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Correspondence and Photo Captions Regarding Violet and Albert Spooner (English immigrants)

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

Category: 
Culture : 
Country of Origin: 
Date of Arrival: 
1928 to 1929
Language: 
English
Creative Commons: 
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Accession Number: 
S2012.1762.1

Story Text: 

This letter, written in 1945, was addressed to my parents, Mr & Mrs.Thomas Suddes 9, Ivy Terrace, The Middles, Craghead, Stanley, County Durham.

Insert Letter Scan

The wedding present was a tablecloth.

My mother's maiden name was Marjorie Olive Gough. Her mother, my grandmother was Margaret Jane Oliver, born 1887.

Violet was her niece.

Violet was the daughter of James Oliver Spooner, who was Margaret's eldest brother. Their father was James Oliver and their mother was Sarah Ann Spooner.

Together with the letter came the following two photographs.

Insert scans of photographs

Writing on the reverse of the photographs reads :

a) this is awfully wind blown and not very good this is Victor Yvette and I taken about 3 years ago Violet

b) this is the only snap I've got of Phile this was the first year we were married Phile looks just the same the X are us Violet

Insert scans of the back of the photographs

From Ken Bullock Reference Desk Medicine Hat Library 16th February 2005.

1254 Elm Street occupied by Pamphile Dufort 1946-48

From David Stewart Medicine Hat Museum Services 1 March 2005.

Violet Mary Dufort is buried in Hillside Cemetery listed as RC169C 13N D 1960/11/03 1960/11/07. She was aged 51 years when she died.

From Tim Sterkenburgh Parks Operations Foreman City of Medicine Hat 17 March 2005. Violet was still residing at 1254 Elm Street, Medicine Hat at the time of her death.

From Norma Wolowyk Alberta Genealogical Society 20 March 2005.

Joseph Louis Oliver Dufort died 1st April 1961.

From Norma Wolowyk 28 March 2005.

His obituary in the local newspaper says Mr. Phil Dufort aged 71 years of 1254 Elm Street died 1st April 1961.

From David Stewart 1 March 2005. Victor married a woman called Marjory Victor worked for Medalta Potteries and then Oglivy's Mill.

From Norma Wolowyk 20 March 2005. Yvette married Mr. J. Boksteyn.

Then on 3 April 2005 I received a phone call from John Boksteyn in Canada, He was Yvette's husband and informed me that Violet's maiden name was Spooner. My maternal Great Grandmother was Sarah Ann Spooner. She married James Oliver Spooner, March 1871 Mitford Norfolk.

Insert photograph of man with little boy

This is the only photograph I have of his father James Oliver taken in the early 1900's with his horse and cart and his nephew John Albert Worthy.

See hard copy for census returns and immigration records.

The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle from John Boksteyn 13th April 2005

Howdy Eric,

First off let me tell you that I don't mind at all assisting you with your work. Over the years I often received similar help with my geneolgy hobby. Yes I did receive your documents they came through clear. Sorry my page did not make it and of course I wonder why. We will try again.

Further to your query, it was Albert Spooner who arrived in Canada first in the late twenties. He spent just a bit of time on the prairies and moved on to British Columbia and worked in the coal mining area. It is believed that he passed away in Duncan on Vancouver Island. His sister Violet arrived in Canada in 1929 as the result an ad in requesting gals to come to Canada to work as domestic assistants to settler families. She worked for a Gibson family in Acadia Valley Alberta not far from here. Not long after that she met Pamphile Dufort a French Canadian homesteader who came from the province of Quebec, where he was born April 2 1889,and died April 1,1961. I have their genealogies on file as far back as France. They married in Acadia Valley on October 30,1930 and their first child James Victor was born Oct. 28,1931, Yvette Marie March 31,1936 and Barbara Ann on May,1941.She died very young as the result of a choking incident. All were born at the Empress Alberta hospital. Violet was born Oct 19,1909 at #9 Albert Street, Windlestone, Ferryhill, County Durham. She died Nov.2, 1960 of kidney failure cause by polycystic kidney disease, a genetic problem for which no cure exist. Yvette and all my 5 sons inherited the disease and it is showing its ugly face in some of our grand children as well. More on that some other time. Violet's father was Oct 10,1869, place unknown and died July 10,????. Her mother was Margaret Laws, born 1864 and died June 13, 1920.

Eric I leave it for now. I have further bits along with photos which I will be glad to send. By all means ask questions if you have more I will answer them with the best of my knowledge, By the way you also send a note to Richard Boksteyn. He is our son. He sends you greetings. So until the next time Cheers and good health.

Insert Acadia Valley photographs.

The 1901 census returns for Ferryhill Station show Jas. Spooner living and married to Margaret Laws together a daughter Prudence born July 1900.

Since then I have received the following documentation as to the Decendants Of James Oliver Spooner. See Page 12.

I have also found your address through another Canadian contact Bram Eberhardt and wondered if you were any relation to the mentioned James Victor Dufort born 28th October 1931. If so I would love to hear from you.

Regards Eric

From National Archives of Canada Immigration Records (1925-1935)

Albert Spooner aged 26 arrived in Port of Quebec 19th August 1928 aboard Aurania.

