I learned, through active research, and an invaluable 18-page letter, penned by a great-aunt who lived to be 102 years and 9 months old, that Thomas and Samuel settled in Toronto when they first arrived in Canada, but I could find no trace of my Grandfather John, their little brother, in the records I was so diligently perusing. The movements and activities of Thomas and Samuel were well-documented, including their marriages, and the death and burial of Sam's little daughter, but details about John's whereabouts or life-style refused to surface.
It was decades before I finally solved the mystery of John's non-appearance on the Toronto scene, even though the three brothers had emigrated together from Britain. Interestingly, I discovered that Thomas and Samuel (but not John) had resided for a time in a boarding-home at the foot of Bay Street, directly across from the building site where, nearly 100 years later, my husband set up his brokerage business. By that time, of course, the modest houses on the opposite side of the street had been demolished, and replaced with the modern glass and steel structures of today.
I knew that in the 1890's, Thomas, Samuel, and John, together again, had moved on, heeding the admonition to "Go West, Young Man!" and had taken up land hear Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. But where had John been when his two guardian brothers were working, marrying, and living in Toronto? A blank wall! I was becoming resigned to the fact that I would never find the missing piece of the puzzle, but fate stepped in most unexpectedly, and provided the solution to my conundrum.
By chance, I met a member of the Historical Society of Parkbeg, Saskatchewan, and was surprised to learn that she had done some research on our family. She was able to tell me that John, a carpenter by trade back in Devon, was of a theological bent, and had enrolled at Albert College in Belleville, Ontario, as a student Methodist Minister. When he headed to the Moose Jaw area after graduation in 1890, he worked as the local preacher in the area, probably as a circuit rider covering a wide territory. For a year or two, he assisted Dr. John Maclean, who came to Moose Jaw after nine years on the Blood Indian Reserve near MacLeod, Alberta.These experiences would have been far different from any he had encountered in the peaceful farmland of England, and, no doubt, infinitely more daunting.
The three brothers from Britain left their mark as pioneers who helped form the Province of Saskatchewan. Thomas became a rancher and farmer in the Moose Jaw area where the original homestead, as well as the school Thomas built, near Tilney, still stand. Samuel became a C.P/R. Engineer, and lived out his days in Moose Jaw. Both brothers had families who, in turn, obeyed the Biblical command to "Go forth and multiply," and many of these descendants have spread out to all parts of the Prairies, and far beyond.