautiful 100-acre property is located on the banks of the Thames River.

The 50,000 souls laid to rest here aren't the only residents of the cemetery. Take a walk with me to see who else lives here, above ground...
What's that at the base of the stone? Photo by Mary Jane Culbert

 Let's get a little closer, shall we?...
This fawn is one of many white-tailed deer who make their home at Woodland Cemetery. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert

Mom and Dad must be around here somewhere...
Photo by Mary Jane Culbert

And here's the extended family. I wonder if they have a family tree?...
Of course there's a Hodgins! (the stone to the right of Crysler). Photo by Mary Jane Culbert

Honk if you like this photo...
Canada Goose with her goslings. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert

If You Go:

Woodland Cemetery is located at 493 Springbank Drive in London, Ontario. Check their website for a map and directions. The cemetery is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.

Thomas Culbert's headstone is in Section P, Lot 167, SE. His wife, Letitia and five of their six children are buried at Woodland Cemetery. A son, Merlin Orval Culbert is buried at London's Mount Pleasant Cemetery. 

Thomas Culbert's headstone in Section P. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert

The cemetery office can give you directions to this section, including a map. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The office is closed on Sundays. Call (519) 471-7450.

Please don't feed the animals. Enjoy your visit!

COMING SOON: In the next post, we'll meet Thomas Culbert's nephew, George Eli Crawley, another resident of Woodland Cemetery.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Thomas Culbert (1846-1930)

If you missed the last post about Lucan-Biddulph’s most famous feuding family, The Donnellys, click here to read all about their connection to our Culbert family, including Thomas Culbert.

Thomas Culbert was the eighth of eleven children born to our ancestors, John Culbert and Mary Ward. Tom was born 1 November 1846 on the Culbert homestead at Lot 19, Concession 2 (the Coursey Line) in Biddulph Township in what we know today as Ontario, Canada. 

At the time of Tom’s birth, the map of Canada looked very different from today. Biddulph Township was still part of Huron County, and hadn’t yet joined Middlesex County. The Province of Ontario was still known as Canada West (previously Upper Canada); and Canada was still a British colony known as the Province of Canada. 

Canada as it looked in the 1840s. You didn’t know this was going to turn into a geography lesson, did you?

As a young man, Thomas struck out on his own with a farm on the north half of Lot 11, Concession 4, Biddulph Township while his brother, William Culbert farmed the south half of the property.
The John Culbert-Mary Ward family c1865. Tom Culbert is in the middle of the back row with his brothers.
On 6 December 1870, Tom Culbert married Letitia Dempster of Adelaide Township. Letitia was the daughter of Thomas Dempster and Eliza Shields, both born in Ireland.

The witnesses at their wedding were Tom's brother, Joseph Culbert and Letitia's sister, Eliza Dempster. There must have been a spark between Joseph and Eliza because six years later, Joseph and Eliza married. Yes, that’s right; two brothers marrying two sisters.

Thomas and Letitia had six children: Elviretta "Elva" Culbert, Myron Culbert (died age 3), Milton Thomas Culbert, Ernest Adolphus "Ernie" Culbert, John Victor Culbert, and Merlin Orval Culbert.
Tom operated a livery (a boarding stable for horses) in Lucan. He also built and established the Central Hotel on Granton's main street, the Granton Line. Granton is a small community just east of Lucan with a population in Tom’s era of about 375.

Thomas Culbert's name is misspelled here as Thomas Colbert. Source: History of the County of Middlesex, Canada, published 1889.
This advertisement (below) from an 1878 atlas shows Tom Culbert’s new Central Hotel in Granton had just been completed.

Tom was the proprietor of the Central Hotel from 1878 all through the 1880s. His hotel was one of the drinking establishments frequented by the notorious Donnellys but you already know that if you read the previous post, where you also learned about Tom’s dealings with the Donnellys.

Tom Culbert’s hotel stood along this main street in Granton in the 1880s. This photo was taken pre-1910 and shows the street much as it would have appeared back when Tom was in business.

