My Military Ancestor, Edward McMahon USA Civil War

Day 8 of the 11-day Military Challenge

Edward McMahon was born about 1837 in Clare, Ireland. He traveled to Canada with his parents and seven siblings at the tail-end of the potato famine.

Upon arriving in Canada their mother Margaret McNamara died and the family temporary lived in Sherbrooke, Quebec where they are recorded on the 1852 census. While in Sherbrooke they lost another family member, 8-year-old Matilda McMahon. The McMahons family split up after that, brother Michael settled in Windham, Norfolk Co., Ontario, Edward went to the US and  Cornelius, the father and it is thought the rest of the siblings went to Normanby, Grey Co., Ontario.

Edward joined the army and was with the 10th Regiment of the US Infantry and took part of the Utah Expedition. He served with them from 1855-1860 and joined up again to fight in the US Civil War. Edward was a member of 72nd Ohio Volunteer Unit, K Company and attained the rank of Captain. His pension file also reveals that on June 9, 1862 he was sent out to Memphis under the command of General Stergis and was taken prisoner by the Confederates near Oklahoma. He was taken to Andersonville Prison and upon the discovery that he was a Commisioned Officer was sent to Macon, Georgia, then to Charleston and lastly to Columbus, S.C. It was when he was a prisoner at Columbus that he made his escape after being a Confederate prisoner for 6 months.

Edward’s account of his escape –

whence I finally made my escape by passing the sentries upon a dark night I escaped from Columbus in the month of November 1864 and arriving the Blue Ridge Mountains into North Carolina and entered the Union lines near Knoxville East Tennessee on or about Christmas 1864

During all this time nearly two months I was nearly naked and without shoes or proper food and having to travel at night and lie hidden during the day exposed to snow and rain and frost…

MCMAHON, Edward

Edward McMahon Captain of 72nd Ohio Volunteer Regiment, K Company

Edward thankfully survived and the accounting of his experience was recorded when he was applying for a pension.

Edward married in New Orleans to Bridget Maroney / Mahoney on March 28, 1867 and eventually, they made their way back to Canada, settling at Normanby Twp. Edward was a farmer in Normanby and he and his wife had 7 children.

It took quite a bit of effort for Edward to receive his pension, he ended up having to travel back to Ohio and track down fellow soldiers who gave affidavits for his application.

Edward died at his daughter’s home in Lockport, New York on June 20, 1920. His body was returned to Normanby to be buried by his wife in St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery in Ayton, Ontario.

MCMAHON, Edward obituary

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Featured Image of Andersonville Prison from Wikimedia Commons

My Military Ancestor – Benjamin Nelson Harrop WWI Pilot

Day 3 of the 11-day Military Challenge

In rural Saskatchewan (before it was a Province) in a small town called Indian Head, Benjamin Nelson Harrop was born on a fall day in October, 1894.

Growing up on the farm, helping his father William with chores seems a long way off from piloting planes in WWI but that is where life took him.

Benjamin wasn’t the Harrop to fight in WWI but he was the only WWI pilot in my family. I located a photograph of him on Ancestry in the database Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates, 1910-1950

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Benjamin received his certificate on a Maurice Farman biplane at the Royal Naval Air Station in Eastbourne in 1916.

 

Maurice_Farman_S._7_Longhorn_70_H.p._Renault_Engine._Two_Seater_Reconnaissance_and_Training_Biplane._Aviation_School,_Chartres_Q58351

Maurice Farman biplane  – Wikimedia Commons

While in England he married Cecil Powel in 1917 and at the end of the war returned safely to Canada with his bride.

In WWII he became Wing Commander and was the chief supervisor at an Air School in Winnipeg.

 

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The Winnipeg Tribune 30 Sept 1942

 

Benjamin spent his life as a pilot.

I was able to locate his death record on the Royal B.C. Museum database and upon learning he died in Kelowna a search at Find-a-Grave lead to me to his headstone.

R.I.P. Benjamin Harrop.

#mymilitaryancestor

 

John Brown Jordan & His WWI Service

John Brown Jordan was born August 12, 1888, to parents William and Agnes Brown in Kingston, Ontario. It is not surprising he heeded the call to serve in WWI as his father was a career soldier, as well as his older brother Samuel. John was not new to soldering, he already served nine years with the Royal Canadian Artillery and seven years with the Canadian Army Service Corps. John married to Celina Collins in 1905 at St. Matthew’s Church, Quebec City and they had three children, Celina Agnes Becroft (Bee) born in 1906, John William Sidney (Syd) born in 1908 and Mary Patricia arrived in 1913.

John enlisted September 10, 1914, and is described as fresh complected, with dark blue eyes and medium brown hair. He wasn’t the tallest in stature measuring in at 5’4”.

He sailed on the S.S. Alaunia which transported the first Canadian troops to head overseas. John left for France July 19, 1915, joining the 3rd division and was mentioned in dispatches Dec. 28, 1917. John’s daughter Mary Patricia died while he was gone in 1918. John survived the duration of the war and returned to Canada Sept. 6, 1919, sailing on the S.S. Minnekahda.

John continued working for the military, returning to England and working there as a clerk to the Imperial War Graves Association. John and his wife Celina divorced, and John married Rose Emma Matthews Davis, a widow from England. Rose and John’s only child, a son Leslie was born in 1921 in England.

Leslie also became involved in the military, in WWII he was a Flight Seargent with 108 Squadron. Leslie’s plane crashed in Dundalk, Ireland killing seventeen people. Leslie is remembered on a plaque in Brighton (Downs) Crematorium in England.

John Brown returned to Canada after WWII, and he and his wife settled back in Kingston.

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Rose and John Brown Jordan visiting relatives in Montreal. c1950 

John died there in 1951; he is buried at Cataraqui Cemetery.

  • A memory that told to me by John’s nephew, Herbert Jordan was that John was very hard to understand as he had been gassed during the war and had a hole in his throat.

The Brock Family of Hackney

My connection to the Brock family was not an obvious one. It all started with a four-page letter written by a niece to her uncle in 1883. This letter must have been important as it was passed down through my family until I rediscovered it in 1993, one hundred and ten years after it was written.

I often would stop by and visit my dad, completely take over his living room by dragging out bins of long since stored away papers, photos, and paraphernalia.  Hours were spent going through the piles, learning all I could from disinterested family members. I remember first discovering the letter, unfolding it, reading the names for the first time. The questions it raised were not answered. Eventually, the bins were handed off to me and I could peruse them at my leisure, which I did.

At home, I would sit on my slow dial-up internet connection searching the few genealogical sites that were available and slowly the Brock family story started to unfold. The letter was addressed to “Dear Uncle and Aunt” Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 4.51.12 PMand signed M and R Brock Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 4.49.29 PMrevealed a few names, places and thankfully it was dated Dec. 14, 1883. The two locations mentioned were 93 Glenarm Road, Clapton and an Aunt still living in Great Yarmouth. A later discovery revealed that my great great great grandfather Richard Lee Norton was born in Great Yarmouth, aha! Next lead was searching the 1881 census which was on CD at my local Family History Library. The Brock family living at 93 Glenarm Road in Clapton consisted of four children as both parents were deceased as the letter had indicated. The census listed the oldest brother Richard, Martha and two younger brothers, Edward, and Henry. Further digging led me to the connection, the children’s mother Martha (Norton) Brock was my three times great grandfather’s sister, both born in Great Yarmouth.

Richard Brock's birth registration.

Richard Brock’s birth registration. Mother listed as Martha (Norton) Brock.

The letter, written two years after the census was to their Uncle Richard. The four had been on their own since their father passed away and appear to have stayed in close contact with him.

Robert Brock's death registration

Robert Brock’s death registration in 1879 of bronchitis.

Richard a ship captain had left England and married in Quebec City in 1854. Maybe he was sending them money to help out the expenses? The letter was informing their “Dear Uncle” of the loss of brother Henry and the problems they were having with their youngest brother Edward.

Edward seems to have been a difficult sibling, Richard and Martha were having a hard time supporting him. The letter states that Edward had been out of work since the death of their father (Robert d.1879). Edward convinced his siblings he would be better off in New York and it seems they pooled their money to make this trip a reality. New York bound, he didn’t stay long it, the letter shares that he was back and when they asked why he was returning his reply, “I have altered my mind”. This leaves me wondering if he ever left, perhaps he stayed in England and blew through the money. You may wonder why I am so cynical? It was my latest discovery that makes me wonder.

I have spent some time researching through Newspapers.com recently when I realized they also cover English newspapers. I went through the list of relatives that hailed from England, I typed in Richard Brock and came across more information on Edward and his exploits.

The Times (London, Greater London, England) pg.9 Charge Of Stealing From A Brother Aug. 20, 1883

The Times (London, Greater London, England) pg.9
Charge Of Stealing From A Brother Aug. 20, 1883

I have transcribed the news article below.

