CASSELMAN FAMILY SITE
The decendents of John Carmi and Florence Casselman

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Family History

 

A HISTORY OF
 
THE
 
CASSELMANS
 
AND
 
THE BURKMARS

 
BY ANN CASSELMAN PAUL U.E.L.
 
1982
 
Copyright pending
 
 
 
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
 
CIVILIZATION OF EUROPE AND THE WORLD
 
THE ATLANTIC FRONTIER 1607-1763

BRAGGART IN ME STEP (Glengary County) 

THE STORY OF DUNDAS (Courtesy of Caroline Love of Penticton) 

Lynne O'Brian of Morrisburg, Ont. for the Genealogy of the Casselman United Empire Loyalists. 

My father, John Carmi Casselman (posthumously) for relating through the years so much of his early life in Ontario. 

My mother, Florence Lilian (Casselman) Field (posthumously) for recounting through the years so much needed information on the Burkmars. 

To sisters Caroline and Betty who filled in on birth dates; my special thanks. 

And last but not least, to many other sources too numerous to mention, including volumes and people.

 
FORWARD
 
Parts of this narrative are a compilation of information gleaned from books on world history, the Atlantic Colonies in America and early Canadian history.
 
It took many weeks of selecting and rejecting to find out what was necessary to include and what to leave out. Many more weeks were spent weaving it together in sequence and, at the same time, the generations of our forefathers. I have done this to the best of my ability and in my own words.
Apart from the articles on Casselman, Ont. and information from different sources, the songs sung by our parents, etc., the rest is from memory.
 
The lives of the sons and daughters of John and Florence Casselman are included only as they affect or are referred to in certain incidents.
 
Any of the family who may wish to do so, can add their own story to the Casselman and Burkmar Journal for the benefit of their own descendants.
 
For any discrepancies and mistakes, I ask the reader’s forbearance.
 
A.C.P.
 
 
 
THE CASSELMANS
 
PART 1
 
To understand in part, the peoples we are descended from and the ‘how and why’ we are here today, it is necessary to delve briefly into, what is termed as antiquity.
 
The Germans were a great ethnic complex of Europe. A composition of what was to become Germany, Austria, Switzerland, North Italy, Scandinavia and the low countries, France and England.
 
The original tribes occupied North Germany and along the Baltic Sea before their great expansion southeast and west. Rome invaded them in the first century A.D.
 
A Roman historian, Tacitus 55 B.C. – 177 A.D. writes of them with awe…”as a race of giants, courageous, delighting in battle, children of the swamps; they learned therein to endure hunger and cold”…
 
The Germans had been entering Roman territory for centuries and had been peacefully assimilated but by the fourth century peaceful immigration became violent invasion. These forceful invasions can only be surmised as bJuly 19, 2009eing due to over population and lack of food supply in their own territories. The Germans forced their way into the Roman Empire and proceeded to conquer it piecemeal.
 
In the twentieth century the Germans have often been referred to as Huns. This is a misconception. The Huns were a Tartar Tribe from central Asia who, under Attila and his remarkable horsemen, pillaged Rome in the fourth century.
 
As invariably happens, Germany in turn was weakened by invasions of Norsemen, Slavs, and Masgars and by the rise of feudal princes in their own system. Kingships or Emperors broke this up in the 11th and 12th centuries. The country became a loose federation of States including Bavaria, Saxony, Franconia and Swabia, over which the Emperors ruled with varying degrees of success.
 
Prior to this, Christianization of Germany begun by St. Boniface of Britain in 718 was completed by the 10th and 12th centuries. In 1517, a German Priest, Martin Luther, posted his famous “Ninety five Theses” and started the Protestant Reformation. This Reformation, on top of wars between feudal Dutchies and wars on invasion, kept the country in a constant state of unrest. In 1618 the “Thirty Year Religious War” broke out between Frederick the Winter King and Maxmillion 1st, who had founded the Catholic League in 1609.
 
 
 
PART 2

            On the western bank of the Rhine River and the fertile valleys connected with it, was the Upper Palatinate. It was so called in the time of the Roman occupation, as they sent Palatines to rule over their conquered lands. The Upper Palatinate was in the State of Bavaria. It's capital was Heidelberg. The people embraced the reformed faith.

 

The first Casselman who emerges from the mists of time is Johann of Adelshofin in the Upper Palatinate of Bavaria. He was born in 1615, two years before the thirty-year religious war broke out. His wife Anna, born the same year, bore him 10 children. The family lived through this terrible war which left the Rhine Valley devastated and ruined.

Their youngest child was born when Johann and Anna were 47 years of age. His name was Hans Dietrich born in 1662, and is the next in line of succession. He was a young lad when the Dynastic wars were in progress. The region was a battleground once again. Eventually Hans married Anna Rinberin, in 1687. They had children born to them in Germany.

Due to these unceasing wars over religious 'faiths and between Dynasties, the Upper Palatinate was particularly hard hit. Grasping landlords, who themselves felt the pinch of need, ground down their tenants until farmers, vine growers and shopkeepers were starving and desperate. Many of the poor people perished of hunger. The country was so devastated it did not recover until the 18th century

News of the New World across the Atlantic had been filtering slowly into Germany. A group of Palatines went to England in 1709 when they heard Queen Anne had a Bill passed in Parliament opening their borders to immigrants from Europe. They asked to be sent to the Colony of New York in America. This was granted to them. When this news spread in Germany, large numbers of Palatines made their way to Rotterdam on their way to London. They came in such numbers the people of Rotterdam could not supply them with the necessities of life. England consented to take 5000 of them and pay their transportation. 

They arrived in such hordes that by October 1709 there were 15,000 of them in London. "Good Queen Anne" and "The Mighty Marlborough" were in sympathy with their plight. The Queen allowed them nine pence (18¢) a day and ordered army tents to be supplied them for shelter at Blackheath. All empty warehouses were ordered opened for additional shelter. By order of the Queen, collections were taken up for them throughout the land. All churches were ordered to contribute. Some were settled within the Kingdom. Ireland absorbed 3,800 of them and they formed prosperous settlements in Munster. The Carolina's in America took 100 families. Death claimed 100 at Blackheath while awaiting settlement. Some enlisted in the British Army, 800 were sent back to Germany. The rest remained at Blackheath for the time. They had but one desire, to go to America. They had learned to hate war and were determined their sons would not be dragged away for cannon fodder.

 
Four Mohawk Chiefs under the guidance of Peter Scuyler and Col. Nicholson from the New York Colony, while on a sightseeing tour in London, were taken to see the foreigners at Blackheath. The Mohawk Chiefs were sympathetic of their plight and gave the Queen a grant of land on the Schoharie in the Mohawk Valley for the benefit of the Palatines.
Hans Dietrich Casselman and his wife with five children were among the 3,200 war weary and desperate people who longed to be where they could own their own land and be free of persecution for their religious faith. Ten ships set sail in March 1710 with 3,200 Palatines aboard. Nine of the ships reached the New World in June and July of that year, with a loss of 470 lives. The tenth ship sank just off Long Island. All aboard were lost.
There is a record extant of the many divergent skills of the people who came to the new land on these ships. It may be taken for a description of all or any immigrant’s sailing at that time.
Doctor with wife and children, a Captain, a glass blower, a mason, a smith, a wheelwright, agriculturists, farmers, seamstresses, etc. They brought with them knowledge of important cottage skills, weaving, pottery, shoemaking, carving, molding, cabinet making, and many other crafts"....
They were not only divergent in occupations but of divergent Christian faiths, Lutherans, Followers of Calvin, Ana-Baptists, Quakers and some Roman Catholics and Anglicans.
 
PART 3

Some of the ships docked in New York harbour and some in Fonda, New York. The new Governor of the Colony, Robert Hunter had a devious and selfish reason for welcoming the immigrants. He knew they were wonderful woodsmen and intended they should be employed in the pine forests along the Hudson River to produce tar for the ships of the British Navy. As there was very little pine on the Schoharie, the Palatine colonists were moved to the Hudson where pine abounded. Huts were built and other necessities seen to for the winter. In the spring the production of tar commenced. By summer they began to murmur, as it appeared they were becoming slaves. This grew to open rebellion with their fear of no pay, discontent with the food etc., but most of all their fear of never to be able to till their own soil, which Queen Anne had granted them on the, Schoharie and the Mohawk. Governor Hunter pacified them for a time but their resentment smoldered and grew.

The pine tar business fizzled out when he could get no more backing from the British Government and he could not recoup 20,000 pounds of his own money. The Palatines were told to shift for themselves and were advised to move back to New York and find employment for themselves and their families. They were not allowed to move to a place of their own choice. The self-determination of the immigrants was very strong. Thirty families moved south and founded the town of Rhinebeck. The greater portion moved to the Schoharie. Many would have perished but for the Indians and the Dutch at Albany. They experienced almost as great hardships as they had in their own homeland. In the spring of 1712 another hundred families joined them. When the Governor heard of their move he ordered them back to the Hudson as they were still under contract. They refused to obey. For ten years they fought this issue and finally won out. Some bought their land and some became tenants and some moved to the beautiful Mohawk Valley. Situated on the most fertile and fin­est lands in the colony, they soon became prosperous and some very rich. 

The gently sloping hills and winding river must have reminded them of their home on the Rhine. With their many skills and crafts and their knowledge of agriculture, they became almost self-sufficient. But the spoiler of their homes in Germany found them even on the Schoharie and Mohawk.

France and England were again at war over the possession of this continent. In December of 1757, the French sent Indian war tribes through the valley and burned every house and barn on the North side of the Mohawk River. The majority of settlers found safety at the Fort across the river but forty were killed and more than a hundred were carried away as prisoners. The South side of the river was raided again the next year with less loss of life but the same amount of property damage.

The war ended in 1759 when England's General Wolfe defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham at the city of Quebec in Canada.

The Palatines on the Schoharie and Mohawk were left in peace for another twelve years but there was ominous signs of dissatisfaction within the colonies and the results of this was to drive them from their homes once again. 

Hans and his wife by now had 7 children, the last two born in America. One of these two children was Johann Wilhelm born in 1711. He married Anna Margaretha Emig. They had 12 children all born on the Schoharie. One was named Cephrenus and is next in direct line. He had a brother named Warner of whom we will hear more later.
Cephrenus was born in 1737. He married Anna Maria Sprocker. They had ten children.
Prior to the outbreak of hostilities between Britain and the Colonies, Sir William Kieth, Governor of Pennsylvania, visited the settlements on the Mohawk and Schoharie and invited them all to join with their countrymen in his colony. Fully two-thirds of them accepted. This was a mistake by the British Governors who did not cultivate the friendship of these peoples. Within a few years after the struggle for independence was over, many hundreds of them from Pennsylvania, after a trial of Republican Government, came north and settled in Canada.
To get back to the German settlers in the New York Colony they were divided in their opinion but the majority were loyal to the crown. Seeds of dissention had been sown among them for several years previous. Little impression was made. It is a recorded fact the New York Colony produced more United Empire Loyalists than any similar section in the thirteen colonies.
This was due to Sir William Johnston, a Loyalist leader. Several years before the war broke out he settled 500 Scottish immigrants on his estate, the majority being Roman Catholics. The enemies of Sir William went among the Loyal Palatine settlers and told them it was the intention of Sir William to use the Highlanders, along with the Indians, to drive them from their lands. Anything Roman Catholic was hateful to them and some of them believed it, as it was the custom of the Highlanders to appear in public in full dress including dirk, pistol and claymore.
When they found they could not shake these settlers from their Loyalist stand, the rebels decided to silence Sir William. When the war started in 1755 Philip Shuyler sent 4,000 troops from New England to disarm the Loyalists and swear Sir John Johnston to neutrality. Sir William had died and his son John was now in charge. Sir John granted them all they asked for and agreed not to leave
the country if his property and those of his friends was not touched. Peter Shuyler solemnly agreed. But the troops had to be fed and, under pretense, the agreement was broken because the Highlanders still had their dirks. The rebels swept down on the Mohawk and Schoharie again and again as the war continued. The Loyalists knew of no safe way of retreat. All of Canada except Quebec was in Rebel hands. Conditions became too hard to endure. The cattle, pigs, and chicken of the Loyalists were killed and the churches looted. The body of Sir William was taken from its lead casket and the casket melted down for bullets by Rebel soldier. For this Philip Shuyler received the thanks of Congress.
House-breaking and burning, tar and feathering, jail, the years of jibes from rebel neighbors, persecution of themselves and even their children in many cases, banishment, all became the order of the day. This in direct violation of a solemn agreement was the destruction on the Mohawk and the Schoharie begun by the rebels.
Late in 1775 Sir John heard from his friends in Albany, Philip Shuyler intended to release him from his parole and, at the same time, take him prisoner. He lost no time burying his valuables and gathering 200 followers, started by an unfrequented route to Montreal. The journey was hazardous, as they had to walk every step of the way. They had not had time to prepare food for the journey. It was a nineteen-day trek through the wilderness and they suffered severely from hunger and soon their only food was leeks and the leaves of beech trees. During the last few days of the march many fell from exhaustion. The Indians from Cughnawaga were sent out to the rescue and all were brought safely to Montreal the day after Sir Guy Carleton took it from the rebels. The rebel occupation was very brief in Canada.
Scouts were sent out to guide many other Loyalists over the woodland trail to Montreal. It is not to be supposed German Palatines were the only ethnic group who fled to Canada in the years following. Many were Irish, Scottish, and English with a scattering of other nationalities.
The revolutionary war started in 1775 and the actual fighting stopped in 1781. It was not until 1783 a Treaty was signed in Paris, France, recognizing the United States as a Nation. In this Treaty was a clause stating all lands and property taken from the Loyalists would be compensated for, but not one cent of it was ever paid.
There were many Casselman among the great influx of Loyalists into, what was called at the time, the Province of Canada, during the war and the years following.
 
PART IV
 
The war ended officially in 1783. In the spring of 1784 the survivors of the Loyalist Regiments were settled on the lands allotted them. They were not settled by chance. The German Lutherans and Presbyterians asked to be allowed to settle apart from the Roman Catholics. When it was settled, the Highland Roman Catholics were placed farthest east next to the French Catholics. Directly west of them were placed their Presbyterian Scottish countrymen and west of them the Lutheran and Presbyterian German Palatines were settled and served as a buffer between the English Anglicans to the west and the Highlanders and French to the east.
The officers and soldiers had first choice of land. They went to New Johnston (Cornwall) and drew by lot the land granted them. The lots were numbered on slips of paper and placed in a hat. Each soldier had his draw. Then boats loaded with "Pioneer Freight" proceeded up the St. Lawrence River and, as each soldier arrived at his lot, he landed with his family and belongings. Many traded lots afterwards to be near relatives and friends.
Each Field Officer received 5,000 acres and each Captain 3,000. Subalterns received 2,000 acres and each non-commissioned officer 200 plus 50 more for his wife and each child. Each child upon reaching the age of 21,was to receive 200 more acres. This latter was also allotted, to each private. They were unremitting in their labours after landing and worked cheerfully. In six months they had, not only built a habitation for themselves, but also had cleared about two-thirds of an acre for each man.
The Palatines were not novices at clearing away the forests and bringing the land quickly into production. They had readily become reliable soldiers and had now shown they had not forgotten the art of peace. They were aided in their labours by two years of supplies from the Government. Each was given an axe and a spade and a hoe. One plow was considered enough for two families. One crosscut saw and one whipsaw was enough for four families. Boats and portable mills were also supplied and had to serve a whole community.
In the third year they were not only self-sustaining but actually had grain for export. The Lutheran Palatines on the banks of the St. Lawrence River built the first Church in the Province of Canada, three miles from the city of Morrisburg.
The New World had brought them many problems and sorrows but none wanted to go back to their homeland. All were proud to live under the protecting wings of the British Empire. They were known as United Empire Loyalists and their descendants can look back with pride and say, "Those were my people".
The early Palatines who settled in Canada were essen­tially agriculturists and plain farmers. Many were people learned in trades and cottage skills.
Their first consideration was clearing away the forests to make the land ready for planting. This was far from an easy task as the forests were thick and uninviting, clad with oak, pine, elm, and ash and many other national trees including the stately maple. It has already been related how quickly they accomplished this.
Returning to Cephrenus, last-mentioned on the Schoharie,of the twelve children born to him and his wife Anna Maria, was Wilhelm born in 1758. He married Magdeline Heagle but he was only 17 years when the revolutionary war started. His father, Cephrenus was a Captain in that war. His son Wilhelm served in the war of 1812. Cephrenus had a cousin from the Warner line named Martinus who was a Colonel in the revolutionary war. All three of them were granted land in the area of Williamsburg, Dundas County, Ontario. However, Wilhelmus, who directly concerns this narrative, did not claim his land grant until sometime after 1808. He was married to Magdeline Heagle in Fonda, N.Y. State in 1788 as already stated. He had twelve children, two of them at least, born in Fonda N.Y. Michael born 1799 and John born 1808. Wilhelm did eventually move to Canada to claim his land near his people at Williamsburg.
Michael married Lany Beckstead who was also born in the United States. As far as is known Michael and Lany had nine children,one of whom was Ezra Michael in 1842. Another was Alfred Asaph who came west and settled at Boundary Falls, B.C.
Ezra, next in line, married Emma Beckstead(no relation to his mother). There must have been some objection to their union for they eloped in a small rowboat and crossed the St. Lawrence River to Waddington, N.Y. and were married by a Reverend Lincolnfelter, (name could be misspelled) after which, they rowed back to Canada. This couple was prolific in true Casselman form, producing twelve children. The first years of their married life they spent at Dundela, a few miles west of Williamsburg. The older children were born there including John Carmi who is next in line. He became the father of the Casselmans who were born at Boundary Falls, British Columbia.
From Dundela, Ezra moved his family to the village of Casselman farther down the Nation River. He acquired a farm at this location and built a two-story house on it. The rest of his children were born there. It was a sizable farm with enough land to grow produce for their own use and also grain for flour. He operated a Grist Mill on this property for the benefit of his neighbors as well as himself.
John had a picture of the house when he came west but it has long since disappeared. It was taken when the older children were in their teens. The whole family, including Ezra and his wife Emma were pictured, either on the veranda or on the front lawn posing in different attitudes as they did in those days. On the lawn were two boys around ten or twelve years old, posing beside their bicycles. .
In that era everyday life was far different from what it is today. There were biannual trips to Montreal or Ottawa for much needed supplies. Half way on their trip they would stop at a rich relative's home for an over-night rest on the journey. The furnishings of the house were lavish and elegant compared to their own. Ezra's children were impressed with the delicious food served.
John often told his children about these trips, including one amusing story concerning his brother. They were very hungry as they pulled in to the "Rich Relative's" place after their long drive and the Boston baked beans they were soon eating tasted so good the brother couldn't think of a suitable word to describe them. Finally, he burst out, "These beans are sure melodious!"
They would arrive home with a load of articles that could not be made or grown at home. Nails, farm implements, ingredients for tanning etc., bolts of cloth, needles and thread, pins, baking powder, salt, tea and coffee and maybe a small treat for the youngest ones.
The girls worked in the house, learning to bake and cook, weave, knit and sew and all chores pertaining to becoming a good housewife. They also worked in the vegetable gardens and looked after the chickens. They made their own lye from wood ash for the making of soap. All fat was carefully saved for this task. They helped in many tasks including cheese making etc.
The boys had to get in the winter's wood supply as well as work in the fields. They looked after the livestock, worked in the fields, planting and reaping and threshing the grain in the fall along with many other chores.
The boys also had to learn the art of tanning hides into leather. They were taught cobbling, a term used in the making or repairing of shoes. All of them had to learn the rudiments of blacksmithing and carpentry.
Both boys and girls joined in the making of sauerkraut, the smoking of hams and bacon and cheese making. The latter was an ongoing task throughout the year.
To be self-sufficient was the order of the day. All their skills had been handed down from their Palatine ancestors and none learned to be thriftier than Ezra Casselman. He was a stern disciplinarian. His word was law. But he faithfully handed down these inherited skills of self-sufficiency to his own children.
In Ezra's young days there was a traveling shoemaker who came every year to make shoes out of hides tanned by the settler. These men were called "Sons of Crispin".
Ezra was a good living man and a staunch Presbyterian. This faith was the ruling force in his household. From the oldest to the youngest they attended Church every Sunday morning followed by Sunday School, another Service in the afternoon and one in the evening. No one was allowed to work on a Sunday except for absolute necessities such as milking cows and caring for the animals. All meals for Sunday were prepared the day before. All reading except for the Bible and religious literature was strictly forbidden.
An event in the lives of the women of the house was the arrival of the traveling seamstress who brought the tools of trade with her. The bolts of cloth from Ottawa or Montreal were made into serviceable clothes for the whole family. There was no accent on style. All they had to be was comfortable.
Schooling was of a rude kind compared to today. The scholars attending for the greater part in the winter months, as they were needed at home from spring to late fall. Paper was scarce and the slate came into it's own. The majority of parents considered fourth and fifth grades enough schooling. Most of the teachers or Masters, as they were called then, believed in using the rod and did not spare it.
Not all was work, Church and school. The young people took every advantage possible for fun from Building Bees, Apple paring Bees and Maple sugaring time, besides picnics and other gatherings. Even at Church a young man could find a way of catching the eye of a young lady he admired and find a way to meet her afterwards for a few delightful moments, all the more enjoyable as it was so hard to come by.
The Paring Bees were attended exclusively by the youth of the neighborhood, with proper chaperoning. The boys brought their own homemade paring machines. They worked in a large kitchen where the Bee was held. The boys tossed the peeled apples to the girls who caught them and completed the work. This was followed by a good old-fashioned country hoedown. If the folks of a particular home objected to dancing, a series of games were resorted to which consisted of the giving and receiving of forfeits, which introduced the penalty of kissing. This was frowned upon by the chaperones.
Maple sugaring was another pleasurable time for the youth of both sexes. John Carmi often described these times with relish and gusto, reliving his memories of those long ago days. He was a good storyteller and his children often begged him for the same stories over and over again.
He described the huge sugar camp used every year, the sap troughs and the blazing campfires. There were the social incidents too, during the work and after it was over. Sugaring off was a happy time for the young people. They had a chance to become better acquainted and many a young swain found his future wife at the sugar maple camp. The dance or hoedown, held after the work was finished, was the highlight. John told his daughters of a dance he attended after a "Sugaring". He arrived at the dance with a group of other young fellows and they lined up near the door so they could eye the girls coming in and make up their minds which girl to choose. John made up his mind in a hurry as he spotted a pretty maid among the others. He turned to his companions and said, "Boys, I think I’ll go for Annie!" He would grin and wink at his daughter Annie while relating the incident.

John was apprenticed to a Butcher for a time after leaving home. He also worked as a Blacksmith and became very efficient at both these trades.

When he was twenty-four years old he married Christine Catherine MacLeod on December 30, 1896. Christine's people were also of United Empire Loyalist stock.

John and his wife made their home in the village of Casselman where he had opened up a cheese factory. Martinus Casselman, a distant cousin from the Warner line, founded the village. (There is an article about him farther along in this story).

John's wife was expecting her first child when the terrible fire of 1897 wiped out all but two buildings, one of which was the Ezra Casselman home and the other, the Railway station. John's home and factory were burned to the ground.