Violet Spooner aged 19 arrived Port of Quebec 6th July 1929 aboard Megantic.

From Lorraine St-Louis Harrison Canadian Genealogy Division– A search of The British Columbia Achives Vital Events Indexes has produced the following reference

Vital Event Death Reference

Albert Oliver Spooner died 17 July 1939 in Kelowna British Columbia

My own search of this site has revealed

Vital Event Death Reference

Maybelle Louise Spooner died 7th April 1978 aged 73 Kelowna British Columbia. Could she be Albert's wife ?

Insert Family Tree scan

APPENDIX

Why did Violet and Albert emigrate to Canada ?

Hard copy of the story includes an article on female domestics coming to work in Canada. See file for article.

**************************************************************************************************************
Here ends one version or Mr. Suddes story and begins another slightly different version.
**************************************************************************************************************
This letter, written in 1945, was addressed to my parents, Mr & Mrs.Thomas Suddes 9, Ivy Terrace, The Middles, Craghead, Stanley, County Durham.

Insert Letter Scan

The wedding present was a tablecloth.

My mother's maiden name was Marjorie Olive Gough. Her mother, my grandmother was Margaret Jane Oliver, born 1887.

Violet was her niece.

Violet was the daughter of James Oliver Spooner, who was Margaret's eldest brother. Their father was James Oliver and their mother was Sarah Ann Spooner.

Together with the letter came the following two photographs.

Insert scans of photographs

Writing on the reverse of the photographs reads :

a) this is awfully wind blown and not very good this is Victor Yvette and I taken about 3 years ago Violet

b) this is the only snap I've got of Phile this was the first year we were married Phile looks just the same the X are us Violet

Insert scans of the back of the photographs

From Ken Bullock Reference Desk Medicine Hat Library 16th February 2005.

1254 Elm Street occupied by Pamphile Dufort 1946-48

From David Stewart Medicine Hat Museum Services 1 March 2005.

Violet Mary Dufort is buried in Hillside Cemetery listed as RC169C 13N D 1960/11/03 1960/11/07. She was aged 51 years when she died.

From Tim Sterkenburgh Parks Operations Foreman City of Medicine Hat 17 March 2005. Violet was still residing at 1254 Elm Street, Medicine Hat at the time of her death.

From Norma Wolowyk Alberta Genealogical Society 20 March 2005.

Joseph Louis Oliver Dufort died 1st April 1961.

From Norma Wolowyk 28 March 2005.

His obituary in the local newspaper says Mr. Phil Dufort aged 71 years of 1254 Elm Street died 1st April 1961.

From David Stewart 1 March 2005. Victor married a woman called Marjory Victor worked for Medalta Potteries and then Oglivy's Mill.

From Norma Wolowyk 20 March 2005. Yvette married Mr. J. Boksteyn.

Then on 3 April 2005 I received a phone call from John Boksteyn in Canada, He was Yvette's husband and informed me that Violet's maiden name was Spooner. My maternal Great Grandmother was Sarah Ann Spooner. She married James Oliver Spooner, March 1871 Mitford Norfolk.

Insert photograph of man with little boy

This is the only photograph I have of his father James Oliver taken in the early 1900's with his horse and cart and his nephew John Albert Worthy.

See hard copy for census returns and immigration records.

The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle from John Boksteyn 13th April 2005

Howdy Eric,

First off let me tell you that I don't mind at all assisting you with your work. Over the years I often received similar help with my geneolgy hobby. Yes I did receive your documents they came through clear. Sorry my page did not make it and of course I wonder why. We will try again.

Further to your query, it was Albert Spooner who arrived in Canada first in the late twenties. He spent just a bit of time on the prairies and moved on to British Columbia and worked in the coal mining area. It is believed that he passed away in Duncan on Vancouver Island. His sister Violet arrived in Canada in 1929 as the result an ad in requesting gals to come to Canada to work as domestic assistants to settler families. She worked for a Gibson family in Acadia Valley Alberta not far from here. Not long after that she met Pamphile Dufort a French Canadian homesteader who came from the province of Quebec, where he was born April 2 1889,and died April 1,1961. I have their genealogies on file as far back as France. They married in Acadia Valley on October 30,1930 and their first child James Victor was born Oct. 28,1931, Yvette Marie March 31,1936 and Barbara Ann on May,1941.She died very young as the result of a choking incident. All were born at the Empress Alberta hospital. Violet was born Oct 19,1909 at #9 Albert Street, Windlestone, Ferryhill, County Durham. She died Nov.2, 1960 of kidney failure cause by polycystic kidney disease, a genetic problem for which no cure exist. Yvette and all my 5 sons inherited the disease and it is showing its ugly face in some of our grand children as well. More on that some other time. Violet's father was Oct 10,1869, place unknown and died July 10,????. Her mother was Margaret Laws, born 1864 and died June 13, 1920.

Eric I leave it for now. I have further bits along with photos which I will be glad to send. By all means ask questions if you have more I will answer them with the best of my knowledge, By the way you also send a note to Richard Boksteyn. He is our son. He sends you greetings. So until the next time Cheers and good health.