Worship-street Police-court on Saturday, Edward Brock, 22, brass-finisher, of Glenarm-road, Clapton, was charged with having stolen from the front parlour of 93, Glenarm road, a silver-plated prize cup, value £1 10s., the property of Richard Brock. The prosecutor said the prisoner was his brother and lived with him at the address mentioned. The cup in question, which had been won at a race, was kept in their front parlour. On Thursday evening it was found that the parlour had been broken open, and on an examination being made of the contents of the room the prize cup was missed. The matter was then put in the hands of the police. A pawnbroker from Mare-street, Hackney stated that the cup produced was pledged at his shop by the prisoner on Thursday for 4s. The prisoner then gave the name of John Brock. Detective Fletcher, of the R Division, said he had made inquiries in this case, and had discovered that the prisoner was an idle man and a great trouble to his family. When taken into custody he said, “I do no think you can call it a theft to take away a brother’s property.” The prisoner, who did not appear to be perfectly sane, asked Mr. Bushby if he could be charged with stealing if he promised to return the cup to his brother. The magistrate said he should convict him of unlawfully pawning the cup, the prosecutor having stated that he never gave him leave to obtain money upon it, and for that offence he would be fined 40s ; in default of distress one month’s imprisonment. The prisoner said he owned a couple of houses and could easily pay the penalty. The brother applied for a warrant of distress, as the prisoner had no money or goods, and he wished to see him punished for what he had done. The warrant was granted.

Found on Newspapers.com

http://www.newspapers.com/image/33145644/?terms=%22richard%2Bbrock%22

The news clipping predates the letter I had found by about 4 months. It tells me the siblings were doing all the could to help their brother but as I have learned, people need to help themselves. If Edward was going to make a change in North America wouldn’t he want to come to Canada and seek help from his Uncle? That is why I question if he made the trip at all.

I have followed Richard Brock through the censuses, he raised his family at the same address in Hackney. I have yet to learn what happened to Edward but I can only hope he made a change. Then again I have to think it is because of Edward that I know a little more about the Brock family in Hackney.

52 Ancestors – #12 John Tipper

John Tipper is my first ancestor to have traveled to Canada, arrived before 1796. Until today I didn’t have many details about him. What I did know is that he was a soldier with the Royal Artillery, his wife was Gertrude and she died in Kingston, Ontario in 1805. The family lived in Montreal, Kingston and Quebec City with daughters Anne (married George Stubbs), Elizabeth (married Robert Jeffery), Mary (married John Henry Merckle) and son John (married Catherine Taylor).

Today a little more was discovered about John Tipper and his family. I have index cards from LAC that a relative shared with me.

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I hadn’t spent any time researching the index cards any further and I was looking forward to Glenn Wright’s talk at the 2014 Ontario Genealogy Conference. From the index cards I went onto the Library and Archives website and delved further into these early military records. This has not been an easy task and I had to refer to the Help button frequently.
I did manage to find this record which shows John in 1813 applying from provisions for him and his four children.

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having been left with four motherless children, your humble petition finds the greatest difficulty of supporting himself and family.

.

 

The document does point out that John is a widow and the startling item I read is that he is blind and is supporting his family by turning a wheel for 1 pence a day.

 

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That your petitioner has had the misfortune to lose his sight which renders…

 

 

I hope that I can find out more about John and his life in the military – I would also like to learn what happened to make him lose his sight.

It seems that one question can lead to 3 more!

52 Ancestors – Elizabeth Norton #11

Lizzie Norton Autograph book copy 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j03XQi5toQg

This is my way of sharing an autograph book that belonged to my great great grandmother’s sister Elizabeth Norton. Elizabeth was born in 1862 in Quebec City to parents Richard Lee Norton and Hannah Pozer Jeffrey.

Elizabeth spent her life in Quebec City, she married James O’Grady in 1891 and although she had 3 children she left no descendants. Elizabeth passed away in 1897 at the age of 34, and none of her children lived past infancy. Her sister kept and treasured her autograph book and it has passed down through the family. I have been wanting to find a way to share this book and came up with the idea of putting it into a video. Please take some time to view it, I think you may like it!

The album contains the signatures of –

Tess
May H.
Odile Jeffery
Blanche Jeffery
Victor P. Simpson
R J Norton (Richard Jeffery Norton – brother)
Carrie Norton (sister)
Ida Crawford
J. O. G. – (future husband James O’Grady)
N. G. Fellows
Mrs. Fellows
Addie Higgins (Adelaide Higgins)
Emmy Higgins (Emily Higgins)
G. PLante
Blanche Jeffery (cousin)
Odile Jeffery (cousin)
Susie Mathews
Granny Romeril
E. Dyers
Willie Fountain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j03XQi5toQg