Tuesday, February 18, 2014

52 ANCESTORS in 52 WEEKS, #8: Charles LEWIS, Canada

Following the challenge of writing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, issued by Amy Johnson Crow, here is my 8th installment, for Charles LEWIS, my children's 2nd great-grandfather on their father's line.

Charles LEWIS, the 2nd great-grandfather to my children, is reportedly born 4 Oct 1828 in the Village of Bath, Ontario, near Kingston Ontario.  Bath is a lovely village on the shores of Lake Ontario, and was settled by United Empire Loyalists from the new United States. In fact, 3 small villages - as well as other smaller nearby settlements - are to be found in "Loyalist Township": Bath, Amherstview, and Odessa. 

I know very little about Charles' parents. The first Census record I have found is the 1851/2 Canada West Census, which I am relatively certain lists Charles. He is only listed as "C. Lewis", is 24 years old, Single, born in CW (Canada West), and religion is CofE (Church of England). His occupation is Blacksmith, which later shows up as his occupation on the later census records.  Click on the Blacksmith link for interesting details.

By 1861 Census of Ernestown, Lennox & Addington county, Charles is found as married to Elizabeth, either 21 or 27 yrs of age to his 32 yrs. Ernestown is only a few kilometers west of Bath. Charles & Elizabeth must have been married in approximately 1852 or 1853, as their eldest son, Isaac, is stated to be 7 yrs of age. Two other little boys, 4 and 2 yrs of age, make up the rest of the family.  Elizabeth states she is Irish in origin, and born in Ireland; both state their religion as "W. Meth." Wesleyan Methodist.  Charles' occupation is again listed as "BlkSmith".  

In the 1871 Census of the Village of Bath, Lennox & Addington, Ontario, Charles & Elizabeth are found with all 8 children, all born in Ontario, Charles listed as a Blacksmith once more.  A confusing point is that he is listed as German in origin, born in Ontario, and all the children are also listed as of German origin.  I am fairly certain this is an error of the enumerator. 
Children - eldest, Isaac is the direct ancestor:
 - Isaac Charles b.20 Jul 1855 in Bath ON, m. 3 Dec 1885 in Winnipeg MB to Alma Jane AIKEN, d. 17 Apr 1937 in Vancouver BC
-  Arthur b. abt 1857, d. after 1881 (ON)
-  William b. abt 1859, d. after 1881 (ON)
-  Ellen Arminia b. Feb 1860, m. James Carrick Miller 1 Dec 1887 in Elton MB, d. 1945 in Victoria BC
-  Frederick Allen b. 25 Apr 1863, m. Isabella Lockeridge 13 Jun 1894 Brandon MB, d. after 1937 likely in Brandon MB
-  Richard b. abt 1865; not found after 1881 (ON)
-  Charles b. abt 1868; not found after 1891 (MB)
-  Eva Maria b. 2 Jun 1870, m. Alexander C. Davidson 20 Jun 1894 Brandon MB, d. 15 Mar 1948 in Vancouver BC

Charles & Elizabeth plus the children are found again in the 1881 Census of the Village of Bath, living next to a Richard Campion - one of the clues I found for his wife's name [her brother].

1891 finds Charles & Elizabeth living north of Winnipeg in Selkirk Manitoba, with two children, Frederick & Eva, and two of their boys, Richard and Charles, living next to them. Charles is still working as a Blacksmith. His older son Frederick is listed as a Merchant, his two younger sons are listed as being Farmers.

Charles' wife, Elizabeth, apparently died between 1891 and 1901, as in the 1901 Census he is shown as Widowed, living with his youngest child, Eva, and her family (A.C. Davidson), in Brandon, MB.

The 1906 Prairie Provinces Census shows him living in Brandon with his older daughter, Ellen and her family (J.C. Miller).   Also in 1911 Census, he is still living with Ellen and her family.  By this time, several of his children had moved to British Columbia, including the eldest, Isaac.

In early 1913, Charles came to Vancouver and Victoria in BC to visit his two daughters, and he died in Saanich near Victoria BC, 16 Feb 1913.  He was moved back to Brandon, MB for burial, likely where his wife was buried. 

There is a story in the LEWIS family that there is a Loyalist ancestor - and looking at Charles' birth in Ontario, particularly in Bath, seems to support that somewhat.  Perhaps his father? or his grandfather? or through the mother or grandmother's families?  I haven't been able to get back another generation at this point.  In addition, the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada doesn't seem to have a connection, as yet, through the Lewis surname.  Still, a clue is a clue, and I need to keep digging as best I can and see if I can prove or disprove the story.

If you have any questions, comments to make or other information to share, please do so below! I appreciate any comments.  I can be contacted through calewis at telus dot net.  

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Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis