The Milne/Smeed Connection

Family Stories Past and Present


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William Milne 1850 – 1932

William Milne, who died on this day in 1932, was the seventh child of Charles Milne and Elspet Ross. He was born at Dundas, Ontario on March 6, 1850. He was always called Billy by family and friends and was said to be extremely stubborn.

Billy married Catherine Johnson at Black’s Tavern, Flamborough West Township, Wentworth County on October 3, 1871.

In the late 1870’s, William and Catherine moved first to Grey Township, Huron County and then to Elma Township, Perth County where they purchased land at West 1/2 Lot 1, Concession 7.

Only two of Billy and Catherine’s four children lived to adulthood. Mary Rebecca and William Johnston (Willie) died in childhood.  Robert James, the eldest of Billy and Catherine’s children, lived most of his adult life in Grey Township, Huron County and at the family farm in Elma. In the early 1920’s, Charles Alexander moved his family to Texas.

Catherine died on October 31, 1911 after a series of strokes. Billy died on May 30, 1932. Both are buried with their son, Willie, in Elma Centre Cemetery a short distance from their farm.

William (Billy) Milne


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Frances Milne Petterson

Frances Elizabeth Milne was born on 27 May 1908 in Tenby Bay, St. Joseph’s Island, Ontario. She was the daughter of Robert Milne and Ida Hewitt Milne.

Frances married Gustaf Josef (Joe) Petterson on 5 July 1928 in Fort William, Ontario. Frances and Joe had three sons and three daughters. After living in northern Ontario for some years, the family moved to Oakville, Ontario.

Joe died in 1974 and some years later, Frances married Earl Atkinson who also predeceased her.

Frances died on 17 June 2003 at the age of ninety-five.


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An Interesting Find

Elizabeth has sent me a copy of a photo that she found earlier today. It was tucked in the back of one of Mum’s mini photo albums. As near as we can determine the photo was taken in 1965 which was the first time Mum returned to England since she arrived in Canada in 1946.

Although that trip was made to attend her mother’s (Frances Maud Tester Smeed) funeral, there were also some happy moments as Mum was able to visit family members she had not seen in twenty years. The accompanying photo shows Mum and her brother, Arthur, visiting their Aunt Ciss.

L to R – Arthur Charles Smeed, Cicely Smeed Swann, Doris Elizabeth Smeed Milne (Mum)


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Barbara Collins (1836 – 1921)

Barbara Collins was born on 15 February 1836 in Waterloo County, Ontario. She was the daughter of William Collins and Jean Anderson who had immigrated from Scotland some years before.

Barbara married James Riesberry in 1853 and the couple had four children. They moved from Ontario to Iowa but after James died in1898, Barbara moved to Manitoba to be near family.

Barbara died on 20 April 1921 in West St. Paul, Manitoba.