Monday, January 27, 2014

52 Ancestors - Johnston Cumberland Paterson

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. This is a great way to get back into blogging. Each week focus on one ancestor and write something about him or her.  I may be a little late in getting started, but better late than never.

Johnston Cumberland Paterson was my paternal grandfather. Johnston was born July 11th in 1889 at 8:30 in the morning at 18 Commonside Street in Airdrie, Scotland. His parents were Francis Paterson and Elizabeth Danskine. His first name, Johnston was a recycled name, his grandfather being Johnston and an uncle Johnston. His middle name of Cumberland probably has some meaning as it was my father's middle name, as well.  Not sure of the significance.

Johnston was born surrounded by females.  He had one older stepsister,  three older sisters and when he was born his widow grandmother, Agnes Findlay Danskine was living with them.  Later, four more girls would follow, one dying at age 2. By the time Johnston was 8, all of his grandparents and his stepsister would have past away.

In the 1891 census Johnston and his family are living at Southfield house in Airdrie which is listed has having 5 rooms with one or more windows.  By the 1901 census, the family has moved to the much larger Monkland House which has 21 rooms with one or more windows. Somewhere between 1905 and 1907 the family losses all the money and make the decision to start anew in Canada.

On March 2nd, 1907 the family leaves Scotland headed for Canada aboard the S.S. Mongolian. Their destination was Edmonton, Alberta. Not long after their arrival in Edmonton, his oldest sister, Agnes dies of typhoid fever.

Johnston was  mechanically inclined and a "Jack of all Trades".  His occupation listed on the passenger list of the Mongolian is  engineer and in the Henderson's Edmonton directory of 1908 he is listed as a machinist. These jobs would be useful when he took up homesteading in 1909.   

At the age of 19, Johnston moves to his new homestead the SE1/4 of section 5, township 51, range 22 of the 4th meridian. Life on a new homestead would have been quite different from the large home they had in Scotland. There were shelters to build, crops to plant, and day to day living. Perseverance would pay off and in 1912, Johnston meets the Western Land Grant requirements. During 1912 Johnston would lose another sister, Janet to appendicitis. 

In 1919 Johnston loses his mother to the Spanish Flu and marries Vera Ellen Marsh Seaman. On November 3rd, 1920 Vera gives birth to a little girl. Tragically Vera dies shortly after and Johnston makes the hard decision to  give up his little girl to be adopted by Vera's brother, Kenneth.

On January 24, 1922, Johnston marries my grandmother, Dorothy Eleanor May Warry. Together they have four boys and a baby girl (who died shortly after being born). It would have been a change for Johnston to have all boys around after growing up in a very female environment. 

My grandmother, Dorothy, dies in January 1956 at the age of 57. Johnston spends the rest of his life on the homestead, passing away at the age of 79 in 1969. His grandson is still on the farm.

In 2010, the province of Alberta presents a plaque to the Paterson family commemorating the farm's 100th year milestone. 
Johnston with his sisters Lizzie & Edith and their children

Paterson Threshing Crew

Posts with more of the Paterson family

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