Note N5 Index
My grandmother's name seems to have been spelled 3 different ways: Isabel, Isobel and Isabelle. However one spelled her name, she was my favourite.
She was born in Calgary before it was incorporated as a city in 1894. In 1894, the city population was 3.900 people. So in 1892, it was likely even less because in 1884, the population was only 506 people.
Note N6 Index
In the 1901 census his year of birth is shown as 1879 not 1880. Is this a mistake? I do not think so based on his age in his second marriage certificate. There he says he was 41 years old in June 1921. That would make him born in 1880. I have been unable to find his birth registration for either year in Ontario. Did his parents move to the USA before he was born and come back before his sister Bessie was born? Her registration can be found. As well, I cannot find the family in either the 1880 USA census or the 1881 Canadian census. Were they on the move?
After much searching, I finally found him in the 1911 census for Moosejaw District, Saskatchewan. He, Jean, Vera, Lawrence and Helen are listed. He is shown as born in April 1880.
For the 1921 census, he and all of the kids except Helen were living at 1417, 4th and 1/2 Street East, Calgary. John is shown as a carpenter.
On his daughter Vera's birth certificate issued in 1913, living at 737 Nelson St. (what city was that in) he is listed a "stove mounter". He spent most of his life as a carpenter as I understand it. Austin says that John R. told him that when he, Austin, was a teenager that John R. worked on the Narrows bridge in Vancouver, 90 feet under water, in a cofferdam. I have several pictures of him dressed as a carpenter, including one where he is working on the construction of Crescent Heights High School in Calgary. On his second marriage registration, he is listed as a baker. Dad says that he was a baker in Drumheller. My sister Sharie says that she has his recipe book and that she is going to give it to me, however, I neglected to get it.
In one letter from his sister Verda and on the back of some pictures, he is called "Jack".
He came down to Ontario for his mother's funeral in January 1938 and stayed and then lived in the house on Queen St. in St. Marys He took the house as his portion of his legacy. He did carpentry work in the area. He also attended the school reunion for Cherry Grove School. I know that because i have a photograph of his class and the old school which is labeled 1938 and because I found an inscription on the back of a mirror when we were selling my parent's furniture. It read:
J. R. Timms
July 4th, 1938
Longest Distance Old Boy
from Calgary, Alberta
He was in Ontario for a year or more and then in August 1939, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Cecil came out from Calgary and took his dad back to Calgary in September or October. Dad says that he and Cecil drove back to Calgary in a "coop" with Ontario plates. What he did with the sale proceeds is unknown. I should do a title search sometime.
Austin says that John R. said that his dad was a quick driver and would have been dead if he had driven cars and not horses. Austin also says that grandfather John had reputation for sticking up for the little guy and getting into fights as a result.
Austin says that he gave himself the "R" and was known as "J.R." but also says that it might have stood for Robert. The family bible does not have 2nd name. On the marriage certificate for my parents, he is shown as "John Rodger Timms." On his marriage certificate for his second marriage - to Sarah Anne Montgomery - he gives his name as "John Robert Timms. That says he was born in Perth County, Ontario. I should try to get his actual birth certificate.
In the 1930 Calgary Directory, he was shown as a carpenter living at 824 6th Ave. W., which was the same address as Cecil. There was also a Lorne Timms, a taxi driver living at the address - who was he? Was that Lawrence? By 1931, no Timms except Vera were noted in the Directory. I now know that J.R. had moved to Winnipeg some time before January 1930 because I found a card from him to Vera bearing the date January 6, 1930. He shows up again in Calgary by 1936 and gone again in 1937. He does not show up again until 1944. Why given that he was dead in 1940? As well, among Vera's things I found a "Marked Testament" with an inscription inside dated January 3, 1931, Winnipeg, Man. It seems to be from a Martie. That matches with his third wife Martha. John himself seems to have written the words: "be at Edmonton Alta looking for work Oct 15th/31". And then he signed it.
My understanding is that he moved around a lot, especially after the death of his first wife in 1918. He would have been 38 years old then. When exactly he was in Innisfail is unclear to me. From pictures of Vera in the country, I would guess it was around 1920. Were they living there when Jean died?
I have found a couple of border crossings for him in the 20s and 30s. One is from September 2, 1923 at East Port, Idaho. He is accompanied by two of the children who have their separate cards. He gives his next of kin as his uncle William Haley in Calgary. He gives his last permanent place of residence as Lethbridge. He says that he is a carpenter going to Los Angeles. On the same day, there is a card for Lawrence Timms. He is one of the two children with his father. Luckily, he is also going to LA. He is 16 years old. Cecil is with him as well, and is age 9. That is slightly off.
