Thursday, March 1, 2012

Flash Family History -- Iles and Dudley

Each of their stories are 300 words or less.

Born in Naunton, Gloucestershire, England on 1 February 1885, my paternal grandfather, William George Iles, was the eldest son of George Iles and Emily Pugh. Because of the nature of his father's work as a bone and rag man, hawker and later a grocery carter, the family moved many times. His siblings were Edith, Alice, Ethel, Albert Valentine, Emmanuel James, Harold Edward, and Lillian Ruth. By 1900, the family was living in Small Heath, Birmingham, England.

William was employed with the railways. In 1903, he married Emily Lily Dudley. He immigrated to Canada in 1905 with his wife and young daughter, May, his mother and siblings. His father most likely came the previous year.

In World War I, William served his country with the 58th Canadian Infantry Battalion in France as a bandsman and a stretcher bearer. William was employed as a nickle-plater with the Empire Stove and Furnace Company in Owen Sound for 45 years.

William began playing cornet as a boy of 14 in England and he soon joined a Salvation Army Band. When he came to Owen Sound, he reorganized the Salvation Army Band and became its bandmaster. He also took over leadership of the Legion Band that eventually became the Owen Sound City Band. It is through his work with the brass bands in the city that he became best known. He taught many young people how to play a brass instrument.

William died in 1964.

William and Emily had at least ten children: Edith May, Iva Ella, Daisy Gladys, Clarence William Albert, Wilfred George Dudley, Harold Ballantyne (my father), William, Clifford Harvey, Emanuel Kenneth, and William Charles.

Allied surnames through the marriage of his sisters are Dyson, Fearnall, and Brooks. Allied surnames through the marriage of his daughters are: Litherland, Banks, and Barber.

Emily Lily Dudley was born in 31 January 1884 in Birmingham, England, to Josiah Dudley, a bricklayer, and Sarah Mucklow. Three siblings, Joseph Gilbert, Charles and Rose May, lived to adulthood.

In 1901, Lil's father died. Two years later, she married William George Iles, in the Register office.

Lily came to Canada in 1905 with her husband, baby girl, May, William's mother and his siblings. Her brothers had already immigrated to the United States. She left behind in England, her sister, Rose and her mother, Sarah.

The 1911 census shows the George and William Iles families living outside Owen Sound. What a contrast after living in the crowded city of Birmingham. The family moved into Owen Sound, a small town, where Lil lived the rest of her life.

Until her death, Lily was a member of the Salvation Army, but her husband and some of the boys left the Salvation Army to join the United Church of Canada. I have been told that she played the timbrel (similar to a tambourine).She was an active member of the Home League.

Lil was mother to nine who lived to adulthood: three daughters and six sons, with none living now. During World War II, five sons served with the Canadian Armed Forces. Fortunately, all returned home.

She knit baby sets and sweaters for her young grandchildren. She was grandma to over thirty grand-children. When she got older and her vision was getting poorer, grandpa wrote out the patterns on cardboard to make it easier for her to follow.

They celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary with a family dinner. In attendance were her six sons and three daughters, twenty-eight grandchildren and thirty-three great grandchildren.

In her later years, she became quite frail, but she still had the sparkle in her eyes. She died in 1967.

Too late for the COG, I  posted stories about my maternal grandparents.

© 2012 Janet Iles Print


  1. Woo hoo! Very nice piece of writing, Janet. You covered all the bases well. Thanks so much for taking up the challenge and writing for the COG!

  2. Well done, really well done! A lovely story.

  3. The beauty of good editing! Well done.

  4. Again, I am fascinated with these Flash Histories. I especially like to read of the Canadian connection -- close but also different from my family of immigrants. Great job, concise and colorful.

  5. I enjoyed the story of your families. You covered a lot in 300 words.


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