Monday, 22 August 2016

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Private Thomas Cronley of Winnipeg

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts and radio shows that will look at 100 Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.

Above image: Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Thomas Cronely was born March 11, 1879 in Manchester, England. He married Ina Nickols and the two immigrated to Canada, the exact year is unknown.

The couple first appear in the Winnipeg Henderson Directory in 1907, at a rooming house at 393 Logan. His occupation is listed as bricklayer. 

In 1910, they are the homeowners of 51 Gertie Street and Thomas is working for contractor Thomas Kelly and Sons. By this time, their family of five children had started.

Winnipeg Tribune

Thomas enlisted on January 10, 1916 with the 101st Battalion and while waiting to go overseas took a job as a live-in caretaker at St. Julien Apartments, 508 McMillan Avenue. After he left, Ina and the children lived briefly at the Fortune Block on Main Street, then 361 Langside Street.

He embarked for England on July 6, 1916 aboard the S.S. Olympic. Soon after their arrival, Cronley was transferred to the 17th Battalion with whom he went to France on August 27th. In the field he joined the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish).

On the night of October 8 -9, 1916, Cronley went missing in action with no details of what happened. On August 11, 1917 he was "For official purposes presumed to have died on or since 09-10-16."

159 Evanson St., Google Street View

Until the end of the war, Ina continued to lived at 361 Langside, a resident-owned rooming house with about five suites. by 1920 she is living at a three-room rooming house at 159 Evanson.

It must have been a  time of great hardship for Ina. She was a widow with five children and there are no other Cronleys or Nickols listed in the Henderson Directory, from 1918 - 1920, indicating that there were likely no other family members here.

Thomas' pay records indicate that his $20 salary stopped being sent to Ina in December 1916. It is unclear what the reason was. In April 1917 a cheque for four months back pay was sent.

Top: Wedding photo of Thomas Cronley, (See full version at Ancestry)
Bottom: January 28, 1921, Winnipeg Tribune

On January 25, 1921 Ina Cronley died at General Hospital at the age of 41. Her death and funeral notice in the Free Press and Tribune did not provide a cause of death.

It is unknown what happened to her five children.

Canadian Great War Project entry
Canadian Virtual War Memorial entry
Attestation Papers and Military File

Friday, 19 August 2016

Call to Arms: Jacob Penner Park

I will update this post, if necessary, once the city's application becomes available. Check back later !

UPDATE 2:11 pm:

GOOD NEWS. The agenda has finally been posted to the city's website, (I couldn't get someone to send the report to me in advance.)

The park is not in danger. The city is replacing the existing east property fence with an electric fence, so it has to come closer to the sidewalk on the east side of the property line, and will not take up any park land. 

The sign reads creating "a side yard of 4 feet instead of 25 feet", which I took to mean that 21 feet were coming out of somewhere. After driving around the property, the only place 21 feet could come out of is the park side, thus the post about Wednesday night's meeting.

 I guess to the people writing the signs, it means something completely different.

Here is the item from the city's website confirming the above: http://clkapps.winnipeg.ca/DMIS/ViewDoc.asp?DocId=15497&SectionId=440817&InitUrl=%2FDMIS%2FDocuments%2Fba%2F2016%2Fa15497

You can stand down, West End, sorry for the false alarm.

Public Notice (C. Cassidy)

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Sergeant William J. Lee of Winnipeg

 To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts and radio shows that will look at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, William James Lee was the son of well-known contractor W. F. Lee and followed his father’s career path. 

He was married to Lottie Ross, daughter of local detective and restaurateur Albert C. Ross

The Lees lived at 211 Lipton Street, though Lottie may have had family in the U.S. as her wartime contact information an address in Chicago. In her father's obituary of January 1918, she is listed as living at Pasadena, California. 

Both Lee and his father-in-law went overseas with Lieutenant Colonel Glen Campbell’s 107th Battalion in 1916.

September 24, 1917, Winnipeg Tribune

On August 20, 1917, Lottie received a telegram stating that Lee had been “dangerously hurt”, but no further details. A few days later another telegram informed his family that he had died at No. 7 Casualty Clearing Station

His Circumstances of Death certificate notes that he was killed in action on August 17, 1917 from "Shrapnel wounds to head, arm and chest." He was 27 years old.

On September 23, 1917 a memorial tablet was unveiled at Holy Trinity Church. Archdeacon Fortin, speaking at the Sunday morning unveiling service, recalled that Lee “… was possessed of all the solid qualities of character which form a strong manhood; courage truthfulness, candor, generosity affection and devotion.”

Attestation Papers
Canadian Virtual War Memorial entry
Canadian Great War Project entry
Circumstances of Death certificate

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Radio Edition for August 13, 2016


Listen to the podcast HERE !

Join me Sunday at 4 pm on 101.5 UMFM for West End Dumplings - The Radio Edition.

My guest this week will be Noah Erenberg and some of the citizen journalists of Winnipeg's Community News Commons.