It was the morning of October 5th. Smoke was blowing like a great cloud over the town but none of the people, including John, realized the imminent danger of their position. He went to his factory as usual but by noon he realized the peril coming swiftly and relentlessly towards the village. He immediately dropped what he was doing and rushed home. Hitching his team to the buggy, he threw in a few necessities, and took a few precious moments to throw a few pieces of furniture into the middle of a green cornfield. Then he and his wife jumped into the buggy, racing ahead of the fire. 

They returned after the fire and learned their fate. After finding other accommodations in St. Albert, the baby was born. It was a boy and they named him Albert. He died soon after birth. The next child was a boy whom they named Pember John, born in 1898. Another boy arrived in 1899, and received the name Gordan.

Pember and Gordan both served in World War I. Pember died in France of war wounds in 1918. Gordan survived the hazards of war to return to Canada and marry Hattie Karl. They made their home in Kingston where he worked for the Postal Department for many years until he retired. They had two sons, Albert and Clayton. Both of them are now married and have children of their own. They live in London, Ontario.

To return to the life and times of John Casselman and his wife, great sorrow came to the family when Christy, as her husband and family called her, contacted the dreaded killer disease of the time, tuberculosis. It was a fast moving virus known in those days as galloping consumption. There was no known cure. Christine was bedridden and John had to have someone to live in and look after her while he was at work. He hired a French Canadian girl but Christy could speak no French and the girl could not speak English. The situation was impossible. He searched for an English girl but it was futile. At last in desperation, he accepted his sister Caroline's offer to come to his aid. Christine died within a short time. Soon after, Caroline became ill with T.B. and she also died. Needless to say John was grief stricken.

He was also terrified and not without good reason. He knew he might have contacted the virus. Dry fresh air and out-door living might cure him if this was so. He sold his possessions, left his wee children with their maternal grand-parents, and headed west to British Col­umbia. The year was 1901. John saw his two sons, his mother, father and brothers and sisters (all but two brothers) only once again during his lifetime. They took no part in his future life in the west.

 
PART V

In a rich and busy mining region in British Col­umbia, lived John Casselman's uncle, Alfred Asaph Cassel­man, who had started a ranch near the small Hamlet of Boundary Falls. He raised mules for the miners.

There were three smelters in operation within a forty mile radius. One at Boundary Falls, one at Greenwood and the other at Grand Forks. The city of Phoenix was at it's peak, shipping ore to the smelter at Grand Forks. The Province mine, along with several other small mines, supp­lied the Greenwood smelter and the Lone Star and No. Seven mines sent ore down in large over-head ore buckets to the smelter at Boundary Falls.

John arrived at his uncle's ranch in 1901. Prospectors and miners swarmed all over the area looking for a strike. John was caught up in the excitement and went pros­pecting with an American miner. They went up a small creek named after two Norwegians who had taken $75,000 of placer gold out of it several years before. The creek was known thereafter as Norwegian Creek. After prospecting for a time, he and his new friend found a rich ledge of gold ore. Both were elated at the find. The American was jumping up and down with joy when he fell. The course of the creek follows a narrow valley with gorges here and there where it flows over a series of small falls. The footing was treacherous. He broke his leg and received other multiple injuries. John packed him out of the hills to where help could be sought. He stayed with his friend for awhile, waiting for him to recover. Winter came on and the American died.

The mountains of British Columbia were a far cry from the terrain John had been used to in his Eastern 'home and, being a newcomer, he was not at all familiar with them. He went back up the creek in the spring and searched for 'the spot where they had found the gold but his efforts were un­successful. He always maintained it must have been a slide which covered the area and prevented him from finding the spot. Whatever it was, periodically he took a day off to look for it, sometimes taking his friend, George Watson with him. He was still half-heartedly searching for it in the last years of his life when the family moved to the ranch on McCarren Creek. 

After the American died, John built a house for a friend in Boundary Falls. The-house is still in use to­ day but it is in a dilapidated condition. He worked for a time at the Boundary Falls smelter as a blacksmith.

There is an incident here to record concerning John's ability as a blacksmith. Many years after John's death

one of his daughters met by chance, an old gentleman from Ontario, who was on a trip out west to relive old memor­ies of his early years spent in the Boundary country be­fore he passed on. He had worked with John in the same smelter. On being questioned, he said, "Yes, I knew John Casselman well. He was the finest blacksmith I ever knew. He could take a piece of iron and before you knew it, he would turn out a first class implement, and that was away back in 1904!"

The old gentleman told her he had returned east in1904 and never saw John again. The old fellow was delight­ed with this chance meeting and invited her to his home in Ontario to stay as long as she cared to. "I can't wait to tell my son and his wife about this. Imagine meeting the daughter of an old friend after all these years!" This incident happened in 1952.

In the fall of 1905, Asaph Casselman made out his will and named John as one of the Executors. The next spring John decided to try his luck in the Yukon. He was well on his way when word caught up with him his uncle had passed away. He came back to Boundary Falls immediately. After the Estate was settled he went back to his blacksmithing job at the smelter and gave up all thoughts of the Yukon.

He stayed with this job long enough to make a trip back east in style. He was anxious to see his sons and his own family. The year was 1908.

The day before taking the train east he walked into the Boundary Falls Post Office and there, standing in line for her mail, was a pretty little dark-haired girl. He stood for awhile observing her and then moving directly in line behind her, he decided to give her a gentle poke in the back. She turned with a startled look of inquiry and John found himself looking into two deep blue English eyes.

Author's  note.

An item of interest was taken from the Greenwood Ledger 1913

While hunting for birds near his home, John Casselman shot and killed a deer using No. 6 bird shot, considered a remarkable feat in hunting circles.

 

 
 

 THE BURKMARS


PART I

            The history of Britain is so varied and interesting it is difficult to determine what, and what not, to include in this brief summary.

 

            The Kymri tribes from the southern and eastern countries of the Mediterranean first settled it. They did not come to the British Isles directly but slowly migrated across Europe.

            Keltic, (Celtic) invasions began in the fifth century B.C. and brought the bronze age to Britain. These invasions lasted until 75 B.C. The Angles or Engles brought the plow and the coining of money. They also brought a method of enameling unknown to the continent of Europe and it was at this time a brisk trade began with their neighbors to the south.

            Their Religion was Druidism. They believed in one God and the immortality of the soul. The Druid Priests built Altars under great Oak trees which were called "Holy Places". These Priests were Astronomers and also practiced herbal medicine. They sacrificed on the Alters as did their ancestors from the time of Abraham.

            Many today believe they practiced human sacrifice. These beliefs, (fostered by Papal Rome) have proved false. Archaeologists, after much digging at these old sites, have not found one human bone.

            The Roman Empire invaded Britain in 55 B.C. and their rule lasted for nearly four centuries. The Romans were never able to force Roman Laws or Roman language on these stalwart and stubborn people.

            Many place names and parts of old Roman roads, as well as some influence of their architecture, can be seen in England today.

            After the Romans left, the Angles again began to settle on the Island. This time the Saxons and Jutes joined them. The Angles were the most numerous. The old laws and culture revived and the Island became England, Wales and Scotland. Incidentally, Wales, owing to it's inaccessibility, was never conquered by Rome. Its people are the remnant of the early Britons. Their language with few vowels is said to be one of the oldest in the world and closest to the Hebrew spoken in the time of Moses.

            England, after many Kings, many internal and external wars and Empire building, became a great power and so remained until the first World War when it began to decline and become what it is today.

            England is called the Mother of Parliaments for, through her struggles down the centuries for good and just laws, they became the model for the Western world to base their laws on.


 

PART II 

 

The name, Burkmar, "is the end result of many" related names. From a dictionary by P.H. Rheany we learn of Brimmer, Britmar, Brightmer, (Norfolk) Brykmare, (Assize rolls) Beorhtmaer, (old English). A common name in the Domesday Book, Brykmar and finally, Burkmar.

 

            In an attempt to write of the Burkmars we are faced with two versions, namely:

            They are of English origin....

            They are descended from Spanish Jews....

            Whoever reads this can chose their own version. The writer is inclined towards the Jewish theory. The Burkmar facial features and their characteristics are very Jewish. There are two stories handed down which tend to confirm the Jewish origin.

            One story tells of a Jewish gentleman from Spain, before the great expulsion, who had accumulated wealth and position and earned the title of ‘Don’. He sent his son to England on a business matter and while there the son fell in love and married an English girl. He never returned to Spain. The Jews did not take kindly to intermarriage and he was more than likely disowned. His descendents became the Burkmars…

            Another story is told of the Burkmars settling in England at the time of the Spanish expulsion from Spain.

            More recent incidents also point towards the Jewish connection. In the late 1800's and the early 1900's, the people passing by the Burkmar home in London, would make the sign of the cross. A definite sign in those days they considered the residents Jewish. Florence Burkmar said, when she was a girl, her grandmother used to refer to her daughter as the little Jewess. Florence's grandmother's name was Isabella Maria, a common Spanish name used by the Burkmars through their generations. The truth, or perhaps it should be said, the evidence of truth is lost in time and will remain a matter of conjecture.

            After several hundred years of living in the British Isles they would soak up English ways and traditions and become more English than the English, as the saying goes. They also would have intermarried with the English many times down through the years. They became Anglicans in the process.

            In the England of the middle 1700's appears the first Burkmar of whom there is a known record. His name was William, born in 1735. His wife's name was Sarah and he had a brother named Thomas. William sired five children. One of them was William Aldridge born in 1770. He was christened at St. Botolphs, without Aldgate, London, England. He married Mary Ann Blackhall and they had five children, one being Joseph who was born in 1814 and was christened at Bermondsey, St. John's Church, Horsely Down. He was registered in the District of St. Claves, County of Surrey. He married Isabella Maria Moore at Christ Church Cathedral, 27 Blackfriars Road, London, on June 29th, 1836. She was christened at Bermondsey in the same Church as Joseph.

            Joseph was a good-looking man, sturdy and upright though not overly tall. Isabella was considered a fine looking woman in her day.

            Joseph held several different jobs. He was a Lighterman on the Thames. A Lighter is a barge that loads cargo from ships and delivers it to shore and vice versa. A cargo was called Lighterage and the barge operator, a Lighterman. After working for a time at this, he quit and became a journeyman cooper. He did well at this trade and saved enough to buy an antique store. This was his last endeavor.

            Joseph and Isabella had nine children. A son, Edward, became a lawyer and a daughter, Isabella Maria, married a banker by the name of James Moore. She was considered to be a great beauty like her mother and by her picture one would have to concur. Another daughter, Eliza Mary, married Thomas Clark and moved to British Columbia, Canada.

            Thomas Samuel, familiarly known as Samuel or Sam, was the fourth child of the family, and became a direct ancestor pertaining to this narrative. He was born at No. 5 Freeman's Lane, District of St. John's, London. Registered in the District of St. Olaves, Southwark, County of Surrey. No record of his christening is available.

            As a young man Samuel spent a period of time in the south of England for it was there he saved 17 lives from drowning off the Cliffs of Dover. He received the keys to the City of London for his heroism. Later in life, he saved an East Indian from drowning and also a young girl at Eastbourne from the same fate. For this he was made a Freeman of London.

            Strangely enough, he was a Life Guard for a number of years and never had to cope with another drowning incident.

Samuel married Annie Eliza Cousins. Annie Eliza was born at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, but moved with her parents, while still young, to Eastbourne. Stonehenge was considered to be "The Holy of Holies" of the Druids. Today the theory of its origins is controversial.

            Annie is thought to be of British Anglo-Saxon decent. She was a pleasant appearing girl, rather thin and spare, not inclined to stoutness as were the Burkmars.

            Samuel and Annie lived at 55 Tanner St., Horsleydown. They had eight children, seven born in England. They both owned and operated small shops, he a second-hand store in Fair St., London and she, a corner grocery.

