My husband’s great-grandfather, ROBERT CHARLES CALHOUN, emigrated to Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada, following his hasty marriage in Dublin in 1872 (as I wrote about in an earlier post). In the frontier lumber town of Fenelon Falls, he got a job as a clerk…I understand he was working for one of the three lumber businesses operating in the area at the time.
After several years, his name also appears in the public records of Fenelon Falls. He had become a recording clerk for the area. I found his name and handwriting (which was quite easy to read and beautiful, actually) in the record books for births and deaths. Recording the birth of his own daughter, MYRA ISABELLA CALHOUN, on 27 February 1882 must have brought him a great deal of joy. Not only were the name and date of birth recorded but also such details as the names of the father and mother, the rank or profession of the father, the name and address of the informant, the date of the registration, and the name of the attending physician (in this case, Dr. A. Wilson, M. D.).
I am not sure if he did this work to bring in a little extra income, whether he was having trouble with his other employment, or what. It certainly allowed Robert to come in contact with his neighbors and get to know them a bit better, whether they were reporting something joyous like a birth, or something tragic like a death.
Unfortunately, Robert had the awful job of recording his youngest child, Myra Isabella, at her death at the untimely age of 8 months, 10 days. Again, his careful and beautiful writing is clear. Myra died on 6 November 1882 of Tuberculosis/Consumption after an illness of 3 months. Again, the attending physician was Dr. A. Wilson, M. D., who was also listed as the informant. The date of the record was 23 December 1882. For some reason, the religion of deceased was also listed (Methodist).
Robert finished out the year 1882 with that said record of his own daughter’s death and then resigned as Clerk. He and his little family moved to Gananoque, Ontario, to begin anew. Myra wasn’t the only child Robert had lost in Fenelon Falls in his decade there. He had lost an infant son, Alexander William, in 1877. Maybe the losses were too much for him and his wife, ELIZABETH ANNE PARKE, and they decided to move on to a place without the sad memories. My heart breaks for them both.