The more research I do, the more confused I get about our family history. For instance, I am trying to make the leap “across the pond” from our American Kirkpatrick immigrants to specific families in Scotland. Not going so well.
The Alexanders and the Georges and the Jameses I am looking for seem to have nearly-identical families with identical names, all in the same area. And none of them left good records, that I can find. Or maybe I’m not looking in the right places…
But it’s a good mystery. One I can sink my teeth into. And if I can prove the lineage, I can link us to very ancient and sometimes royal family ties.
I know it’s been awhile since I posted but I am back in the research saddle again, so keep an eye on this little blog.
Emma (Bowe) Kirkpatrick. In her beautiful face I see my grandfather's, along with some of my aunties' faces.
My great grandmother Emma’s marriage to James Douglas Kirkpatrick was the point where the Kirkpatrick line first merged with the Bowe line, back in the day. Great grandma was quite the extraordinary woman.
Born 8 March 1872, Emma was the daughter of Herman Otto Bowe, a German, and Quilinick “Caroline” Pasho, a Shushwap girl and the daughter of Chief Pasho. She had three brothers – Henry, Fritzee and John – and one sister, Charlotte.
From what I’ve read about Emma, she was legendary – a woman full of energy and fire. Here are a couple of quotes I found about her:
“She was a promising child and her parents expected great things of her. She completed all of her schooling in New Westminster and then went to Chicago with her father to see the World’s Fair and to complete her music studies. She was a gifted musician and artist. She was also a keen horsewoman and could shoot a rifle with great accuracy. She had only been home a year or so when a group of musical Kirkpatricks came to surprise the Bowes with a visit… They danced until day light and breakfast was announced by the voluntary cooks.
“The second night Emma Bowe went to the Indian Village which was less than a mile from the ranch house. She invited the young folks to come down and take in the dance. They were all good dancers, as they had been dancing for years in their own hall, so they came eagerly and had an enjoyable time. There was no discrimination, they mixed and danced and had more fun than the previous night.”
~ Kirkpatrick Gold, June 15, 1992 edition
Somehow I came to possess a medal that Emma got at the Chicago World Fair when she was there. It is on a worn little ribbon and is one of my most cherished possessions.
“[Emma was a] remarkable ranch girl of a bygone period… she was more than a remarkable woman, she was a rare specimen of humanity. She was a planner, a manager.”
Source: A Short History of James Douglas Kirkpatrick, by S. D. Kirkpatrick, 1963
Jim and Emma had 11 children, some of whom I have written about in this blog: Anna Christine “Nana,” Alice Isobel (“Aunt Alice” in this post), James Douglas II, Francis Ludwig “Lud,” Charlotte May, John Gillham, Elsabe Violet, Jean Caroline, George Theodore (my grandfather), Olivine Emma “Ollie,” and Samuel Thomas.
All went on to have children, except Jimmy, who “died for freedom and honour” at Vimy Ridge, France, in World War I. Great grandma Emma saw his death in a waking dream as she was dozing one day. She was not surprised when she received official word, but she was deeply grieved.
Great Uncle Sam’s writings are a great blessing for we researchers. He was gifted with being able to paint wonderful pictures with his words and the following tale illustrates Emma’s pluck, determination, and horsemanship.
“The following year, I came to town and Jim was there. He said that he had taken a job at the livery stable and was, at present, breaking horses to the harness, to be used on the stage lines to the Cariboo. He said the family was with him and Emma was running a restaurant in town, so I paid them a visit and stayed with them a few days.
“That evening Jim said to Emma, ‘I have a job for you.’ Some society group in Victoria wanted 6 saddle horses for ladies’ use, gentle and well broken to the side saddle with a lady rider. Jim said the manager had left it up to him, now he said I am leaving it up to you.
“Apparently, this appealed to Emma. She smiled and said, ‘I’ll be there at 8 tomorrow morning.’
“Now, it may be as well to mention that it had been said those that knew the facts, that Emma had broken many wild horses with a stock saddle, and had ridden bucking horses on a side saddle.
