Monday, May 18, 2015

Bio #2 - Letty's Mother's Story 1877 to 1909

My sweet Mother had rather better luck (than my father) with her life. She was born in London, England, in 1877, a daughter between two sons, Will and Fred Taylor. Granddad Taylor, a French Polisher, died of typhoid fever when the family was young. Grandma Taylor was an obstetrical nurse and supported them as best she could. My Mother trained as a tailoress, and a jolly good one too. She could make a man's suit from cutting out to wearing it, and that takes skill.
Ann Elizabeth Taylor, age 12 in England. 
My Uncle Will went to San Francisco, and was killed in the 1906 earthquake. Not being married, he left no kin. My Uncle Fred lived in Winnipeg, working for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) until 1930, when he died of diabetes. Uncle Fred married a girl called Florence, who I was named for. They had two children, Dorothy and Eddie, but Florence died when the children were very young. The death of their Mother was a great shock and so the two children came to live with us for one year. Eddie, who was a nice little boy, died of diphtheria in my Dad's arms, when he was 6 years old (no vaccines in those days.) After that Uncle Fred married again and Dorothy had a new Mom, my Aunt Edie. I always liked her and over the years she and Uncle Fred had three girls, Vera, Grace, and Joyce Taylor.

Now, to go back a few years, in January 1900 Grandma Taylor and family, having sold their home, came to Canada to make a new life. I guess they thought they had come to "no man's land." When they docked at Halifax, Nova Scotia, after six weeks on the sea, the ship was like a big diamond with frozen ice. A week's ride in a train to Winnipeg, the windows of which were covered in frost, was enough to scare the toughest. But Gran was made of tough stuff, so they settled there for one year. Then they moved south to Carman, and finally to Manitou, where Gran nursed, my mother sewed and tailored, until 1906, when they moved west to Medicine Hat, Alberta. Here, besides nursing some for Dr. Oliver Boyd, Gran and my Mother ran a boarding house for CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) men.

At eighteen, my Father left the hated Orangeville, Ontario, farm where he had no childhood, and joined the CPR on the Bridge and Building gang, and headed West to Medicine Hat. Here he found the boarding house, run by Mrs. E.E. Taylor and her daughter, Ann Elizabeth. He worked out of here, to Saskatoon, (where he had the first wooden rim wheel bike,) Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, and Lake of the Woods. This is where he met my mother. My Dad played the violin which he had brought from the east, one man was a good piano player, and Mom could sing. So they had some lively times. By the way, Mom was 4'9" tall, a real shorty. Later we kids used to call her "sawed off and hammered down," she just laughed. She was a good dancer and loved dancing. Dad fell in love with her and they were married May 19th, 1909, in St. Barnabus Church, Medicine Hat.