CNC is a grassroots public media project that provides training, editorial mentorship and an online outlet for for citizen journalists to cover a wide range of community news. Find out what its all about and how you can get involved.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Ellice and Sherbrook Tour links

626 Ellice Avenue - Medway Court
 http://www.dmsmca.ca/images/OWCT/OWCT%20-%20issue%2016_web.pdf (page 5)

585 Ellice Avenue - Mac's Building

586 Ellice Avenue - West End Cultural Centre

583 Ellice Avenue - Security Storage / John Howard Society Building

559 Ellice Avenue - Haselmere Apartments

Monday, 8 August 2016

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Private Harold E. Black of Winnipeg


Harold Edward Black was born June 11, 1894 in Ballycastle, Ireland. He graduated from Friends' Grammar School, (source), a Quaker grammar school, in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.

In 1910, at the age of 16, Black emigrated to Canada to join his five brothers who already lived here. 

Black held a variety of jobs in his short time in Winnipeg. In the 1911 Henderson Directory he was listed as a messenger for the audit department of CN Express, the train company's courier division. In 1912, he was a clerk with the CNR's general passenger department. 

Harold then became a Customs Officer. Documents to not say where he was posted, though the two largest customs centres in the city at the time were offices in the CP Rail Station (now the Aboriginal Centre) on Higgins Avenue, and the Customs Examining Warehouse on McDermot Avenue.

Black lived at a number of Winnipeg addresses.

The 1911 and 1912 Henderson Directories list him as living at the rooming house of Mrs. S. M. Johnston, 501 Spence Street, (now demolished.) In 1913 he was at suite 106 of Broadway Court at 251 Broadway at Garry Street, (demolished in 1982.)

The following year, he moved in with brother, Robert, at suite 11 of Bartella Court at 377 Home Street. It was around the same time he joined up with the 90th Battalion Rifles militia, now the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

Source: Library and Archives Canada

In September 1915, Black enlisted with the 90th Battalion. He noted on his attestation papers he was single and listed Robert as his next of kin.

Black arrived in England on June 8, 1916. Soon after, he was transferred to the newly formed 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers), and on September 30, 1916 he joined his new unit in the field.

On October 31, 1917 he was hit by enemy fire. His military file notes that he had shrapnel wounds to one lung and arm as well as gun shot wounds in the throat, back and chest.

Black was taken to No. 24 General Hospital at Étaples, France where he died of his wounds on November 22, 1917. (There is a discrepancy in dates between his medical file and his Canadian Virtual War Memorial entry.) He is buried at Étaples Military Cemetery in Pas de Calais, France.

According to this family passage, one brother, Captain George Black, was with him when he died.


Monday, 1 August 2016

Bye Bye, Ben Moss

Ben Moss ca. 1945 (ChrisD.ca)

The news that Ben Moss Jewellers is closing its 54 stores across the country means that another Winnipeg name disappears from the retail landscape.

The company was established in 1910, but I can find little about its first couple of decades. In  newspaper advertorials over the years it its credited with starting out at both "near Higgins and Main" and "in north Winnipeg" but there is no person or store by that name until 1932.

Moss was a Jew who came from Romania around 1910 at the age of 20, so it is likely that Moss is an anglicized name. Also, he initially bills himself as a diamond importer, so his job could have taken him on the road until he decided to set up a shop or buy out an existing one. (His wife, for instance, was from Montreal, a centre of Canada's early diamond trade.)

May 28, 1949, Winnipeg Tribune

Ben Moss, the man and the store, can first be found in local newspapers and Winnipeg's Henderson Directory in 1932 with Ben Moss Jewellers at 422 Main Street, near Portage and Main. It was one of the retail spaces located in the McIntyre Block.

As for Mr. Moss, he is listed as living at the Royal Alexandra Hotel at Higgins and Main.

Early ads feature the words "Diamond Importer", but the store sold a wide range of items, including watches, pens and dinnerware.

A jewellery store during the Depression was a target for desperate people. The store's shop window was targeted numerous times for robberies, at one point four times in an eighteen-month period. Each robbery netted at least $1,000 in merchandise.

June 21, 1962, The Jewish Post

Moss married Ethel Levey of Montreal in Winnipeg in 1936 and the couple moved to 180 Montrose Avenue. There, they raised three children.

One of their daughters, Marilyn, married Sidney Trepel in 1959 and he began working at the store. When Moss died in June 1962 at the age of 71, the 26-year-old Trepel took over as president and general manager.

It appears that Ben Moss was a private person.  Though he was a long-time member of a number of organizations, including the Masons, B’nai Brith, YMHA, Glendale Country Club and the Canadian Jewellers Association, there are only rare personal mentions of him in local newspapers. (Even advertising for the store is very infrequent.)

Moss'" gravestone at Shaarey Zedek Cemetery reads: "A good name is rather to be chosen than riches and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”

Ethel, 20 years Ben's junior, died in 1995 at the age of 85.

October 9, 1969, The Jewish Post

It was under Sid Trepel that Ben Moss Jewellers became a retail chain.

In 1964, the main store relocated to the Mall Centre, (now the University of Winnipeg AnX). Soon, a  second store opened in the Westwood Shopping Centre. In 1969, a third location was opened at Portage and Donald, present-day home to Mountain Equipment Coop.

In the mid-1970s stores opened in Edmonton and Calgary and in 1977 the retailer opened its largest store at Polo Park shopping Centre, (its other Winnipeg locations at that time were Portage and Edmonton and Portage at Donald.)

In the mid-1980s, