Tag Archives: Pheobe titchworth

Cemeteries 2

As you know, I love cemeteries. You never know what you’ll find when visiting one. I once found a living relative because of a cemetery.

My great, great aunt Pheobe Titchworth married Edward Spelling Field. They moved from Kansas, United States to Metchosin, British Columbia about 1880. While researching this family, I discovered death records noting they lived on Happy Valley Road. Well, with such a whimsical name, this was a road I wanted to drive down. The bonus;  at the end of Happy Valley Road there is a cemetery where my family is buried, right next to the St. Mary’s Anglican Church.

My friend Shirley and I decided to have a little adventure. I met her in Vancouver and we took the ferry to Victoria then drove to Happy Valley Road. We eventually found the road (my navigating skills aren’t so great) and went straight to the cemetery. Sure enough there were the tombstones for Pheobe, Edward and their children. There were also fresh flowers on one of the monuments. I started to vibrate. Someone who cared about these people was living! I had to find him/her.


I had the exact address of the original homestead from the death records. Shirley and I drove up and down Happy Valley Road a few times but couldn’t find the house There were a lot of newer homes so we figured it had been torn down. We drove onto a small road to turn around and in front of us was a big monument that said this is the original Field home. We missed it because it was a farm with small 2 storey home set off the road. I knocked on the door, explained what I was doing there. They were renters BUT had the phone number of the granddaughter of Pheobe and Edward. A call was made and off we went to visit Kay.

Well, Kay is a family historian and her house is a museum. She had everything, a picture of her grandmother, William Titchworth’s will, and even letters. It was amazing. We took pictures, and made photocopies at the store down the street and chatted with Kay while she showed us everything. It was in heaven!

It just goes to show you never know what you’ll find in a cemetery


Maiden Aunt – 52 Weeks

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.

Josephine Taylor_Bethune Sask

Josephine Taylor 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.

Tombstone_Josephine Taylor 1874 - 1961

Tombstone of 4 unmarried children of Reuben and Leah Taylor at McDowell Cemetery near Comber, Essex, Ontario

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)