EARLY LIFE – ONTARIO
The family settled in the Alton area after emigrating from Wales in the early 19000s. They took up a homestead just southwest of Alton as shown below.
Of the many children board to John;s parents, he was the last one. Many of his sisters and brothers chose to remain in Ontario, mostly in the Alton area. Thus there are still many family members scattered about Ontario.
John’s family that moved from Alton, Ontario in the early 1890s included John, his wife Lillie and his son Earl David as well as his sisters Julie and Hattie. He established a homestead somewhere near Ashland, Wisconsin.
FAMILY GOING TO MEDICINE HAT
It is interesting to note that John proceeded to Medicine Hat, Albert in 1895 and set up a homestead just north of the town.
It is apparent that John made several trips back to the Wisconsin homestead, as his two daughters Fern and Ethyl were born in Wisconsin (1895 and 1897, respectively).
Subsequent to those events, the entire family moved to Medicine Hat to take up residence in the Hat homestead, with the exception of Julie and Hattie.. This would have been about 1898, so that Earl David would have been about five years of age, Ethyl about two, and Fern about one. It must have been quite a journey from Ashland, Wisconsin to Medicine Hat! We know that John was in the Hat in 1897 because a newspaper article indicated that he had built some homes in Medicine Hat, thus beginning his career as a builder/contractor.
The photo shows John with his two sisters and this was taken in Ashland.
LIFE IN MEDICINE HAT
John arrived in Medicine Hat in 1895, having come directly from Wisconsin. He brought his son Earl David with him, but left behind his wife Lillie and his wife’s sister Alice.
During the two years that Lillie and Alice remained in Wisconsin, it appears that John returned to Wisconsin, as two daughters were born there, Ethyl and Fern.
Then in 1897 the family that had remained in Wisconsin journeyed to Medicine Hat to settle into the homestead that John created in their absence. Thus, the family in Medicine Hat now consisted of John, his wife Lillie,his son Earl David, his young daughters Ethyl and Fern, along with Lillie’s sister Alice.
Just for the record, Alice’s maiden name was Sparling, had married a David Cantelon in Ontario, but David had passed away in Ontario, thus leaving Alice on her own. Therefore, I suppose that she chose to accompany the Morris family to Wisconsin and then on to Medicine Hat. Alice subsequently married a Samuel Porter, then a Murdock Macleod. Alice is buried in Hillside Cemetery as Alice Macleod in the same plot as Murdock.
PREMATURE PASSING OF JL MORRIS
After a successful career in constructing a number of buildings in Medicine Hat, between 1897 and 1806,John passed away in the General Hospital, December 21, 1906. As shown in the image below taken from the records of the hospital,with the red check mark indicating he had died in the hospital and the reason was given as dipsomania – which is an old term for alcoholism.
EARLY FAMILY LIFE IN MEDICINE HAT
The photo below shows the family homestead located just north of Medicine Hat. It was a property at the north end of what later became 11th Avenue NE, just where the South Saskatchewan River turns west. The property was immediately to the east of this road.
The photo below was taken about 1905 and shows the first of John L’s chldren.
Once the Morris family had settled into Medicine Hat (on the homestead), it was time for some to go to school. Earl David would have started school almost as soon as the family arrived, Fern must have started school in about 1901, Ethyl in about 1902. No information is available about having these children transported into town to school from the homestead. Could it be by horse-drawn carriage and did they attend Toronto Street School. Edward would have started Grade One in about 1905.