The Milne/Smeed Connection

Family Stories Past and Present


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Happy Easter!

Off to church on a chilly Easter Sunday ca1955.

Jane and Elizabeth

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A Favourite Photo

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks

Week 2 – Favourite Photo

I chose this photo because it is the only one that I have of our whole family unit. We have many family photos but it seems that one of us was always out of the frame behind the camera. This photo was taken in the fall of 1955 by my cousin, Ida Milne, from Fort William. She dropped in to surprise her aunts and uncles in Listowel while on a trip with a friend. I vaguely remember her visit but I didn’t actually see the photo until I went on a return visit  in September 2000. Ida’s mother, Aunt Dorothy, had prepared a package of photos for me and this was among them.

Not only is this a photo of the family… Mum, Dad, Elizabeth (age 4) and me (age 10), it is a reminder of our home as it was on that day. We don’t have many indoor photos from that era. Usually we went outdoors to take advantage of daylight.

The house was one of the many “wartime” houses built for returning veterans in the late 1940s. We are sitting in the corner of the sitting room with the kitchen in the background. Visible are our original Frigidaire refrigerator and the buffet of the dinette set my parents bought when we first moved into the house on Jefferson Street.  On the left side of the photo is the telephone… no dial,  just an operator on the end of the line asking “Number, please?”. The phone sits on a table that I still have in my possession.

Mum smiled for the camera; Dad was his usual reticent self; I looked rather serious with my hair pulled back in a severe ponytail; Elizabeth, cute with her bangs and wearing a dress, seemed like she wasn’t too sure about having her photo taken. Great memories to have, thanks to a surprise visit all those years ago.

#52ancestors

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Bet, Charlie, Jane and Elizabeth – Fall 1955


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It’s Christmas Party Time!

A bit of nostalgia from the 1951 Hydro Children’s Party to start the season. Pictured here are sisters-in-law, Bet and Annie Milne. Bet is holding baby Elizabeth. Annie is holding Ron. Young Betty is behind her Aunt Bet, Jane is in the bottom left corner while Joan is in front and between her Aunt Bet and her Mum. Murray was standing further away from the group and the Dads, Charlie and Ross, were hiding at the back of the photo with the rest of the men.

Hydro Christmas Party 1951


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Ida Muriel Milne Cross

Ida Muriel Milne was born on 26 July 1922 in Elma Township, Perth County. She was the daughter of Robert Milne and Jane Crowe Milne.

On 28 February 1946, Ida married Alastair Cross at Christ Church, Anglican in Listowel. Ontario. Al and Ida had two children, Noreen and Douglas.

Ida died on 19 November 2000 in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Ida Milne Cross


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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 Trip Down Memory Lane

This week Elizabeth and I had a wonderful time on a nostalgic road trip to Southwestern Ontario.

In Listowel we visited with cousins, Wanda and Roy Bridge, Velma Hamilton, and Barb Smith who was accompanied by her lovely granddaughter, Joy. We also saw Sandie and George Arlein. Sandie was Elizabeth’s grade five teacher and George worked with Dad at Ontario Hydro.

While in Listowel we also did the rounds of our old haunts and some cemeteries as well.  On to Goderich to see the sun set into Lake Huron which we remember from camp and cottage days.  Of course we checked out the camp where the Listowel Recreation hosted Camp Aquatalah for many years. Some things seemed the same; some things were much changed. We were last there in 1965!

Last stop was Stratford where we made a brief stop at the Perth County Museum where a long standing mystery was solved. (More on that in another post.)  Before heading home we had lunch and a brief but enjoyable visit with cousins, Joan Rolph and Marg Illman.

The bell and cornerstone from the old school

The bell and cornerstone from the old school