#5 – John Alfred “Jack” Wilson

(52 Ancestors #5 – Plowing Through)

From left: Cecil, Jack, and Hugh (1905)
From left: Cecil, Jack, and Hugh (1905)

John Alfred Wilson was born March 25, 1905 in Pittsburg Township, Ontario in Frontenac County.  He was the fourth child and third son of John and Mary (Thompson) Wilson.  In 1911, Jack was aged 6 and living with his parents John (37) and Mary (38), his brothers Hugh (9), Cecil (8), Charles (4 – my grandpa), William (3), his sisters Marjorie (5), Theresa (1), and his grandmother Mary (Gibson) Wilson (74).  He is listed as Swedish because his grandfather, John Wilson, came to Canada from Sweden.

From left: Charles, Cecil, Marjorie, Theresa, Hugh, Jack (seated), and William (about 1915)
From left: Charles, Cecil, Marjorie, Theresa, Hugh, Jack (seated), and William (about 1915)

In 1921, Jack was 16 and living with his parents John (47) and Mary (49), his brothers Cecil (18), Charles (14), William (12), his sisters Marjorie (15), Theresa (11), and his grandmother Mary Wilson (84).

At age 24, in April 1929, Jack passed through Detroit on his way to Dearborn to join his brother Hugh who was living on Park Street.  In the 1930 census, Hugh was rooming on Park Street and was a salesman at a creamery.  My grandfather Charles had arrived in 1928 and in 1930 was living on Columbia Street in Dearborn and was a truck driver at a creamery.  Jack, in the 1930 census, was employed as a crane operator at a foundry.  He was living with Fred and Mary Curtis on W. Lafayette in Detroit.

On September 2, 1930, Jack married Bessie Winnifred Eastwood (her mother’s maiden name was Curtis).  In the 1940 census taken on April 11th, Jack and Winnie were living on Military Street in Detroit and he was a crane operator at a brass factory.  According to this census, Jack had completed 8th grade while Winnie had completed 2 years of high school.  In 1935, they had been living in the same place.

Jack and Winnie's Wedding, September 2, 1930
Jack and Winnie’s Wedding, September 2, 1930

On April 29, 1940, Jack’s mother died at the farm in Pittsburg Township. On May 16, 1940, Winnie gave birth to a son in Detroit.  The family moved back to Canada soon after to run the farm.  On September 23, 1945, they had a daughter.  According to William J. Patterson’s Lilacs and Limestone: An Illustrated History of Pittsburgh Township, 1787-1987, Jack won Farmer of the Year in 1963 from the Frontenac Soil and Crop Improvement Association.  Jack died June 11, 1987 and Winnie died in February 2001.

#2 – Melvin L. Jones

(52 Ancestors #2 – No Theme)

Melvin Jones was born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 5, 1926 to Charles and Marjorie (Saunders) Jones.  His parents had been married in Mississippi and moved around between Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit.  Melvin was the third of eight children.

In a letter from Marjorie’s mother, Emma Saunders, dated December 15, 1929 from Vicksburg, Mississippi, Emma says, “Your uncle Clarence and my cousin Joe Reed has killed a many cat.  Your papa says all boys will kill cats.”  Emma then tells a story about what her sister Grace once did to a cat.  She concludes that section with, “So I guess that is where Melvin got killing cats.”  Yikes!  What kind of boy kills cats at the age of 3?

emma_1929letter_page3

Anyway, in 1930, the family, including Charles, Marjorie, little Marjorie, Melvin, Earl and Gwendolyn lived on Milford Avenue in Detroit and Charles was a real estate agent.  In the 1940 census, the family lived in Chicago on South Park Avenue.  Four more children had been born to Charles and Marjorie (Donald, Adelbert, Jacquelyn, and Vaughan).

Melvin Jones, Graduation from High School, 1944
Melvin Jones, Graduation from High School, 1944

Melvin married and had a daughter.  He and his wife divorced.  Melvin and my Aunt Sally Wilson married on July 4, 1960.  Sally kept the marriage hidden from her family until after my parents’ own wedding on July 16, 1960, in which Sally was the maid of honor (see page header; Sally is to the right of the bride, my mother Mary).

Melvin, Sally and Charles Jones, Christmas 1962
Melvin, Sally and Charles Jones, Christmas 1962

Uncle Melvin worked at the Chrysler Tank Plant in Detroit and was very active in the UAW Region 1B.  He and Aunt Sally took many trips to the conventions around the country.

Uncle Melvin, seated, second from right
Uncle Melvin, seated, second from right

After retirement, Uncle Melvin and Aunt Sally moved from Detroit to Williamston, Michigan.  He died July 15, 1995.  Aunt Sally died July 9, 2009.

jones

 

 

Those Places Thursday – Wilson Farm

John A. Wilson Farm

A special place to my family has always been my Great-Grandfather’s farm in Pittsburgh Township, Ontario.  I just found out from Wikipedia that Pittsburgh is a former township and became part of Kingston in 1998.  The farm was located on R.R. 2 near the Howe Island Ferry Road/Joyceville Road.  In the last few years, I’ve learned through Google Maps that the farmhouse, barn and outbuildings were torn down.

I did a post in 2008 about an architectural survey done about the farmhouse, formerly the Robert Way house.  Find that post here.

The Wilson family owned the farm since 1903.  The first two children, Annie Maude and Hugh, were born on Howe Island.  But the rest of the children were born on the farm, including my grandfather Charles in 1907.

After it ceased being a working farm in the 1960s, it was a place for family reunions, family vacations and a place to get away from it all.  It was located right on the St. Lawrence River.  The photo above is from the 1950s, I believe.

 

Treasure Chest Thursday – Postcards from Great-Grandma, Part 7

3-28-1959_front
Bandshell in Bayfront Park, Miami, Florida

Here is an interesting article titled “Caesar LaMonaca: A Remembrance of the Bayfront Park Band Shell Concerts, 1929-1977” about the bandshell with what looks like the photograph that this postcard is based on.

3-28-1959
3/28/1959 Hi Mary, This is where we go every Wed. + Friday night to hear good music. We are having some hot weather. We received Easter cards Will write letter later. You will be all dress up for Easter Hope it don’t rain. Love, Grandma