            They were middle-class people and lived in a rather fine house with a curving stairway leading to the bedrooms upstairs. Besides the dining room, kitchen and scullery, there was an everyday parlour and a best parlour, both with fireplaces. Each parlour had a piano, the one in the lessor parlour for the girls to practice their music lessons. The other parlour was strictly for guests. It had a lovely marble clock on the mantle flanked by two bronze candelabras.

            Samuel had a fine tenor voice. He loved music and many of his friends were Music Hall singers and actors. These people were often guests in his home. Through his association with them, he started to drink. Gradually, as he imbibed more and more, it started to affect his home life. As the drinking progressed he became violent. The children secretly watched these parties from the curve in the staircase where they peeped through the railings.

            They were careful not to get caught as punishment was swift. Samuel was complete master in his own home.

            It was a common custom in those days to show open favor for the eldest daughter and son. The other children accepted this but were often resentful.

            Christmas was not a time for Santa Claus and presents. They were lucky if they received an orange each. Usually there was a roast goose for Christmas dinner.

            The father was always served first at meals, receiving the choicest morsels. This was not peculiar to the Burkmar family but was thought fitting and proper in most families.

            The main dish for dinner was sent out to public ovens. This chore was delegated to one of the girls. Children, at all times, were to be seen and not heard.

            Samuel continued to drink heavily until he lost his shop and also the one belonging to his wife. A woman had no rights in those days and anything they owned was automatically the property of the husband as soon as they were married.

            The temperance movement was gaining much strength in England around this time. Samuel came home one night in a drunken state and heaved the marble clock off the mantle along with the two candelabras. The clock was shattered beyond repair. It was then he woke up to his plight. His remorse was great. He took his wife in his arms and told her he would buy her another and better clock. He went out the next day and, as he put it, "Jumped on the Temperance Wagon." Never again did he cause suffering to his family by drunkenness.

            His next position was a responsible one. He became a bonded Policeman on Colonial Wharf. He worked at this until he made the decision to move to Canada.

.           While working on Colonial Wharf, he kept a black notebook which has many entries referring to happenings on the wharf. A few of them might be of interest to the reader. The note-book is now in the possession of his grand-daughter, Mrs. Caroline Love of Penticton.

 

Friday 20th, August 1897

 

            At 6:50 A.M. I saw one of the sailors of the ship, "City of London" come from underneath the jetty, up the 'yard with a handbag. I asked him what he had got. He said only tobacco, which he took down to Mr. Mattwood on a previous occasion, that he lost his tobacco by the ship workers the same day. I saw Mr. Barratt return after all had left, enter Granite's Wharf, go to the end of the jetty. As he came back, I bid him good evening. He said there was a dispute about a loop-hole open in the wine department. He asked me to have a drink of Port, which he had in his pocket. I told him that I did not drink so I did not see the bottle. 

 

Thursday 17th April, 1902

 

I, Thomas Burkmar, saw a curly-headed man come up from the forehole with a bundle of trowsers and hand them to another Frenchman who took them down the forecastle. I informed Mr. Robinson. I, at once went on board the ship and a sailor came from the forecastle and told the man down the forehole something in French. I then descended to the forehole and saw two sailors, one on each side of a bale of clothes. They at once got up and pretended to examine the steam steering gear over their heads. I told them I was too quick for them. There was another bale that had been cut open. I brought the goods on deck and then put them into Mr. Smith's charge. I then went to the forecastle and asked for the trowsers that I saw go down there. They pretended not to understand me. Mr. Robinson sent for Mr. Mulkearn and he interpreted my accusations to them. They still pleaded I was wrong. I told them if they did not give them up, I would send for more Police. In the meantime, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Mulkearn went on deck. I continued to search. At last, in a cubby hole quite up in a corner of where I was searching, they got the things and gave them to me. From the forecastle and the forehole I

got 19 things in all. I informed Mr. Robinson. He was with me to the last........

 

 
 

 

            As a sideline, Samuel dealt in antiques. He possibly learned a lot about this from his father, Joseph, whom you have already learned, owned an Antique shop. There are entries in the same black notebook, on china, coins, and paintings. Several old coins are listed by date and worth. One was a Queen Anne farthing, 1713, which fetched 28 pounds 10 shillings at Christies.

 

He explains the difference between makes of china and details the marks on the bottom and their meaning and age. He mentions Derby, Wedgewood, Royal Worcester and plain Worcester. He also noted down the costly Serves from France and adds; "the name of which no English speaking tongue can pronounce."

            He must have done some wheeling and dealing in the Arts at this time as he lists the names of over 200,artists from Europe, including sketchers, etchers, and all the famous oil painters.

            Samuel had a mind like a steel trap. Nothing in his sphere of action escaped him. He was a short man, rotund about the middle, with a full head of hair and a thick beard which he wore in a point, similar to King Edward of England. His features were very Jewish. He was close with money although he could be generous when it suited him.

            In 1904 while he was still working on Colonial Wharf, his second daughter, Isabella died. The cause was given as an ulcerated heart. Isabella had been a champion swimmer and took part in many Swim Meets. It was thought the excess swimming caused the ulcerated heart. She was 16 years old.

            After the death of Isabella, the third daughter began to decline. Florence Lilian had never been very strong. After many periods in hospital, the Doctor advised Samuel and his wife, they would be wise to seek a different climate and recommended Canada. They took his advice and preparations were made for their departure. Samuel's sister and her husband were already settled on a ranch in British Columbia and that was their destination.

 

PART III

 

            The Burkmar family booked passage on the Cunnard Line and on July 15th, 1907 they boarded the Steamship, "Lake Manitoba". It took them ten days to arrive in Canada. Then they traveled six days by train to Kootenay Landing, B.C. From there they boarded the paddle wheeler, Moyie to Nelson. The last leg of the journey was by Kettle Valley Railroad to Midway. It was August 1st, 1907.

 

            Their first few days were spent with Eliza and Tom Clark who had a two story log house on their Norwegian Creek ranch. The Clarks had a large family so Samuel wasted no time looking for a suitable house for his family.

            Unfortunately Samuel was unacquainted with the severe Canadian winters. He rented a frame house close to the bridge at Boundary Falls. Winter was soon upon them and snow lay deep on the ground. The house was not insulated and when the temperature reached 40 degrees below zero they suffered severely from the cold. They huddled together around the wood stove at night for warmth.

            Uprooted from the largest city in the world, the family now found themselves in a strange, harsh and unfamiliar country and certainly must have had many misgivings and doubts about their decision to immigrate.

            Samuel was always a man of action. He set out immediately to find a more suitable home. He found it on a small farm with a log house, across the Kettle River from Midway. They lived there for the remainder of their sojourn in the Boundary Country.

            A few days after their arrival in Canada, their daughter Florence met her first Canadian friend, Ethel Brown. Ethel lived on the next farm to where the Burkmars eventually moved.       Florence and Ethel were around the same age.

            One day Ethel came by riding bare back on her way to pick wild berries. She invited Florence to come with her. Florence accepted the invitation but refused to climb on behind Ethel as she had never ridden a horse. They proceeded along, with Florence walking behind. When they arrived at the berry patch, Ethel slid off the horse, gave Florence a bucket and started climbing up the hill. Florence had never climbed a hill in her life. She went down on her hands and knees and started crawling up the hill, grabbing at every bush. When Ethel turned and saw her, she let out a whoop of laughter that echoed across the valley. It was the beginning of a friendship, which lasted the rest of their lives. Ethel eventually married Florence's cousin, WaIter Clark.

            The climate did indeed, help Florence regain her health and within the first year of their arrival she blossomed out into a lovely young lady.

She found work at the Boundary Falls hotel as a waitress. A more bashful waitress would be hard to find. The smelter workers and the miners were a rough and ready lot. Her cockney accent was the main source of their amusement, and they teased her unmercifully.

            Two fellow workers were the McCurdy sisters, Tish and Tillie. An elder sister lived in Victoria as maid to a Member of the Legislature. She later, worked at Government House.

            Florence, as was the English custom, handed all her wages to her parents. In later years she admitted having a feeling of resentment but had no alternative as she was under 21 years of age and still under the jurisdiction of her parents.

            Boundary Falls was a very busy place. The smelter was in operation. There were three hotels and a number of boarding houses, a store, a blacksmith shop, livery stable, Post Office and railway station with Agent. There were numerous residential houses. The Power Plant below the falls had been built a few years before and a pipeline made of wooden staves snaked along the cliffs and hillside downstream where it connected to the Plant. The Plant was built of concrete blocks, much like the ones of today but a trifle smaller.

            Florence met Emma Watson at Boundary Falls around this time. They also became lifelong friends. Emma and her husband George moved to Penticton in the "Twenties" where they did very well in the orchard and fruit growing business.

            Florence's third lifelong friend from the Boundary area was Anna Nensell. The Nensells bought the Asaph Casselman ranch after his death and were well established by the time the Burkmars arrived.

            To make a short detour from this narrative, the following is an account of how the Nensells acquired the ranch as told to the author by Anna (Nensell) Boltz.

            The Nensells immigrated to Canada from Nebraska State in the U.S.A. They spent one winter on the bald Saskatchewan prairie in sixty below weather. Mr. Nensell decided there must be a better place in Canada to live. In the Spring he traveled west to find land in the Okanagan.

            Changing trains at Midway he had a two hour wait. While strolling around he met Robert Kerr, the Customs Officer.

            After chatting awhile he told Kerr why he was in British Columbia. Robert Kerr had married Ida, a daughter of Asaph Casselman. He was also an executor of Asaph's Estate.

Within the two hours he took Mr. Nensell to see the ranch and the deal was made. In due time the Nensells were living in the Boundary area.

            Anna was the youngest daughter. She married John Boltz who was also from Nebraska. John Boltz worked for Pat Burns as a cowboy and sometime sheepherder. John and Anna eventually inherited the ranch. The family still own it. Florence met her soon after she arrived at Boundary Falls.

            These three friends and their husbands remained friends of the Casselmans until their deaths.

            While working at the Boundary Falls Hotel Florence had an ardent admirer, a cowboy from Christian Valley, west of Midway. His surname was Madge. He was even more bashful than she was. When he came into the hotel his eyes would follow her around.      One day he found enough courage to ask her to go for a walk. She refused because the aroma of horses from his clothing repelled her. His hopes for romance were squelched on the spot. He was much too bashful to ever ask her again.

            Samuel and Annie Eliza's last child was born in July 1908. They named him Edward.    Florence was 17 years old.

            Her older sister, Lila was soon married to Arthur Restell in Midway and were to leave shortly for Victoria.

            Florence was still working at the Hotel in Boundary Falls but this was her day off. She decided to go for the mail. Changing into a fresh summer dress and sweeping her hair up on the top of her head, she formed a knot and secured it with hairpins, finishing it off with a small bow.

            Her shoes were black and very pointed with laced high tops in the fashion of the day.

            The mail was being sorted as she took her place at the end of the line. She was not there long when she felt a gentle poke on her back. She turned around and found herself looking into the admiring warm brown eyes of a stranger. He tipped his hat and bowed saying, "How do you do? I am John Casselman". Confused, she dropped her eyes and blushed. She knew she should rebuff this informal advance of a stranger but when she raised her eyes again she found herself smiling at him instead. She told him her name. He walked with her as they left the Post Office for home. During the walk he told her he was leaving the next day for Ontario to visit his motherless sons and his relatives. He said he would be back in about six weeks and asked for permission to call on her when he returned. She gave her consent.

            That was the first meeting of John Carmi Casselman and Florence Lilian Burkmar.

