Friday, August 8, 2008

Following two Dawson-Russell Children to Ontario, Canada

Image: The former home of Thomas Dawson and his second wife, Hannah, nee. Mather. It was also the home of Thomas and Hannah's combined offspring of 12 to 14 children. The home was located in Barnesboro (now Northern Cambria), Cambria County, Pennsylvania, USA.

Yesterday, I posted an introduction to the First Generation of the Russell Line. I included Thomas Russell, the senior, and his two wives, Ann McNelley or McNally, and his second wife, Ann McCallum. Thomas had about 9 children from his first wife and one son from his second. The parentage of the 11th child, David Russell, is still in question. Recall that at least 6 children in this first generation emigrated from England to America, whereas the other children remained or probably remained in England. I also mentioned the recent discovery that one daughter, Janet Russell, married Thomas Parkinson, and they had 10 children, some of whom left England for Australia and America.

Now, I need to expand a little more on the first-generation daughter, Sarah Rebecca Russell, in order to explain why I am presently uploading a blog entry from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Sarah Rebecca married a Thomas Dawson in August, 1880. They had seven children: Elizabeth Jane, Thomas R, Sarah Rebecca, Emma, John R., James R., and William. Sarah died in 1892 and Thomas married secondly to the widowed Mrs. Hannah Gilroy, nee. Mather, whose first husband, Samuel Gilroy, died in a coal mining accident in Nov 1892. Hannah had three daughters by Samuel: Mary Ann, Margaret, and Hannah Mather. After Thomas and Hanna married, they produced four more children of their own: Richard H., Florence, Frederick, and Lillian. Think of the family being along a giant letter “Y”. On the upper, left arm, we have Thomas Dawson and his first wife, Sarah Rebecca Russell, and their 6 surviving children; on the upper, right arm, we have Hannah Mather and Samuel Gilroy and their 3 daughters; and finally, on the stem, we have the youngest 4 children of Thomas and Hannah- 14 children total.

Thomas Dawson and Hannah and all of their children, except one daughter, emigrated from Durham County, England, to Barnesboro, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, in 1905. The daughter who stayed behind was Elizabeth Jane Dawson, because she was already married in 1901 to Elias Williams. Eventually, Elizabeth and Elias had 10 children. Actually, another child, Thomas Dawson, emigrated to America; started the naturalization process, but for some reason returned to England for good- at least until his father's estate was probated in 1945.

Image: Elias Williams and his wife, Elizabeth Jane, who was the oldest daughter of Thomas Dawson and his first wife, Sarah Rebecca Russell. Five of Elizabeth Jane's siblings emigrated to America with her father and his second wife, Hannah, nee. Mather, whereas Elizabeth remained behind in County Durham, and later, Lancashire, England. Do we have to ask the reason why? Source: Adelaide, whose mother is far right, leaning against brick wall.

In one of those “Internet Magical Moments”, I recently made contact with a granddaughter of the stay-behind, Elizabeth Jane Dawson. This third cousin (we share great great grandparents, Thomas Russell and Jane McNelley), whose name is Adelaide, lives in the Scottish Highlands. What can I say. Genealogy is absolutely one of the joys of life and full of pleasant surprises.

Adelaide sent me a few wonderful pictures of her grandparents, Elizabeth Jane, nee. Dawson, and Elias Williams. She also sent me a picture of John "Jack" Dawson, who will become significant in a moment. Jack was a brother of Elizabeth Jane, both being the children of Thomas Dawson and Sarah Rebecca, nee. Russell.

Image: John "Jack" Dawson, son of Thomas and Sarah Rebecca Russell, stands by his niece, Winnifred Williams, daughter of Elias and Elizabeth Jane, nee. Dawson. Jack wears the uniform of either the British or Canadian Army. What would be the difference in the uniform details? Uh, more research required.

So why am I here in Kitchener, Canada, besides the fact that I love history and like to travel? Two children of Sarah Rebecca Russell and Thomas Dawson must have found the household in Barnesboro a little crowded with 12 children in the family. The 1912 Petition for Naturalization for Thomas Dawson, stated that two of his children, Emma and John ["Jack"], had migrated to and were living in "Canada". Furthermore, Thomas’ 1945 probated estate indicated that Emma Dawson, who was now Mrs. Emma Watson, and her brother, John Dawson, were then living in “Galt, Ontario, Canada”. Just to make it challenging, the town of Galt was incorporated into the town of Cambridge at some point. From the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Kitchener branch, I learned that Emma and her presumed husband, Thomas Watson, and her brother, John Dawson, and his presumed wife, Jessie C. Trusler, are buried in Montview Cemetery, in Cambridge: section, row, stone (6-32W-62-3).

Besides emailing me the picture above of Jack Dawson, Adelaide informed me that he was a very talented musician and played the violin. Thus, he was like his uncle, John Girabaldi Russell, who was a professional musician and composer, and one of the bachelors in the First Generation Russell Family. John G. lived in Syracuse, NY, near his sister, Mrs. Alma Emma Forsyth, nee. Russell, and his half-brother, James Fredrick Russell. Once John G. sent a picture postcard to his older brother in Barnesboro, PA, which depicted the lobby of the grand Onandago Hotel. He might have been hired to play piano in the lobby.

Well folks, I’m on my way to the Grace Schmidt Room (Genealogy and History) of the Kitchener Public Library in Ontario. Hope I can find an obituary or two- and maybe even a descendant or two. Then I hope that I can find at least one of the tombstones of these independent children of Thomas Dawson and Sarah Rebecca (Russell).

1 comment:

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