Tuesday, March 11, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #10 James Love

Around sunrise on Friday, 21 August 1914, a solar eclipse began. The people on Manitoulin would see it only as a partial eclipse. Did the Love family notice it as they began their day? Two days earlier Canada had declared war on Germany, Austria and Hungary.  [1] Would this recent news be on their mind or was their focus on what they were going to do on the farm that day?

James Love and son John had a hearty breakfast of potatoes and porridge and perhaps a protein source. They headed out to the barn to get the day's work started.

Around 8 a.m. Bessie, John's four year old daughter, heard the ringing of the farm bell. What was going on? Who was ringing the bell on the shed attached to her grandparents' house across the lane? It was usually rung to call the workers to meals and it was too soon as she had just eaten breakfast.

It was not good news; Bessie's grandpa had been badly hurt while working in the barn. Two slightly different accounts appeared in the newspapers that let us know what happened. The first is from an unidentified newspaper.
Caught by a wheel of the rack-lifter which was used to elevate the loads of grain, he was thrown through the end of the barn, and dropped a descent of twenty feet outside. The accident was caused by the rope which is drawn by horses to elevate the load, breaking when the load was nearly up in position. Mr. Love was apparently trying to get the dog in position in the cogs of the wheel, in order to check its rapid revolution, caused by the weight of the descending load, when he overbalanced himself and falling was carried to his death.

This second one according to Manitoulin Roots was from The Recorder, Thursday, August 27, 1914.
While unloading oats in his barn at Mindemoya on Friday morning Mr. James Love met a sudden and painful death. He was standing on a beam at the top of the barn operating part of the unloader when the rope gave away and the heavy load drew the machine back suddenly, catching him in the side as it went and throwing him out through the side of the barn falling on his face in the barn yard. When picked up, he was unconscious and never revived, passing away at noon. The force with which he was thrown may be imagined from the fact that when his body struck the wall of the barn the boards were smashed and his body landed at least ten feet away from the barn. He was badly bruised and possibly injured internally. 
Dr. R. W. [Robert William] Davis signed the physician's return of death. He cited the cause of  death as shock due to a fall. Did they take James to Mindemoya to the doctor's office (no hospital in 1914) or did the doctor come to the farm?

On Sunday afternoon, the funeral took place from his home. Rev. William Munro, the Presbyterian minister from Providence Bay, conducted the service. Many friends and neighbours came to show their respect and support for the Love family.  George Bond, John Galbraith, John Cooper, William Hare, John Cochrane and Thomas Fisher acted as pall bearers.

James was only 62 years old when he died. James had lived on  Manitoulin Island since September 1870. During the winter of 1871-1872, he returned to Southern Ontario for a short time.

So what do I know about James Love, my great-grandfather.

He was born, according to his marriage registration, in Greensville, Wentworth County. This hamlet is four kilometres north west of Dundas, Ontario. According to the 1901 census, his birth date was 12 March 1852. Family lore says that when he was a few months old his father, Thomas Love, died. His mother, Agnes Hamilton, was left with three young children: Robert, Thomas and James.

His mother remarried when James was a little boy. Henry Vincer came from England and she met him most likely in Wentworth County. James had four half-siblings: William Henry, Agnes, Sarah and Marion. In September 1870, James went with his two brothers and his half- brother to Michael's Bay, Manitoulin. They went to work in the lumber camps. It would have been quite the adventure. While there, the brothers purchased property.

James' brother Robert headed back to Southern Ontario in October 1871. He was going to return with his mother, half-sisters and step-father. He sailed on board the wooden schooner "Sea Horse". The schooner didn't get far; there was a storm. The high winds took the schooner off course. It went down off the west coast of Fitzwilliam Island on 17 October 1871. There were no survivors.

James married Elizabeth Fields Robinson on 14 November 1876 in Assiginack Township, Manitoulin Island. Together they had ten children but only one son and five daughters survived to adulthood. At the time of his death, Margaret and Grace lived at home.

It was not until 10 May 1884 that James received the deed to his property. The deed read:
James Love and Thomas Love, both of the Township of Carnarvon in the District  of Algoma in the province of Ontario in our Dominion of Canada, Farmers, Heirs at law of the late Robert Love deceased and assignees of Agnes Vincer, mother of the said late Robert Love deceased, and the assignee of Thomas Shortreed, who is the original purchaser, contracted and agreed to and with our Superintendent of General of Indian Affairs duly authorized by us in his behalf for the absolute purchase at and for the price and sum of eighty dollars . . . Lots 12, 13, 14, 15, 4th Concession and Lots 14, 15, 3rd Concession and Lot 15, 2nd Concession to have and hold assured unto the said James Love and Thomas Love their respective heirs. 10 day May 1884.

James was  a Presbyterian and attended the church in Mindemoya. At first, they worshiped in the log school house. The Methodists and Presbyterians shared the same frame building built in 1886/1887. The ministers preached on alternate Sundays.  James served as an elder and was for twenty years the Sunday School superintendent. People gathered for prayer meetings in their home. James "had a warm interest in all who loved the Lord, irrespective of their denominational name."

 This photo was taken on 29 June, 1914, less than two months before his death. He was a large man "with a strong frame".  He was described as having "good judgment and kindly heart" that "raised him to a position of comfort, influence and favor in the community."

 Had his father not had this accident and died, would his son John have been expected or required to sign up for military service or would he have been exempt as a farmer? Would James' daughter Margaret have left home and got married instead of caring for her mother until her death? We will never know.

It was a sad and difficult time for James' family but he also left a void in the community with his passing.

[1] Although, Canada had automatically became part of the war when Great Britain declared War on August 4, Canada formally declared their participation on August 19, 1914.
August 21, 1914 - Total Solar Eclipse (http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/1914-august-21 : accessed 1 March 2014)
James Love obituaries in "The Love-Vincer Family" compiled by Mary Love, Effie Williamson and Pat Costigan, loose leaf format, undated, unpaged.
James Love Ontario death registration #020056 (21 August 1914); digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : 23 December 2007); digital image, citing microfilm MS 935 reel 210, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.
"Greensville" Ontario Rural Routes (http://www.ruralroutes.com/greensville  : accessed 9 March 2014)
University of Michigan Library, Great Lakes Maritime Database (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/t/tbnms1ic/x-127206/1 :accessed 20 March 2014)
Rick Salen & Jack Salen. The Tobermory Shipwrecks. Tobermory: Mariner Chart Shop, 1976. p. 74
James Love - Elizabeth Fields Robinson Ontario marriage registration #001011 (14 November 1876), microfilm MS 932 Reel 23, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.
"Mindemoya Pastoral Charge Joint Needs Assessment Committee Report" (http://manitouconference.ca/img/JNACFinal-Profile-011-Mindemoya-PC.pdf : accessed 5 March 2014).

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