“Anyway, I was loafing around the barn at 8 a.m. when Emma came along wearing a long riding skirt that she had to hold up off the ground. Jim had saddled a well broken horse that they had on hand for hire. Jim led him to the middle of the street and boosted Emma up on the saddle. The horse paid no attention to her till Jim let go of the halter and walked away. Then he noticed something strange; his ears pointed back and the whites of his eyes showed. She let him stand while she patted his neck and gave him horse talk. Then she shortened up on the left bridle rein and pulled his head around towards the skirt. He glared at it but made no move. Emma took her time. She allowed him to straighten out, then the performance was repeated.
“This time, he was not afraid of the skirt. When she got him back to normal position, his ears were pointing to the front. It was then she tightened up on the bridle reins and chirped to the horse to move ahead, which he did, with a spring to his step, as if he was prepared to go into action, but he soon quieted down to a natural walk. Two blocks down and back, a rest period, another trip… this time she came back at a trot. The third trip she walked him to the turning point, then suddenly she let out a ‘Yippee!’ and hauled him roughly to the left, then slapped his right shoulder with her riding whip and used the English spur on her left foot.
“The horse whirled and broke into a gallop. She increased it to a dead run. When they came to the starting point, she hollered ‘Whoa!’ and hauled roughly on the bridle, stopping him in two jumps. She slid down without help, went to his head and made herself acquainted by rubbing his face. Scratching his ears, she talked to him. She lifted his upper lip and looked at his teeth. Then she drew a laugh from the spectators when she pulled the horse’s head down and whispered in his ear, then winked at the crowd. She stroked his neck, his front leg to the hoof, she picked up his foot, tapped his shoe with a rock. She didn’t only put on a show – she put the horse entirely at ease.
“Then she said, ‘Come on, Buster. That will be all for now.’ She headed for the stable. Buster followed her on a slack rope.”
Source: A Short History of James Douglas Kirkpatrick, by S. D. Kirkpatrick, 1963 (I have tidied up the spelling and punctuation a little to make the reading of the tale flow more smoothly.)
James and Emma and their family. My Grandpa George is sitting on Jim's lap. (Click to view a larger image.)
I was digging through my gravestone images looking for a particular one for a distant cousin. She has a Kirkpatrick in her tree that married a Hunter and she was wondering if I had anything I could share. Turns out I don’t (yet) but I thought I’d share this headstone anyway. The more information we get out there, the more we help each other, right?
Thomas Kirkpatrick, Robert Kirkpatrick, Catherine Hunter (click image to view larger)
The stone reads:
In Memory of
who died at Closeburn Village 13th Dec’r 1873,
aged 84 years. Also
ROBERT KIRKPATRICK his son who died
at Cottage Closeburn 29 Dec’r 1863
aged 5 years & 4 months.
Also CATHERINE HUNTER, wife of
the above THOMAS KIRKPATRICK,
who died at 1 Gordon St. Dumfries,
27th March 1892, aged 72 years.
CATHERINE JOHNSTONE KIRKPATRICK,
daughter of the above THOMAS
KIRKPATRICK, who died at
1 Gordon St. Dumfries,
on 3rd March 1927, aged 65 years.
When we were in Scotland I took a lot of pictures of cemetery headstones, especially in Closeburn and Dumfries.
Most of the images I got were of Kirkpatrick family members’ stones, but occasionally I found ones that stirred my imagination. Some even moved me to tears, such as this poignant story.
You can’t read it all, but here is what it says:
In Memory of
Bridget, wife of Thomas Wilkin,
Surgeon, who died on the 12th December 1840
aged 40 years
Also Robert their son, who died
21st February 1831 aged 1 year and 4 months
Also James Pennington their son,
who died 24th October 1839 aged 1 year
Also Mary their daughter, who died
1st February 1833 aged 9 days
Also Catherine Mary their daughter, who died
at Kendal 20th July 1854 aged 20 years
And Amy their eldest daughter,
wife of Henry F. Bainbridge,
who died in Liverpool 27th September 1871
aged 46 years
Also the above Thomas Wilkin,
who died in Suffolk 16th February 1873
aged 72 years
“Looking unto Jesus”
Imagine the heartache this family must have endured…
I was browsing Youtube when I came across this sprightly piece and I just had to share. If you listen carefully, you can make out a hint of the “Danny Boy” melody here and there. The song was written by Andrew Boysen and has been used for Kirkpatrick special events from time to time. Maybe I’ll have to share it at the next family reunion!