There is another card re this crossing in Idaho. It says that he had never been in the US before. I cannot read the entry as to how long he intended to be in the US. The destination on this card is also unreadable but it does not appear to be California. There is also a "primary inspection memorandum from April 11, 1923 showing John going to Washington State. Perhaps that is the destination on the second card and it is in fact the first time that John went to the US?
There is an entry for Vera travelling to Oregon on July 20, 1925, to visit her friend Mrs. Peterson in Portland. That card says that she was intending to become a permanent resident of the US She lists her father John as he next of kin living in Calgary.
The more puzzling entry is one for John. It is an apparent transit through East Port, Idaho on October 26, 1933. He is accompanied by someone whose name seems to be J. T. Cohen. He lists his next of kin at his place of departure as his sister Vera at 1217, 14th Avenue SW in Calgary. His last permanent place of residence was shown as Blaney, Alberta? He is on his way to Vancouver to 1636 10th Avenue West Vancouver where his wife Martha was. I have absolutely no idea who Martha might be?
What exactly happened to his second wife? I found a note written by my father that said that she had died of typhoid fever, in Drumheller Alberta, shortly after they were married. That same note said that she served with the English Salvation Army in both Japan and China in WW1. She is supposed to be buried in Drumheller.
Then there is his third wife In December 2003, dad told me some rather surprising news about grandfather Timms. Apparently John R. Timms married a third time after the death of Montgomery. Dad did not know the third wife's name. They apparently met when John Timms was working as a carpenter at the Seven Sisters Falls Bridge in Manitoba. They were supposedly married in Manitoba. His new bride was a widow with a son. After John Timms' death, the new Mrs. Timms moved to Vancouver. But dad also said that John and his new wife and her son lived there in the early 40's, so who knows. There is a picture of John R. and a woman standing outside a house with the number 781 on it. It was winter as there was snow on the ground. Dad says it was in Winnipeg. This is confirmed by a picture shown to me by cousin Robert Timms which shows his father Larry and uncle Ray (Cecil) standing outside of a home with the number 781. There is another one at the same house and on the back it says "781 Lipton St., Winnipeg, 1931." In September 1995, I was in Winnipeg. I was able to find John R. in both the city directory and, after much pouring over of records, in the 1932 municipal voters' list. It was in Ward 2, polling station 18. He was living at 781 Lipton St. with Martha A. Timms He was noted as being a carpenter. He was not there in 1931 or 1933.
I looked at the Winnipeg city directories. Starting in 1926, there is a John Timms, labourer living at 388 Logan. He continues to live there until at least 1935. I believe that my John Timms shows up in 1932 when there is a listing for a John Timms, carpenter, living at 781 Lipton. That certainly matches the above. In 1933, he is at 655 Maryland. Then in 1935, there is a John Timms, carpenter, at 315 Harcourt and there is a William Timms living at the same address. If John was my John, then who was William? In the card that I mention above [the one sent to Vera on January 6, 1930] John mentions "the Jane" which I take it was his car. He also says that he was going to a bridge party that evening. Perhaps that is where he met his third wife.
Among the interesting papers that I found among Vera's belongings was a promissory note dated June 30, 1928. Vera was promising to pay her father $75 within three months. It looks like she paid a bit late but did pay.
There is a photo of Larry and Ray with a car with 1934 Ontario license plates on it. Were they living in Ontario for part of that year? My father says that John and Larry and Ray moved to Ontario in 1935. I will have to follow that up.
The Calgary Herald death announcement read:
TIMMS - In this city, Jan. 13, John Timms, 406 Anderson Apts. Funeral service will be conducted by Rev. Alfred Bright, at SHAVER'S Park Memorial Chapel, Wednesday morning at 10:30 o'clock. Internment at Innisfail, Alberta.
Another announcement said:
FORMER INNISFAIL RESIDENT DIES HERE
John Timms, aged 59, of 406 Anderson Apartments, died on Saturday evening, following a long illness. He was born in Perth County, Ontario and before coming to Calgary recently had resided at Innisfail for several years. Surviving are two daughters, Miss Vera Timms and Mrs. Helen Bierwagon of Calgary; three sons, Lawrence of Vancouver, Cecil and Lester of Calgary; a brother Russel of St. Marys, Ontario; three sisters, Mrs. R. Germaine of Ottawa, Mrs. J. Proctor and Mrs. R. Owens of Chicago. Rev. Alfred Bright will conduct funeral services at the Shaver funeral home at 10:30 A.M. Wednesday. Burial will be in the Innisfail cemetery.
Dad says that John R. Timms first tried his hand at ranching near Vanguard Saskatchewan. I have some pictures of dad when he was very young indeed which may well have been taken there.