The Milne/Smeed Connection

Family Stories Past and Present

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Remembering GreatUncle Arthur James Tester

One hundred years ago today, on 3 September 1916, my grandmother’s dear brother, Arthur James Tester, died in action at The Somme. Arthur, who was 18 years of age is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme Battlefields.

For more detail of Arthur’s brief life and service see the article on the Smeed page of this website.

Arthur James Tester

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A Mystery

Henfryn Brickworks Brick – Charles Alexander Milne

William Milne and his wife, Catherine Johnson Milne, moved from Wentworth County to W1/2, Lot 1, Concession 7, Elma Township, Perth County in the 1880s. They were accompanied by their sons, Robert James, Charles Alexander and William, Jr.

The closest village to their farm was Henfryn which was just across the boundary line in Grey Township, Huron County. As a child, I remember spending an afternoon with my parents and other relatives visiting an old friend of theirs who lived at what remained of an old tileworks. In earlier days it had produced the yellow brick which is quite prevalent in that part of Ontario.

We children amused ourselves playing around the old kilns while the adults reminisced. Today nothing is left of the old yard.

In July, Elizabeth and I visited our cousin, Kathy Milne Duncan and her husband, Barry. They showed us the brick pictured below which had been found by a friend of theirs who was working on a house addition which was making use of reclaimed brick to blend with an original structure.  The friend knew that Kathy would want to have this particular brick since it had been signed before being fired. The inscription reads:

June 23, 1902

Henfryn     Charles Milne

This was William and Catherine’s son, Charles Alexander, who at the time was about 27 years old. He would marry in 1905 and move back to the Wentworth area before moving to Texas where he spent the rest of his life.

What was special to him about that date that caused him to autograph that particular brick? What twist of fate caused it to be found over a hundred years later and returned to a family member?

Oenfryn Brick

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Family Mementos

Green Glass Salt and Pepper Shakers – Catherine Johnson Milne

The salt and pepper shakers pictured here belonged to Catherine Johnson Milne (1846 – 1911). It is not known when or where Catherine obtained these items. It may have been when she and her husband William lived in West Flamborough, Wentworth County or after they moved to Elma Township, Perth County in the 1880s.

After Catherine’s death, the shakers remained in the family and were eventually passed to their current owner Katherine Milne Duncan who is a great granddaughter of Catherine.



Back to Western Ontario

Western Ontario 2016

This past week Elizabeth and I headed back to Western Ontario for some family visiting. Our journey started with a slower route to Stratford that took us through the tiny village of Washington where our great great-grandmother, Jean Anderson Collins, is buried and then through the village of Plattsville where our great great-grandparents, George Hewitt and Mary Clements Hewitt, are buried.

In Stratford we had a delightful time reminiscing with cousins Joan, Barb and our hosts Marg and Earl. As well, we had some time for some research at the Perth County Archives.  The following morning we met Joan again for some touring around Stratford which included dropping in to see Joan’s son, Jeff and his wife, Donna before we left town.

On to Atwood to visit cousin Kathy and her husband, Barry. Over coffee and homemade muffins Kathy showed us some interesting family memorabilia (stories and photos to follow in later posts). We also met their lovely grandchildren.

Next stop was Elma Centre Cemetery where a number of our Milne, Hewitt and Johnson ancestors are buried.

We spent Tuesday night in Listowel at the Hardwood Haven B&B, a lovely home we had always admired. Our driving and walking tours of Listowel took us to all corners of our childhood hometown. Most important was Fairview Cemetery to visit Mum and Dad.

Before leaving for home on Wednesday morning we met cousins Velma and Frances for coffee and more catching up and reminiscing.

On our drive back to Belleville  we stopped at Crown Cemetery in Puslinch where another great great-grandmother is buried. Last stop, Millgrove where more of our Milnes are buried, followed by a driveby of the location of the land owned by our great great-grandparents, Charles Milne and Elspet Ross.

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A Double Wedding

A double wedding took place on 5 July 1928 in Fort William, Ontario. Frances Elizabeth Milne, daughter of Robert James Milne and Ida Hewitt Milne married Gustav Josef Petterson, the son of Karl Frederick Petterson and Anna Charlotte Gustafson Petterson.

At the same ceremony, Joe’s brother, Thurston Petterson married Irene Collander. The witnesses were Jack Milne and Tauno Collander, the brothers of the brides.

A newspaper account at the time described a quiet but pretty wedding. The brides wore white satin with hose and shoes to match. They carried bouquets of sweetheart roses and lily of the valley. A wedding dinner was held at the Avenue Hotel in Fort William followed by dancing at the Palais.

Frances and Joe