Again from Records of the Closeburn Kirkpatricks by Charles Kirkpatrick, this fun little tid-bit:
“Amongst the Kirkpatricks, from earliest times, ‘Roger’ and ‘Ivone’ were favourite and common names. In our family there were only two ‘Johns’; one lost amidst the mists of the past, though figuring in the Ragman’s Roll.
“In later generations, few of the eldest sons escaped being called ‘Thomas’, thereby causing confusion amongst their descendants when trying to distinguish them.
“These ancestors of ours not only married two or three times, but in those days of large families, there were often two of a name, where one child having died, the parents christened a later arrival with the same name.
“In Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe’s family, there were two Isabellas, one John William and one William John!
“He has pointed out that a ‘nephew’ was frequently alluded to as a ‘grandson.’
“All these complications seem designed to tease antiquarians.”
I’m just reading Records of the Closeburn Kirkpatricks (Charles Kirkpatrick) and came across this interesting tidbit.
“Finally, a theological authority has pointed out to me that the big Oxford dictionary has a long article on the derivation of the word ‘Kirk’; and it decides that it must come from the Greek word ‘Kyriakon’, meaning ‘the Lord’s (house)’. Jameson’s Scottish dictionary states this is generally accepted.
“In our earliest charters the name is often spelt Kyrkepatric.”
Nana lived to be just one month shy of her 103rd birthday. My dad (her nephew) tells me she was already over 100 when he saw her at a family reunion, eating and laughing and yakking it up with kin, happy as a clam.
Her great age, which she attributed to taking a spoonful of kerosene every day(!), was impressive by itself, but her start in life is even more interesting. Born in a time when incubators and neonatal ICUs were still far in the future, she was a preemie twin who miraculously beat the odds.
When I was at the Ashcroft Museum recently, I was amazed to find this undated article, possibly from the Ashcroft Journal:
A kitchen oven was turned into a makeshift incubator when Annie Salter was born more than a century ago, several months premature and weighing a little over one pound.
Neonatal technology was still decades away when her grandmother wrapped tiny Annie in cotton cloth, laid her in a cigar box and popped her in the warm oven with the door open.
“It was quite the miracle,” said Salter’s daughter Kae Larson of the remarkable survival in a rural home in 19th-century Dog Creek, BC.
Incredibly, Salter’s mother had miscarried a twin about three months earlier.
Nana as a young woman
The oldest of 11 children, Salter, now 102, was born March 23, 1896 and spent much of her life caring for and feeding others.
First it was her siblings. After she married Frank Salter Dec. 25, 1917, there were her own two children and often several young members of her extended family all living under the same roof.
Sometimes Salter worked as camp cook in the southern Alberta oilfields where her husband toiled.
She couldn’t stand to see anyone go hungry. During the ’30s Depression, she would cook up a huge, hearty stew every Sunday and invite in a dozen or more unemployed oilfield workers, recalled Larson.
“She always said the reason she got married on Christmas Day was that was the one day of the year she knew there would be plenty of food on the table,” said Larson, sitting beside her mother’s wheelchair in the Capital Care Grandview nursing home, 6215 124… [page cut off].
What a gal. Over and over I read stories of the hearty, hard-working, humorous Kirkpatrick women and it makes me so proud.
Nana’s obituary was also included on the photocopied sheet I found:
March 23, 1896 – February 21, 1999
On February 21, 1999 Annie Salter of Edmonton passed away.
