Following Her Footsteps

There always so much to see when I travel to Quebec City and I made a point to visit some places that I knew were frequented by my ancestors.

Before leaving I created a list of places to visit and on the list was the Jeffery family home in the 1840s. Robert and Elizabeth (Tipper) Jeffery lived at 43 Ursule Street in the 1840s-1853 with their children. Robert was arrested for domestic violence and ended up in jail, I am not sure what happened to him when he got out but he does not come back and live with Elizabeth.

Elizabeth opened up a boarding house at 45 Ursule Street and passes away in 1853 and her daughter who was living with her relocates to New York.



Here I am outside her home which is now the Hotel Acadia and is advertised as “cozy rooms in a 19th-century townhouse”.



Jeffery, E 1850-51

Quebec City Directory 1850-51.


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The location of where Elizabeth’s home was in Quebec City. It is quite close to many tourist sites.



Finding Relatives In Wills

I have the will of a relative John Tipper who passed away in Englewood, New Jersey in 1916. John was the only child (surviving infanthood) of Catherine Unkles Taylor & John Tipper born in Quebec City April 25, 1840.

John and his mother move to Englewood, New Jersey in 1866 where John is a very successful butcher. His mother Catherine U. Tipper died in 1881 in Englewood, later John married Charlotte Harrison about 1885.

John and Charlotte did not have any children but were close with the Taylor family in Englewood who were also John’s cousins. John passed away in Englewood Dec. 6, 1916 and his wife just days later.

John’s will has helped me to track down many relatives of this branch of the family. The will revealed many unknown relatives. Names listed in it are Mrs. J.H. Elliott of Atlanta, Georgia; Mrs. W.G. Argabrite of Lewisburg, Virginia; Mary F. Martin of Englewood; Isabella & Irene Unkles; Willard Cass; Ethel B. & Hazel D. Taylor & Lottie Tipper Taylor all of Englewood.

One find of note, Mrs. W.G. Argabrite was Frances Emily Unkles and first married to James Applewhaite Donnelly. James was born in Barbados and was in the states working for the British Consulate. I am sure there is more to be found about this couple!

Resources used:  The Book OF Englewood,, Find-A-Grave, Ancestry & Family Search.

Page from John Tipper's will

Page from John Tipper’s will

If any of these people are in your family tree let me know, my goal is to find a photograph of John Tipper and his wife Charlotte.

*links to the Find-A-Grave entries

Violence in 1840 – A Fearless Female

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out? Blog prompt from Lisa Alzo.

March 19, 1840 is the day my 41-year-old great, great grandmother Elizabeth Tipper laid charges against her attacker. Her attacker was a 5’7” dark-complected man who physically attacked and threatened her life.

March 19, 2015 marks 175 years since that day. The harsh reality of discovering this information was a shock; I had no idea of the horrors that her and her children went through. You see her attacker was her husband. Domestic violence is in my family tree.

I am not sure how often women had the confidence to stand up to their husbands in 1840 or are listened to; Elizabeth did just that. They listened

Elizabeth & Robert Jeffrey married in St. Andrew’s Church, on February 2, 1818 in Quebec City. Robert was a Scottish immigrant to Canada, a stone mason by trade. Children started arriving soon after, first a son John and then daughter Mary both born in Montreal. Mary died the following year, but children continued to arrive until Elizabeth had given birth to nine, with six surviving infancy. Being a Mason, Robert and his family went where there was work, Montreal back to Quebec City and in 1832, St. Etienne de Beauce. Robert signed a contract to build a mill for George Pozer. This answers the question, as to where my great grandmother received her name Hannah Pozer Jeffrey. With the building finished the family travelled back to Quebec City.

The evening of March 19th, 1840 was the last straw for Elizabeth. She took a step that she had avoided till now and went to the police filing a complaint. Was my great grandmother Hannah a witness to this? My daughter Jordan is eight, the same age Hannah was when the events unfolded. Did Hannah hear her dad say to her mom, “…death was waiting for her…” How many times had Hannah heard that? What else had she witnessed her father do? Not being the first time that he had attacked her mother. According to the police report her father had “been in the frequent habit of beating and ill-using…” her mother.

Forgiveness granted, as is so often the case in domestic violence situations. Elizabeth is hoping that Robert is a changed man, and that bringing the charges against him worked, that he won’t do it again. She reconciled with Robert and their last child Julia Heathfield Jeffrey arrives in 1842. The story is not over though, Robert doesn’t change, things do not go well for Elizabeth.

Less than a year later she had him arrested again, and he served a month in prison this time.

Elizabeth finally stopped forgiving Robert, in the 1851 census she is living with her daughter Elizabeth in Quebec City, and Robert is gone. Elizabeth passes away two years later at the age of 54 “after a lingering illness of eight months, which she bore with becoming resignation”.

Quebec Mercury April 12, 1853

Quebec Mercury
April 12, 1853

Elizabeth (Tipper) Jeffrey, may be one of my most Fearless Female. This white ribbon is for her.

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*I am very thankful to Elizabeth LaPointe for researching the prison records and to the BanQ Quebec Archives for their on-line databases but in this case specifically for Inmates in the Prison of Quebec 19th century.

Most Unusual Name – Fearless Female

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

The above is a blog prompt from Lisa Alzo. I do not share a first name or a middle name with any of my ancestors that I know of.

Next up is unique or unusual names and the closest I have is Gertrude, which I don’t find that unique or unusual. Many female names in my direct line are Mary, Elizabeth, Beatrice, Caroline and Bridget. With names like that I have to go with Gertrude as being the most unusual. Little is known at this time about Gertrude. I know she was married to a soldier named John Tipper who was Scottish. I do not know when or where they married or Gertrude’s maiden name. I know Gertrude had 4 children and the family was living in Montreal, by 1801 they were in Kingston, Ontario. By 1805, Gertrude had died leaving her husband and children to fend for themselves. I hope I will be able to discover Gertrude’s birthdate, where she was born and who her parents are.

No matter what, Gertrude is a female not forgotten.

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!