Insert Acadia Valley photographs.

Then I received the following information from Kathleen Burgar of Canada Genealogy Forum.

Headline on Tuesday,9 October 1945 in The Lethbridge Herald

Medicine Hat Toddler Strangles

Barbara Ann Dufort, four year old daughter of Mr and Mrs Pamphile Dufort of Medicine Hat, strangled to death Monday when a grape lodged in her windpipe. The little girl died before medical aid could be summoned. A Funeral Service will be held today.

1911 Census of Canada

Name: Pamphil Dufort

Gender: Male

Marital Status: Single

Age: 22

Birth Date: Apr 1889

Birthplace: Quebec

Relation to Head of House: Fils (Son)

Father's Name: Victor Dufort

Mother's Name: Diana Dufort

Tribal: French

Province: Quebec

District: Labelle

District Number: 165

Sub-District: Kiamika Township, Gérard de Montarville Village

Sub-District Number: 17

Household Members: Name Age

Victor Dufort 51

Diana Dufort 45

Pamphil Dufort 22

Cobelle Dufort 20

Hermas Dufort 16

Marquerite Dufort 12

Gerardo Dufort 10

Norbert Dufort 8

Adjutor Dufort 6

The 1901 census returns for Ferryhill Station show Jas. Spooner living and married to Margaret Laws together a daughter Prudence born July 1900.

Since then I have received the following documentation as to the Decendents of James Oliver Spooner.

I have also found your address through another Canadian contact Bram Eberhardt and wondered if you were any relation to the mentioned James Victor Dufort born 28th October 1931. If so I would love to hear from you.

Regards Eric

From National Archives of Canada Immigration Records (1925-1935)

Albert Spooner aged 26 arrived in Port of Quebec 19th August 1928 aboard Aurania.

Violet Spooner aged 19 arrived Port of Quebec 6th July 1929 aboard Megantic.

From Lorraine St-Louis Harrison Canadian Genealogy Division - A search of The British Columbia Achives Vital Events Indexes has produced the following reference:

Vital Event Death Reference

Albert Oliver Spooner died 17 July 1939 in Kelowna British Columbia.

He is buried in Kelowna Memorial Cemetery Pioneer Section Section A Block 5 Row 41 Lot 62 to a depth of 6 feet. The funeral took place on July 20th 1939 at 2 pm. Albert was an Anglican. Dr. J. S. henderson issued the death certificate. The undertaker was Kelowna Furniture Company. Rev. F.M. Dixon officiated at the Service and the informant for the file was H.W. Colton. from Ketowna Memorial Cemetery Records.

http://www.genealogysearch.org/canada/britishcolumbia.html

death date:17 Jul 1939

death place:Kelowna, British Columbia,

Canada name:Albert Oliver Spooner

gender:Male

age:37y 9m 23d

birth date:24 Sep 1901

birthplace:, England

marital status:Widower

spouse:

father:James Spooner

British Columbia archives film number:B13166 registration number:4117

Bernard Avenue Kelowna circa 1930

Insert Family Tree scan

Immigration Records (1925-1935)

Surname: Spooner

Given name: Violet

Age: 19

Sex: F

Nationality: En

Date of arrival: 1929/07/06

Port of arrival: Quebec , Quebec

Ship: MEGANTIC , White Star Dominion

Surname: Spooner

Given name: Albert

Age: 26

Sex: M

Nationality: En

Date of arrival: 1928/08/19

Port of arrival: Quebec, Quebec

When Albert died on 17th July 1939 in Kelowna, Canada it was stated in his death details that he was a widower.

After much searching I have found that in the December Quarter of 1921 an Albert Spooner married Jane Hannah Anderson. The marriage being registered in Sedgefield, County Durham.

Jane had been born in the September Quarter of 1902 in the Sedgefield District.

Then in the March Quarter of 1922 Jane gave birth to a daughter, who was named Jane. Unfortunately her death was recorded immediately in the same Quarter.

In the September Quarter of 1923 Jane gave birth to a son, named Albert.

Then in the December Quarter of 1924 Jane gave birth to a son, who was named Arthur. Unfortunately at the age of 2, in the June Quarter of 1927, Arthur too died.

Was this too much for Albert . Was losing his daughter and son the reason why he decided to emigrate to Canada, to perhaps find a better life, for him and his family?

It doesn't appear that Jane went with young Albert, to live with her husband, Albert, in Canada, as there are no records in Pier 21 Archives of a Jane Spooner arriving in Canada. She died in the March Quarter of 1937, in Auckland, County Durham, leaving Albert a widower, in Canada, where he died, in Kelowna, in July 1939. He is buried in Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, Pioneer Section (section A)

I have found no record of the death of young Albert so perhaps his mother Jane wished to remain in England and not join Albert in Canada.

If you have any information about this family please send it to library@pier21.ca so that it can be forwarded to me.

APPENDIX

Why did Violet and Albert emigrate to Canada ?

Hard copy of the story includes an articles on recruiting and ship information. See story file for additional information.