Monday, 31 December 2018

Happy New Year!

Everyone, don your party hats...
Unidentified Culbert reveler in early 1900s.

 But try not to get carried away...

Exeter Advocate, 18 Aug 1892, page 8.
It seems that "hugging parties" were all the rage back in 1892. John Culbert and Mary Ward would be spinning in their graves if they knew about this!

Happy New Year!

Friday, 21 December 2018

Christmas 1918

100 years ago around this time, our relatives would have been making a list, and checking it twice. 

Exeter, Ontario attracted shoppers for miles around, including the Lucan-Biddulph region. 
Source: The Exeter Advocate, 12 December 1918, page 8.

B.W.F. Beavers' Exeter Bargain Store was a dry goods store carrying clothing, shoes, and a range of household items from towels to handkerchiefs.

I know you're tittering into your handkerchiefs at the mention of "RUBBERS IN ALL STYLES" but I'm here to tell you that the "rubbers" in question were galoshes, rubber footwear designed to protect your shoes from the rain.

The Rubbers of a Gentleman, 1913.
"I'm gon'ta have em if it takes me last Nickel"

And braces? That's just another word for suspenders; used to keep your trousers (pants) up. Trousers were still high-waisted in the early 20th century, making it impractical to wear belts. It wasn't until the 1930s that belts became a popular men's accessory.
Man wearing suspenders to hold his trousers up.

One wonders if Mr. Beavers managed to lure shoppers into making 1918 a "footwear" Christmas.

You have to give Mr. Beavers credit for trying to discourage frivolous expenditure at Christmas. 100 years later, not much has changed, aside from the cut of your trousers.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Frosty Farm Boys

A snowy day at Poplar Farm on the Coursey Line near Lucan, Ontario ...
Left to right: Mel Culbert (born 1920), Ken Culbert (born 1916), & Ivan Culbert (born 1918); three of six sons born to Myron Culbert & Effie Taylor.

The Culbert brothers are dressed in their "Sunday Best" but they look far too happy to be on their way to Sunday School. They may have been on their way to a special event or perhaps a celebration of some sort was being held at the farmhouse.

I found this image in a group of photos dated from the late 1920s to the early 1930s but I don't know the exact date.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Sam Luker's African Adventures

Today, we present a travelogue written by globetrotting Culbert descendant, Sam Luker of Muskoka, Ontario. Take it away, Sam!


Sam Luker in Rwanda
In November of 1985, after spending time in Israel and Egypt, my wife Melva and I flew to Dar el Salaam, Tanzania, then on to Mount Kilimanjaro. Although the tallest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kili is not technically a difficult ascent. But the altitude (19,341 feet above sea level) is a killer! Even though we spread the climb over several days, it was exhausting. But we did it!   

Sam Luker climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
We then flew to Nairobi, Kenya (I had some university business to do there); then on to Burundi, where we picked up our safari and headed for Zaire (now Congo) to see the rare Mountain Gorillas, and hopefully meet the famous "Gorilla Lady" Dian Fossey in Karioke, Rwanda.

That night, our group was arrested by the government militia and carted off to a deserted village! All night long our tent camp was encircled by soldiers armed with AK47s. In the morning, they explained that it was all just a small misunderstanding. They actually thought  we might have been mercenaries who crossed into Zaire on the anniversary of their glorious revolution!! When our daughters heard the story, they thought it was hilarious. One said "Yea Dad, mercenaries with bi-focals". Not funny.
Sam Luker camping in Rwanda
We did have a very successful interaction with the gorillas, both in Zaire and Rwanda. We were able to get up close and personal with several families, a glorious experience. Unfortunately, Ms. Fossey refused to see us (or any other tourists.) She had made enemies of some of the local poachers and government officials, and was already under the protection of an armed guard when we were there.   

A rare Mountain Gorilla
On our flight home, we received the tragic news that she had been murdered (likely by an agent of the same corrupt government official.) So ended our first excursion into mysterious Africa.
Our second African trip took place in October of 1997. We travelled to South Africa, Losotho, Swaziland and Namibia; primarily to view the wonderful display of wildlife there. The national parks of South Africa and Namibia were particularly impressive. We saw elephants, lions, hippos, rhinos, zebras, gazelles, ostriches, gnus, and countless exotic bird species.
We stayed an extra few days in Capetown, South Africa; a most attractive city. We climbed the world-famous Table Mountain which provided us with an incredible view of the city and its surroundings.

All in all, another fine trip. We recommend Africa to anyone with a yen to see the natural world.


Thanks, Sam!

If you have a travel story to share with us, please contact me at this email address:

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

The Gift of DNA

A big THANK YOU to three of my first cousins, once removed who recently purchased their Ancestry DNA kits! (You know who you are.)

The kits are on sale again until Christmas day. If you're thinking about purchasing a kit for someone else, please make sure first that it's something that person would like to do.

Today, I made a very interesting discovery based on my brother's DNA. If my brother hadn't taken the test, I wouldn't have made the discovery. That's because DNA is randomly passed down through the generations and a segment of DNA might show up in your sibling's DNA but not in your DNA. 