In 1889, Thomas sold the Central Hotel and moved to London, Ontario.
Thomas Culbert sells Central Hotel to John Lankin. Source: Exeter Times, 30 May 1889, page 5.
The article above mentions the Scott Act which was another name for the Canada Temperance Act. Passed in 1879, the Act allowed Canadian municipalities to enact prohibition on a municipal level. Whether or not this had anything to do with Tom's decision to sell the hotel, we don't know.

It would appear that Tom had a spot of bother during the Scott Act Trials, the previous year...

Thomas Culbert fined $100 and costs during the Scott Act trails. Source: Exeter Times, 16 February 1888, page 1.

Tom Culbert sold the Central Hotel to John Taylor Lankin. And here's where an early Culbert-Taylor connection comes into play, long before Tom's nephew Myron Manford Culbert married Effie Taylor

John Lankin was the first cousin of Effie Taylor's father, Bill Taylor. At the time that Tom sold the hotel to John Lankin, Effie Taylor and Myron Culbert were still children, long before Effie and Myron met and married. So this Culbert-Taylor connection precedes the Myron Culbert-Effie Taylor connection.

After Tom sold the Central Hotel, the establishment would exchange hands several times, and at one point, Tom’s brother, Joseph Culbert was the proprietor of the hotel.

Having sold the hotel and moved to London, Tom worked as a bookkeeper for Joseph Smith, a cigar manufacturer at 286-290 Dundas Street, between Wellington and Waterloo streets.

Source: Exeter Times, 10 October 1889.

At one time, cigar manufacturing was London, Ontario's largest industry.

An 1894 London city directory shows that Thomas Culbert now had his own cigar shop. Located at 374 1/2 Richmond Street, Tom's shop was located in the heart of downtown London on the east side of Richmond, between Dundas and King, near the Richmond Hotel.

Tom’s cigar shop was located at 374 ½ Richmond Street and his residence at 374 Horton Street. As you can see, his daughter Elva and son Ernest are still living at home, and it looks like Ernest is working as a clerk for his father. I know you're wondering about Annie Culbert at the top. I don't know if she's related to us but you can get your mind out of the gutter right now. She wasn't that kind of stripper. Her employer, Fraser & Stirton was a cigar manufacturing company. Cigar strippers were hired to strip the centre vein out of tobacco wrapper leaves.

Staff at the London Public Library (LPL) think that the name of Tom’s shop may have been either Thomas Culbert Cigars or Thomas Culbert Tobacconist.

LPL doesn’t have a photo of Tom’s cigar store. However, they sent me a photo (below) which gives us an idea of what the area looked like. The photo was taken in 1900, several years after Tom was in business there. It shows the east side of Richmond Street looking north from just south of Dundas Street. There’s a dentist sign (hard to see) above a shop in the right hand corner. Tom's shop is a few doors to the right but out of the photograph.

Richmond Street, London. Tom’s cigar shop would have been just a few doors down from the office on the far right of the photo. The building that housed Tom’s cigar store is no longer standing, having been demolished at some point.

One of Thomas's regular customers at the cigar shop was Sir John Carling of "Carling Brewery & Malting Co." 
Sir John Carling
Sir John Carling took a liking to Tom and asked Tom to come work for him with the promise of a generous salary. So Tom joined Carling Brewery as a sales representative, or “traveller” as sales reps were called at that time. Tom travelled by horse and buggy throughout southern Ontario, promoting the company’s ales. 
Tom's grandson, Milton Richard Culbert had this to say about Tom's position with Carling Brewery…

"In a fine buggy behind a team of handsome horses provided by the firm, he drove along the county roads, reining in frequently to hail farmer friends for leisurely chats over the fence. A big, genial man, Grandfather had a huge acquaintance throughout the townships from his hotel days. Putting up at a local inn at the end of the day, he would be hailed heartily and thirstily by all those assembled, who knew that he would play host for Carlings with free drinks on his expense account. Coming home at the end of the week, he would have a few dozen cigars in his satchel, the gifts from grateful guzzlers."

Tom Culbert did very well for himself financially. In 1904, he had a beautiful house built in an upscale neighbourhood at 784 Wellington Street, London, between Oxford and St. James streets. Today, this area is known as the Bishop Hellmuth Heritage Conservation District; an area of heritage houses.