 



Memoirs of Mrs. Emma Gertrude Casselman Brisbois

(May 1, 1884 - December 29, 1973)

Forward by Dr. G.A. (Ken) Paterson

"I don't profess to be a genealogist, but I do feel that the memoirs of Gertrude Emma Casselman Brisbois as presented to me by her granddaughter Gertrude Baldwin of Mississauga will prove as interesting to your readers as they did to us on first reading," says Dr. G.A. (Ken) Paterson of Toronto in a letter to CG prefacing this account.

"My wife, Cecile Riddell Paterson is the granddaughter of Gertrude's sister Alice. Because of an error in the relationship between Ezra and Martin S. Casselman in the manuscript, however, the members of the Brisbois clan in attendance at the 2,000-strong Casselman reunion in Morrisburg in July, 1984, had difficulty locating themselves on the 90,000-name genealogical chart presented by Chas. Pester of Brockville to the gathering. This is my interpretation of the relationship, with some assistance from Clarence Cross of Chesterville:"

Capt. Suffrenus UE, KRRNY (1) 1737-1819

Suffrenus U.E. KRRNY 1767-1828
Martines S. 1805-1881
m Mariah Mark U.E
Wilhelmus U.E KRRNY 1758-1843
Michael W. 1801-1860
Michael Ezra 1842--1930

'Ezra's father and Martin were first cousins, and Ezra and Martin would be first cousins, once removed.'

"The age differential in combination with a parental attitude and family closeness would make it easy to address Martin S. Casselman as 'Uncle Tyne. "It might be of interest to know that the memorial headstone for Martin S. Casselman has been removed from the neglected Protestant cemetery on the north side of the river and relocated on the main street of Casselman, Ontario in front of the Roman Catholic Church manse."

"Family donated the land for the church and cemetery to the parish. Another point of interest is that the Ezra Michael frame home is still occupied and standing guard at the town limit on the road to Ste. Isadore. The orchard, probably the first in the area, would be from the Macintosh 'sport' developed in Dundela, Matilda Twp in the year that Alice was born. She was born in a cabin on land leased by Ezra and Emma from Mr. Macintosh."

"Under the direction of Dr. John M. Casselman of Aurora it is the intention of the family to publish The Casselman Story using the archival material that has been collected by Clarence Cross of Chesterville, Ontario, Dundas County Archivist, and Lynne O'Brien of Morrisburg, Ontario, the Casselman genealogist."

"I am attempting to catalogue and duplicate all 19th-century photographic records of the family and if your readers know of any such material, I would greatly appreciate them letting me know. It would also be helpful if they can identify one or all of the individuals in their family portraits - full name, date of birth, marriage details, parentage, etc. This data will be invaluable to researchers 200 years from now. " Dr. Ken Paterson and Clarence Cross

Originally published in the Canadian Genealogist , vol.7, no.3, September 1985.

Supplementary note by Michel Casselman: "I have added photographs which relate directly to the text of Emma's autobiography discovered among my family archives, as Ezra Michael Casselman was my great grand-father, my grand-father being Alexander Asaph Casselman who operated a cheese factory in Crysler, Ontario."


Memoirs of Emma Gertrude Casselman Brisbois

Early settlement of Casselman village
Emma's large family
Emma marries Joseph Brisbois
Joseph becomes Station Master
Uncle Tyne rides the train to Ottawa
A Casselman ghost story
Alexander's marriage and family
About Clayton "Bull" Casselman
Fire destroys the village of Casselman
Ezra and Emma move to Williamsburg
Russell is thrown from the family mare
Ezra, the constable, makes an arrest
Christmas tradition in the Casselman household
Head cheese and sausages
Wading into deep water
Tuberculosis strikes the family
Carrie cut down in her prime
Alexander's butter factory in Crysler
Honouring Caroline's "Carrie" last wish
Brother John struck by lightning
Sister Sarah looses her first born
Update on other family members

My parents were United Empire Loyalists. Their names were as follows: Father-Ezra Michael Casselman; Mother-Emma Catherine Beckstead (maiden name). They were both born in Morrisburg, Ontario. Father was born 28 August 1842 and died 27 May 1930. Mother was born 27 May 1847 and died 5 August 1926. They were married in Waddington, New York on 18 October 1864. The name of the minister who married them was Rev. Lincolnfilter. Their parents opposed the marriage on account of their youth, so they went across the St. Lawrence River in a rowboat and were married.

Family of Ezra Michael and Emma catherine BecksteadNow concerning Michael (Grandpa Casselman), he left Albany, N.Y. and came to Canada, bought a farm in Morrisburg and raised his family there, five boys and two girls as far as I know. His brother1, Martin Lyne Tyne' Casselman, came with him, who married a girl named Mariah. He was very fond of hunting. He got the consent of a few strong men, some married, some single and they took off on a hunting trip fully equipped with all the necessary things they needed. They broke trail through thick bush full of wild animals, bears, wolves and all kinds of prey. When covering 75 miles, they came to a river obliterated with weeds and wild bushes, so they broke camp and chose a suitable place to sleep and rest. That was on the north bank of the river. They did a lot of hunting, killing a bear and other animals. Then, they decided to return home to Morrisburg. Great Uncle Tyne told his cousin, (Grandpa Casselman) the idea that he had in mind. 

He had found a place that would be suitable for a village and had the promise of many men from various places to work for him. He got the consent from the government to purchase the lands2 and in return sold his helpers parts of land for a song. At that time, mother and father were married just one year and a day when their first born arrived, my brother Walter. As time passed, Uncle Tyne built a log cabin home3 on the north bank of the river. The men were working like beavers cutting down the trees and floating them down the river to a sawmill in a little village called Lemieux where William Barrie was running the saw mill. In time, William fell in love with Uncle Tyne's eldest daughter Mariah, named after her mother, so they were married. By the way, Uncle Tyne had four sons and three daughters. The boys' names were Saxton, Major, Rolf and Fred and the girls names were Harriet, Josephine and Mariah.Martin S. (Tyne) Casselman 1805-1881

Well, in time father and mother left Morrisburg in a covered wagon and broke trail to the new place called Casselman which was founded by my Great Uncle Tyne. My parents lived with Uncle Tyne for some time. Mother helped Aunt Mariah. The women were very busy you can imagine, cooking for all the men. Then one day, Uncle Tyne gave my father 50 acres of land on the south side of the river4, and with help of some of the men, pitched in and built a log cabin for mother and dad. They really had a hard time with insects and built fires to keep the black flies and mosquitoes away. A few of the family were born in that cabin. Then father had a new home built. The rest of the family were born in that house.

Mother had 13 children, 6 girls and 7 boys. I was the eleventh child and was born on 1 May 1884 in the parlour of the new house which was not completed. 

    1. Walter Amos
    2. Alberta Alberta
    3. Alice Ardelia
    4. John Carmi
    5. Alexander Asaph
    6. Josephine
    7. Sarah
    8. Clayton Wesley
    9. Russell
    10. Caroline
    11. Emma Gertrude (narrator)
    12. William Ezra
    13. Stewart Henery

      The brothers and sisters which I have named here, have all passed away with the exception of myself, aged 86 years of age and my brother Stewart, aged 81 years, born 2 June 1889. We were well brought up, our parents both being good Christians. Family worship was held every morning just before breakfast. We would sing a couple of verses of a hymn, then father would read a chapter of the bible and explain it to us. Then, we would kneel and he would make a long prayer. While we children were taught to say the "Lord's Prayer', sometimes we would get impatient to start eating as most children do, as we were a healthy bunch. Most of the food came from the land and tasted wonderful not like the food we get today. My mother was one of the best cooks in the world and a real saint. I never heard my mother utter a swear word, made no difference what happened. My father preached in the Presbyterian Church and taught the bible class for 25 years. He wasn't ordained. When he retired, I was then seven years old. The village gave a party for my dad at that time and the new minister, Rev. McLean and his wife read the address to my dad. The room was filled with people and my dad was presented with a gold-headed cane with his name engraved on it. Also the date and year that he retired.

      I shall always remember that occasion. I was standing by the piano and the minister's wife had her arm around me. She was a wonderful person. There were many ministers sent from Ottawa to preach and attend to many things and they all boarded at our home. The last one was Rev. David Craig. His wife would spend vacation at our place in the summer holidays. She was a music teacher and gave me a term of lessons. I had already had one term from my sister Alice who was a music teacher. I loved to play the piano and my parents were putting me through to be a music teacher but it didn't turn out like that. 

      When I was 13 years of age, I met a French fellow by the name of Joseph Brisbois I cared for very much and finally, we fell in love. At the tender age of sixteen, we eloped at five in the morning and drove to the town of Berwick, Ontario and were married by Rev. W. Right. That was in 1900, 3 June, Wednesday. The reason why we ran away was because my parents wanted me to marry in our faith. They liked my husband. He was very clever. Well, my husband Joe' was working as a clerk in a store before we were married. My mother used to take me to his store occasionally to purchase goods. He told me later that he used to watch for me and decided that he was going to make me his wife. He was very handsome. In fact, I used to make excuses to go shopping so that I could see him.

      In 1901, my first child was born, a darling baby girl in the town of Chesterville, Ontario. As the years sped by, we had more children-that is natural. We never had the "pill" in those days (Ha! Ha!). Maybe that's why I'm living today. Anyway, here is a list of my children in order of birth, six boys and five girls, the first child being named after my dear sister Carrie. 

          • Carrie Thelma
          • Ada Louella
          • John Philip
          • Clayton Hector
          • Gordon Ezra
          • Stuart Michael
          • Wallace Joseph
          • Charles George
          • Mary Emma
          • Gertrude Albina
          • Nora Margaret

      At the time of our marriage, my husband, Joseph Brisbois, was a store clerk and looked after the Post Office at Sam Bingham's country store. After a few years, my husband took a telegraph course and passed his examinations in Ottawa. He was then a Station Master for many years. We moved many times. I gave birth to a number of children in C.P.R. stations, Plantagenet, Ontario; Bouchette, Quebec; Moose Creek, Ontario, etc. We were unsettled for many years until we decided to move to Mimico, Ontario where I have lived 60 years. My husband passed away in 1953 at the age of 76 years. I have been a widow for 17 years and enjoy very much good health despite the fact that I have had a very hard life with sickness, sorrow and the trials of raising such a large family but they are a credit to me. My greatest sorrow was losing my husband, a son Clayton and daughter Carrie. It was a very heart breaking experience for me but we all have to go, some sooner than others.

      When my great uncle Tyne founded Casselman, he had at that time thought the north side of the river would be a suitable place. But later on, he decided the south side of the Nation River would be a better locality. Previous to that, they had built a public school and when the railroad was put through the village, they built a railroad bridge over the river and a small station up in the bush6. The first train to run was the "Canada Atlantic". For some time this wasn't satisfactory. Then a station was built on the south side of the river where it stands today. They also moved the public school to the south side where the town stands today. When the news got out about this new place, it interested many people mostly young married couples who purchased land and boosted the population. They were of many nationalities. My father was a constable and looked after the business affairs of the village. 

      The town of Casselman is located 30 miles south-east of Ottawa in the County of Russell and Township of Cambridge. I had the pleasure of visiting my old home town a few years back and went through the house where 12 of the family [10] were born. It is in good shape and the farm pays well. I had a happy home life, carefree but suffered childhood ailments and met with few accidents that required a doctor's care, but life is not all sunshine. We have to take the good with the bad, sorrow and joyful times. I must mention that I also visited my Great Uncle Tyne's home that is on the north bank of the Nation River. It is a very large house built of stone. Many people have lived there from time to time.

      Monument dedicated to Martin Tyne CasselmanWhen the first railroad run through Casselman, Uncle Tyne wished to be the first to ride on it. He was old and not well but insisted to go to Ottawa on the freight train. The men secured an armchair on a flat car and Uncle Tyne took the trip to Ottawa enjoying the beautiful scenery. His family were all married except one girl and Saxton and Major left who settled in Riverside, California. They had orange groves and every year, they would send a crate of oranges to our home. Well, Uncle didn't last very long after the family had all gone. He then passed away. I do not know the date. By the way, I will mention here that Uncle had two names, Martin Tyne. Everyone called him Tyne.

