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.)
Dusting my bookshelves this morning I came across a book I have been packing around with me since I was 8 years old. Untold decades, in other words.
It was given to me by my grandmother, but that’s not the reason I’ve been keeping it. Grandma gave me a lot of things I have managed to let go over the years.
For some reason, though, this book has always carried an aura of importance. I had a vague recollection of her impressing this upon me, but I could not recall what its import was, aside from the fact that the author herself had autographed it.
Handwritten text, including the author's autograph, inside my First Edition book, "Upside Down in the Magnolia Tree." (Click to see larger image.)
Today, I decided to find out. If it was nothing special I was going to recycle it and haul it around no more. Gramma, I love you dearly but sometimes you just have to guard against hoarding!
I carefully read the inside cover. The author, Mary Bancroft, had signed it, “To Mrs. Helen Biggar [not sure of this name], with kindest regards, Mary Bancroft. Zurich, December 1952.”
Under that was noted, “To dear Milly from Auntie Alice, Xmas 1961.”
Under that was noted, “To Dawn from Grandma Milly, July 1966.” (If you are paying attention, you now can calculate my age, but that’s beside the point.)
So, who was this Mary Bancroft? Who was Helen Biggar? Who was Aunt Alice? I had no record in my genealogical database of an Aunt Alice in Grandma’s family.
The first thing I did was Google Mary Bancroft and I clicked on the very first link that came up. The words I read at the top of the page were, “Author and intelligence analyst Mary Bancroft (1903–1997) had a colorful career as a journalist and spy for the United States in Switzerland during World War II.”
Now I was REALLY interested! The signature in the book did say Zurich – could this be the same Mary? I scrolled through the article and found that yes, she did indeed write an autobiographical novel called Upside Down in the Magnolia Tree, which is the title of my book. Now I was really intrigued. I cracked it open and started reading immediately.
Unfortunately, the book was quaint but boring. It was the life of the little girl growing up but there were no real “grabbers” in there to keep you hooked. I got halfway through, then skimmed to the back and cheated my way across the finish line. I think it would have been more interesting if she had used real names and written it as non-fiction. But I’m keeping the book for interest’s sake, anyway. You just never know what will become valuable someday.
I did find out who Aunt Alice is, though. She was my Great Grand-Aunt by marriage. Here is where she fits into my tree:
Edward D. “Irish” Mellon married Elizabeth M. Flitten McGraff (he was born in Co. Antrim, Ireland, and she was born in Hong Kong!).
Irish and Elizabeth had 9 children, one of whom was my great-grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Mellon and one of whom was the man who married “Aunt Alice,” Edward Mellon. I know nothing more about Edward and Alice, except for Edward’s birth and death dates.
Great-grandma Sarah married Anthony George Charlton and they had six children, one of whom was my grandma, Mildred Bertha “Milly” Charlton.
Grandma Milly married Jozef Reichert (aka Joe Richards) and they had two daughters, one of whom was my recently-departed mama, Sheila Rose Richards.
Mom married my daddy and they had four girls – me and my sisters!
I’m training myself to ask questions that buck the norm. To see the world from a different perspective. To challenge my current ways of viewing things.
For instance, What if there really is no God and we are actually part of someone’s dream? A bad dream, at that.
What if the government is really a force for good and has only our best interests at heart?
Today, when I stopped into a hair salon I had never visited before, I had already decided to take whatever I got with grace and good humor and learn from the experience.
That isn’t to say I wasn’t a little nervous when I first saw my stylist.
He was a young fellow who looked like he’d be better off skateboarding in Millennium Park. He had a black T-shirt on over jeans. He washed and conditioned my hair in record time and I thought, There is no way he could possibly have rinsed all the soap out.
But he did.
As he worked, he was at first very quiet and his snip-snip-snips seemed tentative. I observed calmly, noting to myself that he was perhaps new in the trade and a little unsure.
Oh well, I thought. If I get a crappy cut I just won’t come back again.
But as he progressed his movements became more sure and the scissors began to glide.
“I haven’t heard that song in ages,” I mentioned as Boney M’s Rasputin came on the radio.