So the more Culbert descendant DNA in the fish pond, the more chances of catching a fish (so to speak.)

If you missed my post on why it's important to take the test for our family history research, click here.

Go to or if you're Canadian, go to to order your kit. 

And if you've already taken the test, THANK YOU!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Culberts at Atkinson's School

If you missed the post about Atkinson's school, click here.

Atkinson's School was another name for S. S. No. 2 Biddulph School near Lucan, Ontario. It came to be known as Atkinson's School because the land was donated by Jonathan Atkinson and his wife Rebecca (Culbert) Atkinson. Rebecca was the daughter of James Culbert and Rebecca Portis.

In my collection of Culbert family photos, I found this old photo of Atkinson's School...

Generations of Culberts attended this one-room schoolhouse.

The school was designed with its back to the road; one of only a few Western Ontario schools to be built in this tradition. It's said that this way, the children wouldn't be distracted from their studies by watching the traffic through the windows and front doors.

In this older post we saw Myron Culbert in the Class of 1895 at Atkinson's School. Below, we see Myron's two youngest sons, Merton Manford "Mert" Culbert (1926-1998) and William Earl Culbert (1929-1994): students at Atkinson's School circa 1937.

Back row, left to right: Lorne Hodgins, Mert Culbert, Bill Wright, Teacher - Clifford Abbott, Ruby Armitage, Florence Calvery, Alvin Davidson & Donald Abbott.
Middle row: Jim Barker, Mayrene Atkinson, Wilda Armitage, Ruth Regan, Ruby Dobbs, Anna Atkinson, Pauline Abbott, and Ieleen Davis.
Front row: Earl Culbert, Lyle Revington, Earl Greenlee, Jim Regan.

The teacher, Clifford Alonzo Abbott (1904-1980) is related to the Culbert family by marriage, through his nephew, Don Abbott (1928-2018). (Don's in the class photo in the back row, far right.) Don Abbott married Culbert descendant, Audrey Jean Ethel Wood (1929-2008).
Don Abbott was teacher Cliff Abbott's nephew. Don married Audrey Wood, the great-great-granddaughter of John Culbert & Mary Ward.

Audrey Jean Ethel (Wood) Abbott was the daughter of Ethel Susannah Ryan & George Heslop Wood. Ethel Susannah Ryan was the daughter of Margaret Crawley & George Ryan. Margaret Crawley was the daughter of Susan Culbert & Philip Crawley. And Susan Culbert was the daughter of our ancestors, John Culbert & Mary Ward. So you can see that teacher Cliff Abbott is related to the Culbert family, albeit distantly by marriage.

Cliff Abbott's wife, Lela Myrtle Hodgins (1908-1992) is probably a distant blood relation to the Culbert family but I haven't yet been able to determine her relationship to us.

I see other names in that class photo who may be related to us but I don't want your head to explode with all the connections. I'll save that for some other time.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Sodom and the Sodomites

We've all heard the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

But did you know that there was a Sodom closer to home?

In 1888, Sodom was booming...

Source: Exeter Advocate, 6 December 1888, page 1.

Sodom, Ontario was located just three miles west of Exeter in Stephen Township, Huron County.

Sodom was formed when a sawmill built in 1873 attracted employees to the small community. Soon, a number of community organizations took shape. They even had their own  Glee Club and a literary society... 

Source: Exeter Advocate, 15 December 1892, page 1.

Sodomites gathered for lively discussions on topics such as capital punishment, and the comparative evils of tobacco and opium versus liquor ...

Source: Exeter Advocate, 12 January 1893, page 1.

The word Sodom denotes vice and corruption so why was the town named for such an image of wickedness? The community is said to have received its name from Chester Prouty, a local school official who frowned upon the excessive consumption of alcohol he witnessed among the Sodomites. To deal with the alcohol problem, the Royal Templars of Temperance Lodge was established...
Source: Exeter Times, 5 April 1894, page 8.
Although no members of the Culbert family lived in Sodom, it's likely that they may have had business in that community. I found an article showing that Jane (Fairhall) Culbert's brother, Charlie Fairhall gave a speech in Sodom at a Royal Templars of Temperance meeting...

Jane (Fairhall) Culbert's brother, Charlie Fairhall delivers speech at Royal Templars of Temperance meeting in Sodom. Source: Exeter Times, 17 May 1895, page 1.

Sodom's population gradually dwindled as timber availability declined. I don't know how long Sodom remained an active community but the Sodom School was still in operation until at least 1937. Sodom is now a ghost town and not a single Sodomite remains.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

George Eli Crawley: Liveryman (1864-1921)

Recently, you met liveryman and hotel keeper, Thomas Culbert, the son of John Culbert and Mary Ward. Today, we meet Thomas's nephew, George Eli Crawley. George Crawley was a liveryman, just like his uncle Thomas.

