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PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM – 1911 to 1939
Commentary by DAVID MEAKES
My nephew Manfred Meakes and his wife Myckee recently gave me the enjoyable task of re-organizing four old, dilapidated photograph albums, and even more importantly identifying as many as possible of those who appeared in the pictures. As almost the only one still alive whose picture appeared in those albums, that job logically became mine.
With only a few exceptions this album consists of only those photographs found in the four albums. Thus they are not necessarily the best available of that period. There are some better pictures in other albums including my own. The largest mass of the pictures were primarily of the ‘home farm’ so that is the focus of this resulting album. There were additionally about 75 pictures of unknown people and places, and about 180 pictures of peripheral relatives – uncles, aunts and cousins and as I assume they would be of minimal interest to Manfred and my three nieces, I have included only a few representative pictures of them near the end of the album. I will leave those extra pictures with Manfred (not in the album) so that they can be reviewed if necessary. The photographs were almost all glued in and had to be soaked off. This did not help the clarity of the pictures which were already mostly of poor quality. But in those days enhanced film sensitivity was still in the future as was color and ‘speed’ and battery usage. Ideal light was required for good pictures. Cameras were mostly the ‘box’ variety and had a simple one-speed spring to open the lens. A small movement of either camera or subject resulted in a blurred picture. BUT – the pictures are the ‘stuff of memory’.
The ‘James Meakes farm’ (at 1-28-15—west of 2nd meridian) was about one hundred miles north of Regina, Saskatchewan and about 175 miles east of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Dad (James or Jim) homesteaded there about 1906. The first pictures in this album started about 1911 and it wasn’t long before he started his series of pictures of his sons (eventually five) dressed in their ‘Sunday best’ and usually with unhappy faces.
As some of my relatives appear in these pictures a few identifications and also ages should help in a better understanding. My father’s mother Eliza was born in England in 1850 and her husband (my grandfather), born 1837 died in 1890. In 1896 she married Charles Marshall, born 1866 died in 1954. They immigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada in 1910, lived in the left hand house as it appears in the pictures in this album. They later moved to Vernon, British Columbia about 1922.
My mother’s father Henry Latham Butcher was born in England in 1847. His wife Emily Scutt was born in England in 1851. In 1904 (at his age of 57) they courageously immigrated to Saskatchewan with nine of their ten children, including my mother Elsie. Grandfather Henry died in 1918 and grandmother Emily in 1929.
My father James was born in England in 1877, immigrated to Manitoba for about 6 years, then homesteaded in Saskatchewan in 1906. Married my mother, Elsie Butcher, in 1908. They had five sons – Jamie (James Mann) born in 1909, Harry born in 1911, Art (Arthur) born in 1912, Frank born in 1917, and David (me) born in 1922.
My dad had three siblings: Charlie who lived in Melbourne, Australia until his death in 1935, with his wife Annie and had one son Charlie who died in 1931; Tom who lived in Grand Forks, British Columbia died in 1929. With his wife Myrtle they had three children, Ralph, Walter and Glady; Sister Louisa, my ‘Aunt Louie’ who didn’t marry, lived with her mother, Eliza, and died in 1949.
My mother had 9 siblings:
Mabel married George Longley, lived in Brandon, Manitoba – children: Reg (killed in WW1), Ernie, Dorothy (Dot), Majorie, and Jean
Harry: Lawyer & MP, lived in Punnichy, Sask. – never married
Frank: CPR land agent, lived in Foam Lake, Sask., wife Edith and one son Lawrence
Claud: Store executive, lived in Victoria, B.C. wife Nellie, children: Alice, Emily, John
Hilda: never married, lived in Punnichy with brother Harry.
Elsie: married James Meakes – details above.
Maude: Married Jim Gwynn, lived in Punnichy, children: Mary, Henry and Bill
Ethel: Married Roger Bray, lived in Saskatoon, children: Ronald and Gordon
Clare: Married Tom Motherwell, lived in Punnichy, children: Kenneth, Kathleen, Donald
Nora: Married Sid Crabtree, lived in Leross, Sask, children: Joyce and Ralph