“No kidding,” he replied, and the conversation took off from there.
New haircut and new silky nighty.
As my young stylist performed his magic I learned that he had worked out really hard yesterday and was a little stiff, which is why his first snips were so labored. I loved his pleasant, respectful tone with me and I detected a sweet, gentle soul beneath that black T-shirt.
I was out of there in record time but the cut really didn’t turn out half bad. I took his card when I left and he bid me a cheery goodbye.
I walked away amazed at how far off my first notions were. You really can’t tell a book by its cover.
Oh! And the bonus of the day was stumbling upon a quaint little boutique with silky oriental nighties on sale for $20. I bought three, all in bright colors. I am a happy camper today! :)
Every day I am so grateful for my family. The Kirkpatricks are known for their solid support of family and friends, through thick and thin, and here in our little Calgary branch we are rallying the troops again.
My beautiful niece Krista is working hard to raise some funds for a marvelous, life-changing trip she plans to take to Ghana. It is an educational trip – an opportunity for field study extraordinaire - but the learning will be much more than academic. I know from experience how travel not only broadens the mind but educates the heart.
That is why I am one of Krista’s biggest supporters in this venture and, to that end, I am helping her ramp up her fundraising effort. We have designed a page with her story on it and I would be ever so pleased if you would drop by and have a look. Even a $5 contribution could make all the difference if enough people do it.
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.
David Trumble lived to be well over 100 years old and was at one time one of Canada’s oldest living pioneers. His story is told in a sweet little book called When I Was a Boy, edited by Glen Ellis and published in 1976 by J.M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Limited.
Born in 1867, he was still alive and 111 years old when his story was published. He fathered nineteen children (he kept outliving his wives) and his great physical strength was legendary. The last reference I could find on the Internet about Mr. Trumble stated that he was at that time 113 years old. I can find no record of his death or later age.
Following are a couple of quotes from When I Was a Boy.
I smoked and chewed and smoked and chewed
and drank and everything
until I was a hundred and one — a hundred and two –
and then I quit
and I haven’t hardly smoked ever since.
I said, “I’m going to be boss;
if I can’t be boss of myself once in awhile
then there’s no point in me living,”
so I just said, “no sir, no more.”
. . . but I’ll have one now.
I go out to my flowers and put my hands on them. You feel the power in my hands. I talk to my flowers. The flowers understand. And if anybody wants a slip of flowers they come to me. I'll show you a little flower in here, a beautiful thing. I put this in this summer. That's this summer's flower. Geranium. Isn't that wonderful? I talk to it just the same as I talk to you.
There’s a dark face to the moon and a bright one, and as the light reflects back to the earth, so does the shade. You’ve got to plant in the bright side, and the brighter the better it is. A dark moon is the worst time. I see people planting, and they don’t pay any attention to the moon. Half the time they end up with a crop of nothing. But I plant in the moon and I have as pretty flowers as you ever laid eyes on. In my garden this year I growed ‘taters, tomatoes, onions, cabbages, lettuce, radishes. I give it away. Give it to my neighbors. ‘Tain’t mine to keep. The Lord gave it to me and I give it to my own.
Sometimes we’d go to a corn-husking bee,
husk corn for about two or three hours
then get the fiddle out and start dancing,
danced till daylight.
Oh, we used to have quite a time,
but those days are all gone.
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…
While my blog is mostly about genealogy and Kirkpatrick family research, it seems I’ve been digressing a lot lately. Anyhoo, I just had to share this priceless little video about my grandbabies.
Now, I realize I’m probably just being a typical grandmother and most folks out there are bored with video of babies, but indulge me, please? I proud and I’m happy – that’s reason enough for posting. :)
So now, without further ado, my twin grandbabies (who, by the way, are Kirkpatrick descendants)!
I am feeling a little bit drained today, emotionally and physically. I spent the weekend helping to get my grandparents’ cabin ready for sale. My cousin and her strapping young sons came and helped move mountains of stuff out (I really couldn’t have done it without you all!). I showed the new buyers around one last time, locked ‘er up and, after two days of impressive manual labor, left for home.
But not without a few tears.
Alanna dreaming in front of the fireplace
As I wandered through the now-empty little cabin the memories started to flood back. I remembered sunny days with my then young children, hanging out in the mountains with grandma and grandpa. I recall evenings by the fireplace with them, lingering over a glass of wine and laughing uproariously at grandma’s banter. I would chuckle at grandpa’s wisecracks about grandma’s cooking and her vibrant, quick spirit.
More recently, I recall days spent with Janine and how she loved that beautiful location in the rugged Montana mountains. She’d go down for weeks at a time and just veg, playing on her computer, planting flowers and watching satellite TV by the hour. The quiet and solitude were balm to her spirit. The cabin is full of her memories.
UFO hunter Dawn - and yes, that is indeed a surgical cap on my head
But the memory that somehow stands out the most has to do with this photo. On this night, grandma and I had dressed up in snowmobile suits to protect ourselves from the cold mountain night air. We went outside with binoculars in one hand and a drink in the other and laid out under the stars on deck chairs, watching for UFOs. Grandma would exclaim “There’s one!” at every satellite that went over. “Grandma, that’s just a satellite,” I’d say. But she was adamant that every one was a UFO. Who was I to argue?
Though they’re gone now, grandma and grandpa and Janine are more than just memories. Their energy lives on in their actions, which will reverberate throughout the years to come. They live on through their children and their grandchildren. I could feel their presences in a very real way as I said goodbye to them and the cabin yesterday.
“We sure did have us a time,” I murmured, gazing quietly through thick tears at the sparkling blue waters of the lake.
I like to think I’m a fairly accomplished woman. Not over the top accomplished, but I’ve done a few things I’m proud of. I’ve raised four children to become healthy, contributing members of society. I’m a published writer. I have a degree and a job I love as an e-communications analyst. My husband and I run two businesses that pay the mortgage and then some. I volunteer for a couple of non-profit organizations where my contributions are valued. My opinions are respected and often sought after.
But not by my daughters.
What is it about mothers and daughters I ask you? It is the nature of women to share their experiences and they learn from each other this way. When I hear Deb’s experiences about raising her boys, for instance, I put that information together with what I know from my own experiences, plus what I’ve read or heard others speak about. I look for patterns and calculate odds and then file everything away for future reference.
Dawn and Holly
But lord help me if I try to share my experience with either of my daughters. Even when I frame my story with qualifiers such as “in my experience” and “this may not be true of you,” I still get a stinging retort from one or a cold shoulder from the other and I’m left shaking my head in hurt confusion.
I love my daughters fiercely and decided one day to figure this out in the name of close and loving relationships. I want them in my life in a healthy, vibrant way darn it, and am determined to make that happen!
In the journey of figuring out the mystery I examined my own relationship with my mother. How do I feel when she offers her experience with me? No answers there, though. My mom is quite self-absorbed and I tend to be the one acting in the parental role with her. When she does tell her stories they are about specific events in her life. Aside from the obligatory, “How are the kids? How’s Tom?” she doesn’t seem to really notice what’s going on in my life. I’m sure she couldn’t even tell me what I do or where I work. That’s just mom and she has her own challenges.
Next, I went online. I brought up Google and typed in strained relationships between mothers and daughters. The very first article that displayed was a pretty good one and offered a fair amount of insight. Here are a few key points:
Mothers want to help their daughters avoid painful experiences they endured so they offer their wisdom in an effort to share insight.
Daughters perceive this to be meddling and become greatly annoyed (“She thinks I’m too stupid to handle this”).
Mothers should offer more encouragement than advice.
Daughters should not assume meddling when mom offers her experience. Besides wanting to help avoid pitfalls, mom also really wishes to feel needed.
Personally, I think communication is key; and although we may be the very best communicators with the rest of the world, family dynamics can sometimes make it difficult to express ourselves honestly with each other. Instead of backing off feeling hurt, I think I need to start calling my girls on how they react sometimes and get a dialogue going instead.
And I’ll back off with the “wisdom” just a little…