Leaving to mourn her loss her daughter and son-in-law, Kae and Ken Larson of Edmonton; daughter-in-law, Pat Salter of Calgary; eight grandchildren, Alec (Anne) Deeves of Calgary, Ronald (Dede) Larson of Singapore, Melody (Dave) Livingston of Grande Cache, Mavis (Ray) Berard of St. Albert, Donna of Edmonton, Dawn Giles of Cobble Hill, B.C., Darlene Bell of Blackie, Alberta and Denise (Darcy) Anderson of Calgary, along with 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Frank in April 1983; grandson, Barry Deeves 1988; son, Jim 1994; parents, Jim and Emma Kirkpatrick; five sisters and five brothers.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 27, 1999 at 2:30 p.m. at Evergreen Funeral Chapel, 16204 Fort Road, Edmonton (1/2 mile east of Manning Drive on 167 Avenue – 1/4 mile south on the old Fort Road), with interment in Evergreen Memorial Gardens. Reverend Hart Cantelon officiating. Special thanks to the staff of Capital Care Grandview. If friends so desire, in lieu of floral tributes, memorials may be made to Capital Care Grandview in care of the Capital Care Foundation 500, 9925 – 109 Street, Edmonton, T5K 2J8. Evergreen Funeral Chapel (Telephone: 472-9019).
Nana was quite a character and I do have more things I plan to post about her in future.
When I was on a recent road trip, I finally got the chance to do something I’ve been meaning to do for years. I stopped in at the Ashcroft Museum (in beautiful downtown Ashcroft, British Columbia).
Kathy, the lady who works there, was so kind and helpful and I enjoyed chatting with her about family connections – the Kirkpatricks and the Felkers and other kin in the area. We even found out we have a tentative family tie – it’s several times removed and by marriage, but still…
I got to photocopy a lot of stuff. Some of it raised as many questions as it answered. For instance, Kathy’s records seem to state that Litta and Mary were two different people (sisters), but I thought Great Uncle Sam had said they were one and the same and that Litta changed her name to Mary when she married a certain fellow. Now there’s a good story to try to dig up some dirt on if ever there was one!
Even the Grand Ol' Opry had to start somewhere, right?
Directly across the street from the museum is the Ashcroft Opera House. The Kirkpatrick Family Orchestra played there many times. Even Great Uncle Sam himself played there.
Ashcroft was also home of the Kirkpatrick Restaurant. An ad in an unidentified newspaper (probably the Ashcroft Journal) is dated February 3, 1900 and reads:
RESTAURANT! Next door to Cargile Hotel. Open day and night. Meals 25c. J. D. Kirkpatrick.
That would be James Douglas Kirkpatrick, no doubt. Some day I’m going to write about ol’ James and his amazing wife Emma (Bowe). The timing of the ad is exactly right – James Douglas lived between 1867 to 1933.
Good ol' George Dawson of Ashcroft and Dawson Creek fame. (Click on image to view larger.)
As I was leaving I spotted an unexpected connection that is not family-related, but geographically. On the wall of the museum was this picture of George Dawson. Being from Dawson Creek, I recognized it immediately. The plaque above the picture of George explains the link to Ashcroft. So I guess Ashcroft and Dawson Creek have more ties than just Dawn-Ann Kirkpatrick!
There was so much cool stuff at the Ashcroft Museum that I have lots of blog material for some time to come now. Watch for letters from the war from Great Uncle Sam and a moving tale of the innovative farm “incubator” that one great aunt spent her first days in.
While I was on vacation last week I stopped in at the Ashcroft museum to have a look at some of the old Kirkpatrick archives held there. (Thanks so much for all your help, Kathy!)
One interesting item I found was quite amusing. Read on:
RCMP News (June 27, 1968 P)
- I think the source of this was the Ashcroft Journal
Clifford Kirkpatrick was moving back to this area from Burnaby yesterday, to Cache Creek with a car and rental trailer. A four-year-old boy, Darcy Harris, was reported missing to Burnaby RCMP by his parents, and enquiries and search around the parents home revealed that the boy had been playing near where Mr. Kirkpatrick was loading furniture and somehow got into the trailer. The boy was found in the trailer at Cache Creek, safe and sound, wearing summer clothes.
I just love the last phrase. Like what he was wearing was any concern? Hee hee…