      The Canada Atlantic Railway was the first for sometime. Then, the Grand Trunk took over and now, the C.N.R. runs through Casselman. They also built a vehicle bridge over the river. On the south bank was the Presbyterian Church and Uncle Tyne donated the property to the Catholic Church and Parish House. Then, close by was the separate school. The Grey Nuns taught there. Also, there was a Methodist Church. The village was prospering, 4 stores, Post Office, 2 hotels, barber shop and a tailor shop; town hall, dressmakers and milliners, tinsmith shop; also a couple of butcher shops and a flour mill near the railroad bridge, a brickyard and sash 2-door factory and many other conveniences such as a bakeshop, livery stable, carpenter shop and-a cheese factory. It was a wonderful village and I loved my old home town. I have many fond memories with my loved ones and friends. 

      Our home was full of activities. My sister Sarah was the life of the family and was always coming up with some unusual happenings. So what I'm about to relate, you may think unbelievable but nevertheless, it is the truth. A French woman, not far from our place, died and the grave was dug for her burial. I must mention that the Catholic cemetery was just beyond our apple orchard and garden. My sister wanted to play a joke on my brother Alex, and frighten him. He was courting his girl friend, Albina Marlowe who lived next door to the cheese factory that Alex owned. He was walking home about 11:00 p.m. one moonlight night and Albina's brother, Ozziash Marleau was with him. Sarah knew that they would be passing by the cemetery or would be walking through the cemetery. They came to the end of the sidewalk which ended by the cemetery gate and were chatting away, when suddenly, they noticed a white figure swaying up and down and wailing and moaning. It would rise up and down. Well, my brother was scared to death and Ozziash made the sign of the cross and ran all the way home leaving my brother alone. He didn't stay there long and likewise ran like the wind home which was nearby, landing in the kitchen almost headfirst. Ma was up and almost frightened out of her mind when she saw him. She yelled "What's the matter son!", for he was trembling and white as a sheet. He told her that he had seen a ghost and the whole gory tale. Well folks, Sarah was the cause of it all. She cooked up the bright idea, took a pair of white sheets, pillow sham and safety pins, robed herself with the white sheets and pinned the starched pillowsham around her head. She took a high chair with her and went over the fence to the grave, put the chair in the grave and stood on it, crouched down while waiting for Alex to come home. Just imagine seeing a white form bobbing up and down, swinging its arms and making terrible weird sounds. Its enough to scare the wits out of a person. 

      It was some time later that they discovered the truth but my brother was nervous for a long time after. Well, the funeral was held the next day for the woman I mentioned. In time, my brother married Albina. She was so pretty, blue eyes and golden hair. She was teaching school in Oxbow, Ont. My brother made cheese for a number of years after his marriage. Then he moved to Orleans, Ontario and continued in the same business. Finally, he quit the cheese making and started in the butter making business. He supplied quite a few companies and they are still selling in Ottawa markets under his trademark, A.A. Casselman.

      They had a family of five children, four boys and one girl, very clever children. Delisca was a music teacher and married a lawyer named Hubert Kenny. They lived in Detroit, where she gave music lessons to 50 pupils. Now, they have both passed away, as also two brothers who lived in Ottawa; her brothers, Hector and Hubert Casselman. Delisca had one son named Donald Kenney who is a lawyer following his father's vocation. 

      Paul Hubert, Aurèle, Alex Casselman, Stanley and Hector
       
      Photo of Delisca Casselman on her graduation.
      Delisca Casselman

      Pa and ma had a great deal of sorrow in their family but bore it bravely. My brother Clayton left home. He didn't mean to go so far away but he ended up that way. He was a blacksmith by trade and got as far as Grand Forks, British Columbia. He started up a shop there and worked for a number of years. He became tired of the hard work and started working in the Salmon Canning Company. Now, the workers had an Indian guide take them over the Skeena River which flows into the Pacific Ocean. Well, everything went well for a few years but one morning, there was a big storm brewing and the lndian was told not to run the boat across the river but my brother insisted that he wanted to go. He persuaded the guide to row the boat across, but, when almost there, the wind blew the waves mountains high capsizing the boat. They were both drowned. My brother Clayton was washed out to sea and was never found. The Indian's body was found on the shore. This was a big sorrow for my parents for Clayton was but 36 years of age. He was a wonderful son and was nick-named "Bull" Casselman by many of his friends. They named him "Bull" because of his strength. He and the boys would gather certain nights over Lucie's Barber Shop and play at Boxing and twisting wrists. My brother would always win. Out of all the brothers, only one helped on the farm and that was Walter. Pa had to hire other help.

      Walter farm in Joys Hill, ONIn time, my brother Walt bought a farm in the swale not far from Casselman, so my two sisters, Sara and Josephine, took turns keeping house for him. During the vacation time, sister Josephine would take my other sister Caroline with her for company for one month, then Sarah would take me for a month. We both looked forward to this. One day, we were all set to leave for the farm in the swale. The horses were hitched to the wagon in the yard and I was very happy and dancing around near the wagon, waiting for the folks to come out. Then, I started to climb into the wagon and when I got one leg in, the horses became frightened and started off. I fell on the steel hub bruising my hip very badly. I yelled and out came the folks. Maw said, "My dear child, you cannot go", but I made such a fuss and cried "I want to go!" Walter and Sarah said they would take good care of me and that night I couldn't sleep for the pain. Walter took me home the next day but I kept getting worse and finally couldn't walk. Pa got the loan of a pair of crutches which I used for a long time. Later, when I didn't improve, Pa sent a wire from the station to Dr. Munroe in Maxwell, Ontario and he came by train, examined my leg, shook he head and said that it would have be to lanced. It sure was an awful ordeal. The doctor remarked that if it had been delayed any longer that I would have lost my leg. Well, I'll never forget that experience and the pain associated with it. The marks are still visible yet. There was a great deal of discharge from that leg. Ma had to put many linseed poultices on it but in time, I recovered. I must have been a very healthy girl. I related all this later to my husband and added, "Would you have married me if I had lost a leg?" He replied, "Leg or no leg, I'd have made you my wife". (ha! ha!). 

      I must tell you about what happened at family worship one morning. We children were all kneeling near the big cookstove which had two oven doors, My brother Willie was next to me. He was full of the old nick. Our Collie dog named Rover was lying near the oven and thumping his tail. He was asleep so Willie got the bright idea. He reached out his hand. I knew what he had in mind and said in a whisper, "Don't do that", but he disregarded my warning. While Pa was making his usual long prayer, Willie gave the dog's tail a heck of a yank and you should have heard the ungodly howls of Rover. Of course, Pa said "Amen" in a hurry and exclaimed, "Good Lord! what has happened?" He soon found out to the sorrow of Willie who got a licking yelling, "Pa! I'll never do it again!"

      First church of Saint-Euphémie parish, village of CasselmanI will now relate about the disastrous fire that swept though Casselman. I was 10 years of age or 11 at the time. It was in 1894 or 1895, I'm not certain but it was terrible. The people thought the end of the world had come. The villge at that time was prosperous, most everyone were doing well. The schoolmaster took the pupils to the river and we all splashed water on ourselves. There were a number of people from the village at the river and we noticed one man who was an atheist standing on a rock and praying to God to save him. He had his request granted to him so he really believed in God from then on. There also were three men who denied the existence of God. I don't know what happened to them but hope they were saved. The bush surrounding the village was on fire, also homes and buildings were falling. The farmers came with wagons to help the people get away. Some of them had buggies and horses. Many farm houses were filled. Mother and father, my sister Sarah and a number of our family were taken to Mr. Tom Racine's home. The house was filled, improvised beds on the floor and all over. My father was being comforted by sister Sarah while mother was being taken care of by the good women. Paw had previously met with an accident and was groaning in pain. Sarah kept applying cold cloths to his forehead. Well folks, guess what happened when the fire had burned its way through Casselman. One house was standing and that was my parent's home, the barn, grainery, big wood pile, even the posts that held the clothesline, also the apple orchard and the fences weren't burned. It was almost unbelievable to see my home standing. It looked wonderful painted white with green gables. Some time later, the people came to view the terrible sight. Two Grey Nuns who had been teaching in the convent before the fire, were overheard to say while u looking at our home, "The good God has blessed Mr. Casselman's home". It sure it was a miracle. Uncle Tyne's house is still standing but it was high up on the north bank of the Nation River. Time passed on and the sound of hammars (sic) and saws were heard all day. Most of the people were determined to rebuild their homes again. While this was going on, the village had dozens of tents. It looked like an Indian settlement. Now, the churches are built of brick and many others also. I guess they weren't taking any chances of another fire. 

      Not far from the village was a sad scene. A mother and five children were found burned to death. She, the poor soul, took refuge in the bush, the worst thing she could have done. So Dad had to investigate, he being a constable. There are many things that I could relate but it would take too long. The people found 15 hogs that were burned to death at Mr. Coupel's Flour Mill near the railroad bridge. The hogs were heading for the river but got caught in the wire fence near the water. It didn't require a stove for that roast pork. Maybe, some poor hobo got a free snack out of that calamity. But all jokes aside, it was awful. Many people responded from all over the country to the call for aid. Ottawa sent food, money and helped in many other ways with bibles and hymn books, etc. Also, Uncle Tyne's children who lived in Riverside, California, sent boxes of clothing and crates of oranges. His grandchildren sent aid also. I never met them. By the way, Uncle Tyne and Aunt Maria were my godparents and Reverend Cameron christened me at home in the parlour, same room where I was born.

      When the family were all married, my parents sold the homestead and went to live in Williamsburg, Ontario just about six miles from Morrisburg, Ontario where they were born. They resided there until their death and are buried in the village cemetery. My brother Walter also bought a small farm and passed away in the same place. It is an old saying that every second house has a Casselman living in it (that is, Morrisburg, Ontario). 

      Boundary Falls Smelter, Britsh ColumbiaI have many relatives scattered throughout the world. I received a letter in April, 1970 informing me that a Casselman reunion would be held in August 8th and 9th of the same year in Boundry Falls, B.C. on my Uncle Asaph's Ranch. He is father's youngest brother but has been dead for many years. My brother John's daughter, Caroline Love, who is married to a Pentacostal minister sent me the invitation and to extend it to my family. She lives in Penticton, B.C. They expect two or three hundred to come and are barbequeing a whole steer. The grandchildren are painting and getting the old house prepared for the big event.

      My brother John lived in Boundry Falls for a number of years, then he moved to Greenwood, B.C. He had a large family, three by his first wife. Then five years later, he married again and had ten more. As far as I know, they are all living. It would be wonderful for me if I could make it, but I'm too old now. What a pity! 

      There are quite a few things that happened at home. We had cattle about a block from the house in the field. I Photo of Russell Casselman who moved to Manitoba.seemed to be Johnny on the spot when something unusual happened. I was skipping and feeling happy at the time, out in the yard when my brother Russell took the horses out to the well. It was late in October. There was "Pink" the mare who was so tame. Well, Russell was on her back and galloping. He was going over a patch of ice when Pink slipped throwing my brother on the ground. He started to yell "Help!" I ran into the house and yelled "Come quick, Russell is dead!" That brought the folks out in a hurry. They picked him up and discovered his leg was broken. So Dad took him to the doctor where it was set. Russell went on crutches for such time that he could walk normal again. Now, I must tell you about the yearly bee making sourkraut at home every fall. The neighbours would gather with tubs to help mother wash the cabbage and quarter it. The brother Walter operated the plain cutting it. The shreds would fall into a large barrel. Dad knew just the right amount of salt to add. Then, they should stomp it with large wooden stompers. We children were allowed to stay up awhile and were reluctant when told to go to bed. Boy! that sourkraut was delicious. My brother Willie and I would sneak down the cellar and scoop handfuls of it in our hands and eat it. I sure wish I could have some now.

