Friday, October 28, 2011

Charles Milton Richardson Graham, 1868-1932

C.M.R. Graham was born 15 March 1868 in London Ontario to William Graham, and Catherine Richardson. (1) He married Ida Wells Smyth 6 January 1892 in London. The 1901 Census lists him as a gentleman furrier. (2)
"The London Free Press", January 2, 1912.
He became mayor of London in January 1912 to 1914. The Free Press describes his terms in office as marked by aggressive policies. (3)

He had also been involved with the local militia, and in 1915 he was offered the command of the 142nd. Battalion (London’s Own) then being organized in London. When overseas the battalion was broken up for re-enforcements. In 1918 he reverted to the rank of Major, and served with the 18th. Battalion (4). Also in 1918 he was promoted to Lt.-Colonel, and awarded the D.S.O.
"The London Free Press", February 16, 1932.
He died in London on the 15th  of February, 1932.

(1), Ontario, Canada births and Ontario, Canada, deaths, 1869-1938 and deaths overseas, 1939-1947.
(2) “The London Free Press“, 16 February, 1932. obit. The Free Press described him as in the gent’s furnishing business up to 1916 when he sold his share of the business to his brother.
(3) A term at that time was one year. Elections were held every January. He was recognized as a Conservative in politics. With Sir Sam Hughes in charge that took precedence over any military experience. In spite of this he was an exception to the rule as he proved to be quite a good junior officer at the front.
(4) The 18th. Battalion was the second battalion to be raised from Southwestern Ontario, and was in the trenches by the end of 1915.

Canada 150

Canada 150 is a national campaign to encourage Canadians to collect their life stories, family and community histories. The idea is to collect, and document, these collections for the upcoming 150 anniversary of the founding of Canada in 2017. For further information go to the Canada 150 web page.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fragments From The Forks

I attended the book launch on Saturday of Daniel J. Brock's new book "Fragments From The Forks" at the Attic bookshop here in London. Sponsored by the London and Middlesex Historical Society the book launch was well attended. As a member of the Society I was able to get my own copy.

According to the author this book is the result of 30 years of patiently accumulating data on London's history. For over 500 pages -in chronological order- it lists events, people, and well -fragments- of London's history. I would not necessarilly refer to this book as a history but more of a reference book. The index is very well done, and this as much as anything makes this book a useful reference tool.

At the back of the book Daniel Brock has included tables of demographic and area stastics, listings of public officials, and a price index calculator.

In my own area of interest which is the military history of the region quite a bit has been missed; however, that in no way takes away from the usefulness of the volume.

The book is published by the Aylmer Express Ltd. and is available for $40 for the softcover and $50 for the hard cover edition.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

London 1900

An ad from "The London Advertiser" January 3, 1900. Kingsmill's is still around. As kids we called it the Quiet store.
It is the new century. As those of us who witnessed the change from the twentieth to the twenty-first century know that it is a big event. Right. Well - not if you go through 1900 in the two London dailies. As far as I can tell there were no big parties. At least none reported in the papers. Head line news in January 1900 was the war in South Africa. British Empire troops were kicking ass. At least as far as the London papers were concerned. A large crowd turned out to see off London’s boys who volunteered for the Mounted Rifles. Both papers would continue to closely follow their adventures in South Africa.

Frederick George Rumball (1) was elected mayor in January 1900( mayors at that time served one term, and were elected in early January).

From "The London Free Press, October 1, 1940. It's the only picture that I have been able to find of Mayor Rumball. I expect that in 1900 he had darker hair.
The century may have changed but London did not. Electricity was yet to come. Public transit was horse drawn. Homes were heated by coal. The refrigerator was the ice box. Newspapers had yet to find the technology to include photographs in their stories. Light was supplied by candle or kerosene lamp. The telephone had made it to London though.

This photo was actually taken around 1885 at the corner of Richmond and Dundas. There would be virtually no changes in the streetscape by 1900. The horse drawn trolly would not be replaced by electric trolleys for another 10  years after 1900.
 One thing that did not, and has not, changed is the ridiculous advertisments in the papers.

As if I needed further reasons to drink beer. I just knew it was a food group.

I guess being a 98 pound weekling was a worry even in 1900. This ad appears in both papers throughout 1900.
And now for the scary ad.

I did not know that Chase & Sandborn had been around since 1900. Today grandfathers use sugar to give the little tykes that get up and spin.

(1) Frederick George Rumball was born 8 December 1853 in Clinton, Huron County, Canada West to Benjamin Rumball and Mary Johnston. He died 1 October 1940 at Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario. In 1900 he was a lumber merchant in London.