The 1891 Census of Canada makes our little Calhoun family seem so normal, cohesive. As I have seen on other Census data, the age noted for Robert is wrong. It says he is 42, but depending on when the census was actually taken, he would be 43 or 44 and Eliza is listed as 38 but she is either 36 or 37. The family patriarch, Robert, is 44 and an Agent (probably still for Rathbun Lumber Company). Eliza is 37 and a housewife. The family religion is said to be Methodist. All the children are still listed in their household: Charley is 19 (and listed as a YMCA Secretary, Grace is 17, Bertha is 15, Alex is 11, Marion is 7, Kathleen is 4, and Doug is 1. Very tidy.
Research within the family (grandchildren of Charley’s) tells me that Charley and his father didn’t get along. In fact, Charley’s granddaughter, Diane, tells me that he had been beaten down (at least mentally) by his father. He left the family home early and separated himself from his parents. He wanted to go to college but never had the opportunity because there was not enough money. Charley went out and got a job. He was a very religious man and the YMCA would have been a great place for him. The YMCA’s mission was to engage young men and promote Christian values. Charley was a very religious man throughout his life.
I wonder if Charley’s father, Robert, had felt trapped by his wife’s pregnancy and took it out on Charley, though there is also evidence that he was not always kind to his wife. This came out in letters between his daughters, Marion and Kathleen.
His mother, Eliza, on the other hand, was always written about and talked about as being a very kind woman. Her children and her grandchildren adored her.
In 1891, daughter Grace had begun teaching. She was teaching in Belleville and the rest of the family, save Charley, had moved to Ottawa about 2-3 years later…the family story is that Robert was looking for educational opportunities for his very bright children.
Charley moved to Montreal, Quebec with the YMCA and continued to excel in that organization. He became a master fundraiser, and worked his way up to the International YMCA and worked in New York. He married EFFIE MARGARET BUDGE, the boss’s daughter, and had a family of 4 girls and a boy (Margaret Calhoun Sedgewick, Robert Budge Calhoun, Kathleen Calhoun Leathem, Eileen Calhoun Russell, and Beatrice Calhoun Nancekevill). He died at 86.
Grace first became a teacher, then went on to a professional course in Guelph. She became a Supervisor, ended up making more money than her father, was the first woman to own a car in the province of Ontario, and was very prominent in Ottawa schools for her entire career. She never married and died at 77.
Bertha was the real mystery. She appears to have been “simple”; I think that was the word that family at that time used to describe her. She lived at home as a housekeeper to the family, then went to live in a hospital. She died, unmarried, at age 99. The family took good care of her all those years.
Alex was brilliant. He earned a scholarship to go to university and became a high school teacher, then became a librarian. He was the founding librarian of the Calgary, Alberta Library system. He was an incredibly influential man in his community. He was my husband’s grandfather. He lived to be 99 years old.
Marion became a librarian at the Geological Survey of Canada, in Ottawa. She became a VAC nurse in England at the end of WW2, after the death of her brother, Douglas. She married Stewart Clifford McLean (called Mac), a Geologist. They had 2 children, Donald Douglas McLean and Kathleen (Kay) McLean. She lived to be 84 years old.
Kathleen was the youngest daughter. She became a teacher first, then followed her brother, Alex, to Alberta and became a librarian. She had an affair with a prominent, married, Canadian artist and when that ended she headed to New York City to work in the library of J. P. Morgan.
Douglas, the baby of the family, became an engineer and eventually joined the army with classmates from university. He died at Passchendale in Belgium while working on building a road for the Allied Forces.