      In the fall, mother would have a party for the young people of the church. She would serve maple syrup, taffy and apples and home cooking. I will mention here that father had 200 acres of land on the north side of the river and a very large sugar bush with a log cabin where the sap was boiled down. It was a wonderful farm. Mother would pack a delicious lunch and take we children to the farm to pick raspberries. They were so plentiful. We kept together by using whistles to let Ma know where we were. We could have easily gotten lost if it weren't for those signals. I remember Maw telling us her experience that she had when living in the log cabin. She had five children at that time. She was out hoeing potatoes when hearing screams she rushed in the cabin. The children were up in their twin poster beds and yelling "Snake!" Ma wasn't long locating it. She grabbed an iron poker and soon made mincemeat out of that snake which measured over a yard and a half. Mother was a very courageous woman. She sure knew how to protect her children. 

      I remember mother telling us about my sister Sarah falling out of her highchair when she was a little child about two years of age. After the fall, she couldn't walk. It was sad to see the dear child in that state suffering pain. Aunt Mariah, Uncle Tyne's wife came to see mother and suggested a cure she had heard years ago. Well, this was it. Take the child wrapped up in a woolen blanket to the river every morning, dip her in the water just when the sun was rising. Paw and Maw did just that for nine mornings and the child was cured. It is only natural how this happened. When the water contacted the child, she stretched out all her limbs and straightened the spine -a good thing to know? She never had any touble with her back after that.

      I will mention about the guns that were hanging on six inch nails over the kitchen table. There were five of them. My brother Clayton's was a .22 rifle. One day, Pa was busy at his desk when heard a knock at the door. It was a stranger, evil looking one at that. My sister was quite young at the time but smart as a cricket. She overheard a dispute and suspected that Dad was having trouble so, she took the .22 rifle off the wall and went up the back stairs and came down the front stairs that was under the desk and Paw started to struggle with him. My brave sister, Alice, pointed the gun at him and Paw put hand-cuffs on him and took him to the jail which was in the basement of the townhall. Well, what do you think they found on that outfit? Matches, rings, necklaces and all sorts of things he had hidden in patches sewn on his pants and also in the cuffs.

      Pa had many ordeals, I remember he had to go to the next village called Lemieux and brought home a prisoner who was handcuffed. It was noon I remember and Ma served soup first course. Pa unlocked the handcuffs and the man started to eat but Pa didn't take any chances and he had his revolver near his plate. This man was charged with stealing cords of wood from his neighbours. I was scared stiff at the time. Ma was nervous also. I could go on and on about things that hapened but, if I did, my story would never be finished. 

      Christmas was a joyful time for all the family. The table was a very long one consisting of two wide planks or maybe three and required two table cloths. Mother would set the table the night before Christmas and put cards on all our plates with our names on, so Santa wouldn't overlook anyone. Then we would open our gifts. We always received a couple of useful ones as well as a variety of goodies. In the evening, we would gather in the dining room where a big Christmas tree was all lit up with candles and stars and ornaments with more presents around the tree. Sister Alice would play the piano, Christmas carols and many songs were sang. We also had games such as dominos, checkers and throwing sandbags through an opening in a wooden frame. We weren't allowed to play cards for Pa taught us that old Nick was in the cards and that they were the cause of many murders committed. He would never allow them in our home.

      When I was quite young, my sister Caroline shared the same bedroom as I and on a Christmas night, we could hardly wait for morning. On one occasion, I awoke just when dawn was breaking and noticed something sticking out of my stocking which was at the foot of the bed. Being nosy, I got up to inspect it. Well, of all the fuss I made over the big beautiful doll and a lot of other goodies. I guess I awakened up most of the family with my shouts of joy. Those were the best days of my life, young, healthy and happy. Sister Caroline was awakened with all the noise I made, so didn't make such a fuss but was happy with her gifts. She said to me "Let us be quiet so the rest of the family can rest." She was three years older than me. I was the baby girl, the eleventh child; brother Willie was next to me and then Stewart the last of our big family. He was the thirteenth child.

      Now I will relate about the slaying of hogs in the fall. As you know, farmers always provide pork for the winter. There was a stone fireplace in the yard with a big iron pot almost two yards wide. It was round and set in the middle of the stone structure. A board table was near it and brother Walter, with the aid of my other brother, would lead the hog to be slaughtered close by. When that ordeal was over, they would haul the hog up on the table and duck it in boiling water, then out again on the table. then they would start scraping the hide. This went on a few times until the skin was very white and clean. Then all the inner parts were removed and mother would make headcheese, also sausages that were delicious. I forgot to mention that we children were forbidden to watch this pork slaying ordeal but as the old saying is (curiosity killed the cat), we would hide in the apple orchard behind the fence and took in everything. They would quarter the pork and salt it down in barrels. 

      Those were very hard days for the housewife. Everything was home cooked and my dear mother worked very hard. We didn't have electricity or any of the conveniences they have today. We had oil lamps and it was my sister and myself's job to trim the wicks and clean the glass flues. Mother baked a big batch of bread twice a week and we children could smell it before we entered the kitchen when returning from school. We really did things we shouldn't have done. For instance, Bill would say, "Let's rest our bread on a pan of cream" that would adhere to the bread and I would do just that, then put sugar on it. Boy! did it ever taste good. When were were caught doing it, Ma would give us a licking with a strap she had and we would yell, "I'll never do it again Ma!" You see, it was pans of milk with the cream in it that Ma would skim off and put in a large jar to make butter.

      Now when I attended school, it was on the north side of the river. I had many girl friends and when the river was low, we would take our shoes off and stuff our stockings in them, tie the laces, put them over our necks and wade across the river. It was lots of fun. One day, my girl friend, Hilda Owens, suggested we go out in deeper water that would take us near the vehicle bridge which was very deep. We ventured out until the water reached almost to our hips, then all of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain in my right foot. I leaned on Hilda and pulled out a big hunk of glass underneath my big toe. The glass was part of a whiskey bottle some drunk had tossed into the water. I put my stocking on and away we scrambled up the bank to Mrs. Merkley's home near the bridge. She ran the post office and a little variety store. She was so kind to us and bathed my foot and put a cake of Recketts blue on it, that we used for blueing the white wash in those days. 

      Well, I am 86 years old now and must say I never heard of putting blueing on a cut, but she did just that and bound it up with white cotton. Then, her son, Sandy hitched the horse to the buggy and away we left for home. When we turned in the lane Pa was out on the veranda. He looked surprised and examined the foot and said "Man alive! What's this?". He had Sandy carry me from the buggy into the house. Dear mother was troubled and said, "Now, what has happened?" It seems I was always getting into something and causing my mother worry. Guess some children are born like that. Lots of other things happened in my life but it would take too long to write about all those things.

      Now, I must relate about the sad happening in 1901. I was married and living in Chesterville, Ontario and my first baby was two months old. I named her after my sister Caroline, who was always called "Carrie" for short. She was the only daughter left after I got married and she was engaged to Clayton Seymor but that marriage never happened because my brother was making cheese in St. Albert, Ontario and his home was nearby. My brother was married to a Scotch girl named Christine MacLeod. They had two boys, one three years old and the other child, not walking yet, little over a year old. His wife was expecting another child but she was dying with consumption contracted from years of suffering with catarrh. She took all kinds of medicine but to no avail. Time passed on, then she was confined to bed. In the meantime, my brother had hired a girl but it was a French settlement and he couldn't get an English speaking one, so they couldn't get along. 

      One night, after the cheese factory closed, my brother went to Casselman to see mother. He asked her if she could spare Caroline just for a few days until he could obtain an English speaking girl. So, Mother agreed to that. Little did our family know that our dear sister was going to her doom. She was only nineteen years old. John had a doctor come in from Chesterville to treat his wife and Dr. Drown took my brother to one side and said, "What is that girl doing here? Do you realize that dust is contagious?" My brother felt awful about that, so he took Carrie home and it wasn't long before she started to get sick. Pa had several doctors but they all said she would last only three months. She had contacted galloping T.B. Maw would write me, but didn't tell just how bad things were. I guess she didn't want me to worry too much for she knew we were dearly attached to each other. They always referred to us as the "Casselman twins." She did tell me later on, how she and Paw would at mealtime coax Carrie to eat but she only just tasted the food. This went on for a long time and it was heart rendering to watch their loving daughter fade away. Time passed by and she was confined to her bed which was in the first room at the head of the stairs. Ma was almost wom out going up and down so Paw put a single bed in the parlour which was more convenient for mother.

      My sister was resigned to her fate and never complained. Her bible which was presented to her by Pa at a Sunday School Picnic when she won a race was her constant companion. incidently, I have her bible and there are hundreds of places underlined that she enjoyed reading. She was wasting away very quickly and the day came when I received a message to come home if I wanted to dear sister alive. She kept asking for me saying "Has Gertie come yet?" Well, I got prepared and my Aunt Ada Casselman came for me. Her daughter Della was with her and also a young boy aged 16 years by the name of John Benton. This was in December 1901. -They landed in Chesterville, Ontario in a Berlin Cutter and, of course' the horse had bells on the harness. After we had something to eat and the folks got rested up, we started on our 75 mile trip to Casselman. I had my baby wrapped up in a big grandmother's shawl, so away we went. 

      The snow was very deep and we met with misfortune just as we were nearing the village of Crysler, Ontario. The horse got in difficulty going over a big bank of snow and the cutter turned over. When I realized what was happening, I tossed my precious bundle out in the snow, then, I fell out. I was glad that I had the presence of mind to do that, otherwise, the baby's life might have been snuffed out and that would have been tragic had I fallen on her. We stopped at a hotel and got warmed up, had lunch and then continued on. We finally reached our destination. The house was all lit up and we were greeted with much love from mother and father, also sisters and brothers and husbands took little baby Carrie and sat near the stove with the oven door open. She was warming her darling grandchild and calling her all the love names. The minister, Rev. David Craig was standing nearby. He smiled at me and exclaimed "It's almost unbelievable that you're the mother of a child." He always remembered me as a little girl for he had been boarding at our home for many years. When my sister was told that I was home, she was impatient to see me and the baby. It took all of my will power to keep from breaking down when I went to her bedside. My heart sank within me as I kissed her on the forehead. She gave me a beautiful smile, so happy to see me and when she saw the dear little baby named "Carrie" after her, she said, "Oh, what a sweet baby" and called her all the nice love names and made a big fuss over her. I will never forget it. You know its so sad to have someone leave you forever on this earth (but we all have to go when our time comes). But she was so young to die. She gave her life helping others. She also had a wonderful future had she lived. That's what we all thought anyway. I forgot to mention that it was Thursday night when we arrived home. Apart from the family, there were a few close friends keeping my parents and family company.

      A couple of days before she passed away, she called for Pa to come to her bedside and asked him to bring a writing pad and make note of what she wanted done. Her request was that when the pallbearers were about to take the casket out of the house, she wanted the hymn, "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" sung. Then, while in the church, she chose the following hymns, "I'm resting so sweetly in Jesus now, or I've Anchored my Soul in the Haven of Rest", also "Nearer my God to Thee". Then, she wanted the minister to choose for his text, "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son", also' "The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want". That was a sad ordeal for my dear Dad. This was on Thursday morning and the same night that I arrived at my parent's home. Friday night about midnight the end was near. She called for all of the family, each one separate. Ma first, and bid her goodbye and asked her to meet her in heaven. Ma said "Yes" and came out crying. Then, we all took turns to make the same promise and kissed her goodbye. When my turn came, I could hardly make it. My heart was broken, but some of the family said, "You must go in to your sister". I finally made it and kissed her goodbye with the promise to meet her in heaven. I have tried to keep my word, but there were times I fell short of it when sin and trouble and temptations assailed me, but my conscience would remind me of my promise. What a wonderful gift the Lord bestowed on we human beings and if everyone heeded their conscience, this earth would be a better place to live in. 

