Monday, June 23, 2014

52 Ancestors - Donald Francis Belknap

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  Each week focus on one ancestor and post something about him or her.

Me -My Mom - Ruby Alberta Belknap - Donald Francis Belknap

Donald Francis Belknap was the first of my great grandparents to  come to Canada. He arrived in 1899 with his father Thomas Jefferson Belknap when he was 17 years old. 

Donald was born May 14, 1882 in Marshalltown, Marshall, Iowa, USA. He was the youngest of the three children of Thomas Jefferson Belknap and Mary Elizabeth Fiddler. His older siblings were Martin Henry Belknap and Birdie Eldora Leona Belknap

Donald was 16 when his mother Mary died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. After her death, Donald and his father Thomas went to Alberta, Canada. In 1905 Donald purchased NE 4-40-24-4 by Lacombe, Alberta. His father Thomas purchased the quarter to the west. 
The purchases can be viewed at the Library and Archives Canada website under Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930 for Donald Francis Belknap and Thomas Belknap.

In March of 1906 Donald married Bertha Todd. Donald and Bertha can be found on the 1906 census with the post office address of Valley City in Sub-District 28, Strathcona, Alberta.  Sadly she died on his birthday just a year later in 1907. She is buried at the Fairview Cemetery in Lacombe. 
In 1910 Donald is back in the USA in Geddes, Charles Mix, South Dakota.  I wasn't sure why he would go to South Dakota. But taking a second look at his family I realized that his maternal grandmother Frances George Fiddler went to Geddes after her husband Henry Fiddler died in 1896. She probably went to live with her daughter Eldora Elizabeth Fiddler Pierce. So Donald would have had family in South Dakota.
It was in South Dakota that Donald married his 2nd wife Bessie Landers. After a couple of years in South Dakota and losing a newborn son Donald took his wife back to Canada by Lacombe. They cross the North Portal, Saskatchewan, Canada border on September 25, 1912.
Donald and Bessie had three girls, Bertha (Betty), Ruby, and Frances. They are in the Lacombe area till about 1918, as Donald is mentioned in  several publications around that area mostly for his water dowsing abilities. See my post Workday Wednesday - Water Witch. 
Donald is then found in Telkwa, British Columbia along with his father Thomas  and sister Birdie. He's in the Wrigley's British Columbia Directories under Telkwa for quite a few years in the 1920s either as a mixed farmer or lather. I've found the death records for two children born in Telkwa to Donald and Bessie. Uruon Azasiah Belknap was born in 1923 and Mary Elizabeth Belknap was born in 1925. They both died before the age of one. 
Donald is back in the Lacombe area by 1928, as he's once again appears in publications. In the Western Globe on December 8 1938:
TEES. - Tees news ten years
ago: After an absence of several
years, Don Belknap returned
to prove that his divining for
water wells had not been im-
paired by his sojourn in British
Columbia. Just a decade ago,
Dec. 1 1928, Don commenced a
well for B. M. Armstrong. Since
that time he has dug or located
several flowing wells, in addition
to many that didn't quite over-
flow. During this intervening
period. Donald has never hit a
dry hole, when after water.
Donald and Bessie end up in Edmonton, Alberta. Donald's wife Bessie died in Edmonton on January 27, 1947. Donald died 18 years later in Edmonton, on August 13 1965. He's buried at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery. I visited the cemetery a couple of years ago and was disappointed to find no grave maker at his plot. 
More posts on Donald's family:

Donald Francis Belknap, birth certificate Bk 1, Pg B13 (1882), Marshalltown, Marshall, Iowa, Iowa Department of Public Health, Des Moines, Polk, Iowa.
 "British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Jun 2014), Uruon Azasiah Belknap, 07 Jul 1924; citing Telkwa, British Columbia, Canada; British Columbia Archives film number B13125, Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria; FHL microfilm 1927302. 

 "British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Jun 2014), Mary Elizabeth Belknap, 08 Feb 1926; citing Telkwa, British Columbia, Canada; British Columbia Archives film number B13130, Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria; FHL microfilm 1927349. 

"Western Globe," newspaper, University of Alberta, Peel's Prairie Provinces ( : accessed 23 June 2014), December 8, 1938, Item Ar00507

No comments:

Post a Comment