I don't have a photo of George Crawley's livery but this gives you an idea of what a livery stable looked like circa 1900 when George was in business. A livery was a stable that boarded the horses of people visiting from out-of-town. In an age before rental cars and taxi service, the livery also kept horses and carriages for hire.
On 24 January 1864, George Crawley was born on Lot 17, Concession 2 (the Coursey Line) in Biddulph Township in what we know today as the Province of Ontario, Canada. His parent's property was just north of the Culbert homestead.

He was the 8th of 10 children born to Philip Crawley and Susan Culbert (daughter of John Culbert & Mary Ward.) George was their first son and was probably welcomed with great fanfare, considering the importance placed on male children at that time. 

At age 28, George married a 29-year-old dressmaker from London Township named Ida Victoria Fraleigh. They wed at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Lucan on 5 October 1892.

Both the 1901 Census and 1911 Census list George as a farmer, living in Lucan. He was also in the livery business at this time. George had stables in both Lucan and Exeter, Ontario. It's possible that he learned the ropes of the livery business from his mother's brother, Thomas Culbert.

George and Ida moved back and forth between Lucan and Exeter more than once.
Above, for example, we see that George Crawley of the livery firm Crawley & Ogden has moved into a house on Huron Street in Exeter in 1902. It says he moved with his family but George and Ida didn't have children and the Census from a year earlier doesn't show any family members living with them. Source: Exeter Advocate, 5 June 1902, page 8.

George Crawley was a well-known and highly respected businessman of both Lucan and Exeter. George and Ida were active members of Trivett Memorial Church in Exeter...
This Anglican church located at 264 Main Street South, Exeter has been holding services since 1888.

In 1903, George Crawley dissolved his partnership with Thomas Ogden. George continued to run the business as an independent liveryman...
Source: Exeter Times, 7 May 1903, page 5.
... a genial, obliging, and thorough liveryman, I might add...
Source: Exeter Advocate, 7 May 1903, page 8.
And later that year...
Has anyone found a lost carriage door?...
Source: Exeter Advocate, 26 November 1903, page 8.
The door of said Waggonette was lost between Exeter and Elimville. Finder will be rewarded by leaving it at Crawley's Livery...

Source: Exeter Times, 26 November 1903, page 8.
During this period, George Crawley's livery barns were on the east side of Exeter's Main Street; in other words, right in the heart of the downtown action...

Source: Exeter Advocate, 28 July 1904, page 8.

In November 1905, George sold his business in Exeter to Thornton Baker...
Source: The Brussels Post, 2 November 1905, page 5.

George bought a livery business in Lucan from James Hodgins, in 1907...
Source: The Zurich Herald, 1 March 1907, page 5.

In 1911, George purchased the livery business of Mr. W.G. Bissett, Exeter's oldest businessman. The stables were on the west side of Exeter's Main Street, the opposite side of where he'd previously been in business before selling to Thornton Baker. From this clip we can see that George had been living in Lucan again at the time of the sale. ...
Source: Exeter Advocate, 29 June 1911, page 1.

Let's hope that George had insurance...

Source: Exeter Advocate, 22 January 1914, page 8.
George's health began to fail. In 1916, he sold his livery business to William Hodgert...
Source: Exeter Advocate, 30 March 1916, page 8.

George pulled out of the livery business just in time. A new era was emerging in which the automobile was taking over from the horse and carriage. By 1920, William Hodgert sold what was the last livery in Exeter...
Source: Exeter Advocate, 10 June 1920, page 8.
George suffered from heart trouble and Bright's disease; a kidney condition also known as nephritis. 
George was living on Main Street, Exeter and seriously ill in 1920. Source: Exeter Times, 11 November 1920, page 5.

After experiencing a particularly bad bout of illness, it seemed he was on the road to recovery when he was felled by a cold. He died 23 March 1921 in Exeter, age 57.

George Crawley's obituary in the Exeter Advocate, 31 March 1921.
George's obituary in the Exeter Advocate failed to acknowledge his sister Hattie who's mentioned in the item above as Mrs. Alex McNeil of Detroit. Source: Exeter Times, 31 March 1921, page 4.

He was survived by his only brother, William Crawley of Hartford, Connecticut; and four sisters: Maggie (Crawley) Ryan of Biddulph Township, Rebecca (Crawley) Brock of Lobo, Sarah Catherine (Crawley) Hodgins of Lot 14, Concession 2, Biddulph Township, and Harriet "Hattie" (Crawley) McNeil, all of whom attended his funeral. George was a member of the Masonic Lodge and his funeral was arranged under Masonic auspices.

His widow, Ida Crawley lived two more years and died of cancer on 25 July 1923. 
Ida Crawley's obituary in the Exeter Advocate, 2 August 1923.

George Crawley is buried at Woodland Cemetery in London, Ontario in Section N, Lot 174 NE, Grave #3. Ida is buried alongside her husband.
Woodland Cemetery. Photo by Mary Jane Culbert.

Note: If anyone has any photos of George Crawley, please let me know.

George Eli Crawley's Family Tree:
John Culbert & Mary Ward (grandparents)
Susan Culbert & Philip Crawley (parents)
No descendants.