      Picture if you will, the sad scene in the death chamber. Rev. David Craig was standing at the head of the bed and Ma next to him. She had her arm around me and brother Stewart was near me. On the other side of the bed was Pa kneeling with Carrie's hand in his. The rest of the room was filled with all our loved ones. Then Carrie spoke and said, "Hark!, listen to the beautiful music". She was looking up at the ceiling of course. We didn't hear anything. Then a few moments passed and she said, "Climbing up the stairs, I'll soon be there". She also mentioned about all the angels on the steps. She repeated everything three times. Her face was lit up with happiness. Then suddenly, her face darkened and she called out in a loud voice "Filth! No, never, never, never!!" Then Pa spoke up and remarked, "See, the devil is fighting for her soul!" But she heard the heavenly music again and repeated, "Climbing up the steps, I'll soon be there!" The, she said, "The gate, the gate!!" Then, the last words she uttered was "Jesus". That's how my beloved sister passed away. I forgot to mention that she made Pa promise if they ever moved away from Casselman to transfer her remains to wherever they would be buried and that promise was kept. She is buried by Ma and Pa in Williamsburg, Ontario. A little over one year after she died, (Pa sold the farm in the year 1902).

      I will now change the sad story of my dear sister's death and will relate bout my brother Alex. He made cheese for years in Casselman. He was running another factory there. Then he decided to run a factory in Crysler, Ontario making caseine out of skim milk. Casselman creamery in Crysler, OntarioHe would ship this product to a Company who made handles for knives, forks and spoons which resembled pearl. They were very nice. Time went on and the business got too heavy for him although his wife kept the books for him. She was very clever. Then, he had a nervous breakdown. When he recovered, he quit the two factories. It was, as you know, horse and buggy days which took considerable time to get to the one in Crysler, Ontario. Then, he left Casselman, moved to Orleans, Ontario, bought a cheese factory and made good. He then changed to butter making for a number of years. His home was on the hill and his factory was in the valley. 

      One morning on Sunday, he remarked to his wife that he was going hunting wild ducks. Well, it wasn't the season for that, but he disregarded the fact and dressed in his hunting habit and left. When he didn't return at the end of the day, his wife phoned the O.P. police and they, in turn, got his son Hector to go with them. They hunted until near morning when they came to a creek, a green grassy mound. They found my brother lying about ten feet from the water. He had his gun on his right side and his hunting cap off his forehead, his shirt was open due to striving for air. Well, guess what? Lo and behold, when they opened his windbreaker, they found a wild duck. So, of course, Hector his son, identified his father. Telegrams were sent to members of our family to relate the sad news. I took the C.N.R. train from the Union Station, Toronto to Ottawa, then the bus to Orleans a distance of 19 miles.

      As I previously stated, the last request my dear sister Carrie wished Father to do was, if he ever moved away from Casselman, to have her remains removed to where he and mother intended to be buried. So, father kept his word in that respect. About one year or more after, he sold the homestead and moved to Williamsburg, Ontario just a few miles from Morrisburg, Ontario where he and mother were born. When the gruesome task took place, father had the help of his two son-in-laws, Jim Riddell and Ernest Chevrier. They took spades and went to the cemetery and dug up the coffin. Ernest, being curious raised the lid. He found the clothing intact and her hair seemed to have grown very long but she was just a skeleton. So, Ernest disjointed one of her index fingers and carried it in his pocket until he died. He showed it to most of the family. Now Carrie is buried beside Ma and Pa in the town of Williamsburg cemetery. They erected a nice grey tombstone over her grave. I have visited the cemetery quite often. This has been a sad story for me to write but nevertheless, every word is true. I have broken down and shed tears giving this account, but I have great faith in the "Man above" in that he has given me the ability to continue my story.

      Well folks, there are a few more happenings to relate, so here goes! As I previously stated, my brother Walter was the only one who helped on the farm so Pa had to hire help, He had one fellow named "Lefebvre" who would accompany him on hunting trips. Some of the people had seen bears near their homes and were afraid. So, Pa and his helper cruised in a rowboat near the river bank. They had bullseye lanterns strapped to their foreheads and kept very silent. Suddenly, Pa noticed two shining objects in the bush. He rose very silently and took aim between the two lights. Well, he hit the bear "Ker-smack!" between the two eyes. There was plently of excitement among the folks when they heard the news. They skinned the big bear and tacked the hide on side of the wood shed and tanned it with coarse salt or maybe some other method, I do not know. They had a process of their own in those days. That bear rug made a nice soft mat in our parlour for many years. 

      Photo of four generations of Casselmans My sister Alice was married to Jim Riddell who was a tinsmith. He put a 200 gallon tank in the back bedroom upstairs that supplied us with soft water when it rained. We had to be mindful to watch when it was full to turn the spout which was outside. One time there was quite a storm and my brother John climbed out of the bedroom window on the roof to turn the spout off and a bolt of lightning flashed. He received a shock and rolled down the roof and fell into the soft water barrel. Some of the folks hauled him out. He was badly shakened up and had a broken arm. Almost the same experience happened to my Dad. He had to turn the spout and climbed through the French window leading from the hall and he received a shock and fell off the roof of the veranda, a ten foot drop. He was badly bruised and was fortunate not to have any bones broken. It sure was hard going in those days, but we had the pleasure of soft water.

      My Dad was very set in his ways. We never saw our father come to the table at mealtime in his shirt sleeves. He always wore a coat, duster in summer and cardigan in winter. Ma always looked so nice. Her hair was black and she had blue eyes and always wore a clean white apron at meal times. My sister, Alice had five children. Her son, Arthur was a doctor and Mabel and Ethel were school teachers. One girl married a storekeeper. The other passed away. Her husband kept a tinsmith shop for many years in Casselman and Alice was organist in the church for twenty five years. 

      My sister, Sarah married a tailor, Ernest Chevrier, who had his shop until he died in Casselman, Ontario. They had a family of twelve children. Pa gave them a lot in the village and they built a bungelow and tailor shop. Well, a very sad thing happened to them. Their first child was a beautiful little girl named Alberta. She was four years old at the time. My sister Sarah was doing the washing that day. The door leading to the woodshed was near the stove, so my sister took the lids off and went into the shed for some wood. She put the boiler on the floor for just a moment and dear little happy Alberta was running back and fourth when she suddenly ran near the boiler and fell into it. Well, my sister lost no time grabbing the child and removing her clothing, treating her with first aid and sent for the doctor. Her skin was cooked and came off with her clothing, exposing her back bone. The doctor came and said there was no hope for the child. So Sarah sent for Pa and Ma and quite a few of our family came and spent most of the night with her. I'll never forget that, for it was in 1900. I wasn't married very long and had been visiting my husband's people in the next town of Lemieux. I had come up with the mail-man, Gaston L'Heureux who delivered the mail by horse and buggy. it was in the morniing when I arrived at my sister's house and little Alberta saw me from the window. She was so happy that I was coming to visit and yelled "Mommy! Mommy! Here's Aunt Gertie!" She was a beautiful child and had golden hair and blue eyes. Before she died, she wanted a boiled egg so her mother put cushions around her and shelled the hard boiled egg. She ate most of it and along near morning, she wanted water so Sarah gave her a glass of cold water. She put her little fingers in it and passed away. Pa remarked how soldiers, when dying, used to do the same thing. After the funeral, I stayed with my sister to comfort her but she cried most of the night. She and Ernest grieved over that sad occurrence for a long time.Russell's home in Erickdale, Manitoba

      Regarding my sister Josephine, she was a dressmaker and married Perry Beckstead who was a cheese maker. After a number of years, he gave that up and bought a farm. Sister Josephine was mother's helper and every weekend, she would do the baking, making pies and cakes. She was always ready to help someone. She was a little reserved at times but was a beautiful character. They had two children, a girl named Isabelle and son named Garfield. My brother Russell was a butter maker. He had a very large creamery in Eriksdale, Manitoba and turned out one thousand and twenty pounds of butter a day. He had a beautiful home with a summer and winter kitchen and also an office. He employed quite a few men. 

      My brother Willie ran a service station in Spencerville, Ontario. He married a nurse and they had two children, a boy and a girl. The girl lived a few years and passed away. The unfortunate part of it is that their little son died also. It almost broke their hearts for they were very fond of children. We mortals cannot understand why these things happen but we believe it to be "God's will" and we accept it.

      Now, in regards to my brother Stewart, he also was a cheesemaker but gave that up and worked for the American Locomotive Company for many years. He is retired now. He married an American Girl named "Leaphie" and they settled in Auburn, New York. They sold their home in Auburn some few years ago and bought a home in Florida where they lived for some years. Then they decided to move back to Auburn and are living there at the present time. He is not very well must now. He is 81 years of age and is very fond of music and art. He plays the violin and piano and also has painted some very good pictures. He has three sons, all married and doing well. The come to visit me most every summer. 

      In regards to myself, I do not travel anymore and am resigned to my home but the relatives still invite me to pay them a visit but I'm getting too old for that now. Just recently, I took very ill with the 'flu and was confined to bed for the month of November. My son, Charles, who is a railroader was off work for a month looking after me. He is a good son and a good cook also. I'm not back to normal health yet. Its the horrible cough that got me, thought sure it was the end for me, but God has spared me for some purpose. That 'flu is very hard on old folks and takes a long time to recover from it.

      Well, those of you who read this true story I trust will overlook mistakes for after all, I had but a public school education, just passing my Entrance. I'd like to emphasize the fact that everything I have written was from memory and also, that I'll be 87 years of age this May 2nd, 1971. There are many happenings I could relate, but I'm tired and if I prolong this autobiography, it would take a long time to finish it. Hoping those who read this account will get a little enjoyment out of it.


      NOTES

      1. Michael does not appear to have a brother Martin. Michael's will leaves homestead in Concession IV of Matilda and WI/2 of Lot 5 Concession V Matilda to George Hiram, Michael Ezra, Alfred Asip and John Henry; 25 acres. Saw mill in Williamsburg to William Ira, the eldest. Also provision for widow Laney and daughters Mary Ellen, Eliza A., Laney Ely and Alice A. - probably was a first cousin.
      2. About 4000 acres from Jessup for £2000 in 1834.
      3. Lot 10, Concession IV Cambridge Township, Russell County, Ontario.
      4. Lot 9, Concession VI Cambridge.
      5. Walter, (Alberta) and Alice Ardelia are living with family on Lot 9, Concession V Matilda in 1871 census. Across the road from Dundela Church.
      6. Apparently Martin gave the railroad $4000 to locate the railroad so that it served his property to better advantage.
      7. Recently Martin's headstone has been transferred from the Protestant cemetery on the north side of the river to a position of prominence in front of the Roman Catholic Church Rectory. Tyne had given the Diocese two acres of land for $1.00 on 26 July 1885.
      8. Misinterpretation.
      9. On Ste Isidore Road - Fifth (3) Line.
      10. Casselman Lumber Company dissolved in 1895.
      11. My wife's grandmother: Alice Ardelia Casselman Riddell, Dr. Arthur Ezra Riddell, Cecile Alice Riddell Paterson.
      12. Mabel Mullin Arthur Ezra Emma Ethel (Barker) Moose Jaw (deceased) (deceased) Servage Kingston Ont
      Reproduced from the Canadian Genealogist, Vol 7, No. 3, September 1985 
 


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