784 Wellington Street, London, Ontario. Former residence of Thomas Culbert. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert.
From his front window, Thomas could see Sir Adam Beck's "Headley" mansion, nearby at Richmond and Sydenham streets. Sir Adam Beck was a politician, Mayor of London, and hydroelectricity advocate who founded the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario.

Sir Adam Beck's mansion, near Thomas Culbert's house. Beck's house was built in 1902, two years before Thomas built his house .

Tom’s house at 784 Wellington Street was built in the Queen Anne style of architecture. A charming bandshell porch with a turreted roof was added to the house, making it stand out amid all the other houses on the street. 

Close-up of the "bandstand" or "bandshell" veranda at 784 Wellington Street. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert.

Since 1971, the house at 784 Wellington Street has been owned and lived in by Marlyn Loft, a member of Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) and Committee member of the Heritage Awards Committee.

Marlyn graciously invited me to join her for lunch at her house. Many of the interior architectural details have been maintained and remain just as they were in Tom’s day. It’s truly a beautiful home, inside and out, and it’s wonderful that Marlyn takes such loving care of the house.
Recently, Marlyn had a commemorative sign made for the 784 Wellington Street house, as you can see below...
Sign on exterior of 784 Wellington Street house. Built 1904. Thomas Culbert. Traveller. Carling Brewing & Malting Co. Architectural Conservancy Ontario London Region Branch. Photo courtesy of Marlyn Loft.

Tom Culbert lived at 784 Wellington Street with his wife and family from 1904 until about 1921. 

In 1911, Thomas and Letitia received the devastating news that their son, Milton Thomas Culbert had died at age 30. Milton died of post-appendectomy septicaemia in the days before antibiotics.
Tom Culbert's son, Milton Thomas Culbert (1880-1911)
Milton Thomas Culbert's son, Milton Richard Culbert related this story about how the death affected Tom Culbert: 

When my father [Milton Thomas Culbert] died, the profound shock of losing the favored son gave Grandfather [Tom Culbert] a severe heart attack. After recovering from the first seizure, he suffered lesser ones from then on for the rest of his life. I never saw him have one, but was told that he would begin to gasp with pain and then turn purple. Whenever this happened, family members, true to their Erin heritage, would come running to his aid and pump Irish whiskey into him until he turned pink again. Because this occured with increasing frequency as years passed, I think that Grandfather taught himself to turn purple at will, whenever he felt he wanted a drink.
By 1921, Thomas and Letitia were growing older. That may be why they sold 784 Wellington and moved in with their daughter Elva and her husband, George Thomas Hunter at 506 St. James Street.  
In 1921, Thomas & Letitia moved in with their daughter Elva Hunter at 506 St. James Street. Later, Elva, her husband George T. Hunter, and Thomas and Letitia moved a couple of doors down to 502 St. James Street. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert, 2017.
Thomas Culbert died 14 November 1930, age 84 at his daughter's house at 502 St. James Street, London, Ontario.

Thomas Culbert's death notice. Source: London Free Press, 15 November 1930, page 22. Courtesy of Cheryl Clarridge.
Thomas Culbert's funeral notice. The minister in charge of the funeral service was Rev. John Bruce Hunter who was the brother of Thomas's son-in-law, George Hunter. Source: London Free Press, 17 November 1930, page 5. Courtesy of Cheryl Clarridge.

Tom is buried in Woodland Cemetery, London, in a family plot with a tall headstone of grey marble in Section P, Lot 167, SE.

Headstone of Thomas Culbert & Letitia Dempster at Woodland Cemetery in London, Ontario. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert.

Close-up of Thomas Culbert's headstone. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert.

Thomas Culbert’s Family Tree:
John Culbert & Mary Ward (parents)
Descendants (Children):
Elviretta "Elva" (Culbert) Hunter
Myron Culbert (died in infancy)
Milton Thomas Culbert
Ernest Adolphus Culbert
John Victor Culbert
Merlin Orval Culbert.