Family History – Part Six


Family portrait of Dr. Charles Walden Thompson, Joshua’s son.


Part Six

Joshua confesses some of his own faults – his quick temper, for example, apparently a family trait; others can be deduced through his writings – pride perhaps. Still, his tone is reflective and contemplative – that of a man looking back on his own and his family’s life in the hope of creating a legacy. His zealous pen cannot conceal the deeply felt grief for parents, siblings and children long dead, or his obvious pride in his surviving children and grandchildren. In undertaking this great task, Joshua’s motivation must have been love; indeed, he loved his family so much that he dedicated years of his life revisiting a great deal of loss and sorrow by creating a written record to preserve their legacy for them, and for their descendants. Some brief updates and notes appear in the manuscript, made by Joshua, and later by his son Dr. C. W. Thompson. They end around 1920.

Part One |Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine

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2 Comments on “Family History – Part Six”

  1. I respectfully submit these most personal excerpts of letters from your Gt. Grandfather Dr. Charles to my Gt. Grandmother Gertrude..

    Dr. Charlie, in a condolence letter, dated July 9th, 1916, to his sister Gertrude, he reminisced about his little niece (Gracie 1914-1916) and how she had “worked” him to carry out little stones that she had “lugged” in from the garden. At that time he mentioned that both his sons, pictured above in their childhood (Freddy and Charlie Jr.,) were leaving London, that day (July 9th 1916) for Camp Borden. (Thankfully both young men made it through the war.) He also expressed concern for his wife, Mary (also pictured above) and her health. ” I drove her to the Cemetery this afternoon. The I.O.O.F. were decorating the graves of departed brothers – and the last they placed a bouquet on Rev. Mr. Greene’s grave. He was not an oddfellow but used to attend their decoration days. The last time Mary was out of the house was the 24th of May.” Then, in closing, that “Marion is getting along well at school – passed with honours … and that she is “waiting to post this letter…. she is our whole family now. ” and signs himself, “Your Affectionate Brother, Charlie.”

    In Feb 1923 Charlie’s son, Charlie, Jr. wrote to his uncle Herbert (Gertrude’s husband) to let him know of Dr. Charlie’s death on 18 Feb 1923 at 11:45 a.m. He described his father and his feelings, thus: “We decided there was no use sending you a wire and thought we could tell you more in this way. We have so upset we hardly know or realize what we are doing or what has happened. Our stepmother is in bed and the place was sold today.
    . . The business was all in good condition for the executors. As I said before, we cannot realize it yet. The place seems so lonely without him. He was always so full of life and such an inspiration to his family. We always came to him for advice and considered it always the very best. He had a presentment that his was his last illness but would not let them tell Fred or I of it. He was spiritually prepared. God knows that, and we know it, by his daily life.
    . . He worked up until a week ago tonight in the country and against one of the most severe storms that we have seen this winter. He was attending people then who are walking around the streets today or looking after those who were really less afflicted than he, as was often the case previously.
    . . Fred and I felt very badly to think that he should be called from us during our absence. This you will remember was also the case when our mother died while we were overseas. Well Uncle Herbert, I must close for now. I will write more later. Hoping you and Aunt Gertrude, Grandma, and your family are all well. I remain your loving nephew,
    . . C.M. Thompson
    . . P.S. Marion [sister] is surely a little brick. The funeral took place yesterday afternoon. Donations of flowers were numerous and beautiful coming from people of all walks in Life.
    . . Ernie, Lloyd, Trevor and Bert Perry were here from Hamilton; Ross Murray and Beatrice Greene from Toronto. Mrs. Harry Ward and Mrs. Israel Taylor from London and George Stewart and Alf Walden from London Township.
    . . Funeral was held yesterday afternoon from Ontario Street Methodist Church at 2:30 p.m. Ross Murray and Lloyd Thompson are still here with us.
    . . C.M.T.

    WWI Attestation Papers:
    Fred Greene Thompson

    Charles Murray Thompson

  2. Larry Says:

    Wow, Susan, that is really something. Thank you so much! I will cut and paste this and print it out for my father, who will appreciate this insight by his uncle about his grandfather. Dr. Charles Walden Thompson, by many accounts, was an extraordinary man of great heart. He died of diabetes the same year that insulin became widely available.

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