Out of 7 children born to Reuben Clarence Taylor and Leah Jane Titchworth (married December 3 1863 in Paris, Brant County, Ontario), only 3 married. Nancy Emily married Hamilton Cranston; Jane Electa married James Barclay; and William John Brown married Ida Johnson. Their other son, Thomas, was born with an “unsound mind”.
That left 3 daughters, Olivia Huberta (Bertie), Margaret Amelia, and Josephine who were maiden aunts (great-great-great aunts to be precise). According to family members, all three had a trade. Bertie was a milliner in Detroit, Michigan, Margaret worked in well-to-do homes and painted china, and Josephine ran a grocery store in Bethune, Saskatchewan.
How did Josephine end up running a store. Well, sometime between 1906 and 1911 Reuben, Leah, and Josephine along with William and his wife Ida moved to Saskatchewan. They ended up in Bethune, where William purchased a store and Josephine was supposed to run it and look after her aging parents. Something went wrong and by 1911 Reuben and Leah were living with William and his family. Reuben died in 1912 and at some point Leah moved back to Comber. But Josephine and William remained in Saskatchewan. Josephine continued to run the store until 1938 when she had to close it down.
I always wondered why she stayed in Saskatchewan even after everyone else left. From letters she wrote to her Aunt Phoebe and cousins in BC it sounds like she had a social life and many friends in Bethune. She went to dances, helped sew quilts for “the boys overseas, and sewed. Apparently she didn’t like curling though.
Of her mother’s funeral she says,
“The masons looked after everything for me. The minister, the funeral director, and pall bearers were all masons.There was lots of lovely flowers sent in…” (Her mother died in Detroit while visiting Bertie but was buried in Bethune beside her husband)
A year later she wrote about helping a friend whose mother just died.
Josephine, started out as a seamstress in Ontario, but as an unmarried woman, she learned many new skills in Saskatchewan.
“I am quite a carpenter. I can repair locks on doors, make egg crates and anything like that. I was out Saturday and this morning changing the hen yard. I have six hens…”
She still missed her siblings; many of her letters talk about family (a great find for a family historian) and how she feels ignored by them. My favourite complaint was how she thought Will would stay and visit after the funeral but he stayed only for the funeral, catching the train as soon as it was over.
She had no desire to go “back east” but eventually had no choice. With a poor economy and little money she was forced to return sometime after 1941. Josephine died in Chatham, Ontario in 1961.
Ontario County Marriage Registers; Paris, Brantford, Ontario; p 127; LDS Microfilm 1,030, 055; citing Archives of Ontario
1911 Canada Census; Village of Bethune, Regina, Saskatchewan; Page: 12; Family No: 139, http://www.ancestry.com (database online); citing Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
Kay Corbett Collection; Letters from Josephine Taylor to Pheobe Field (nee Titchworth)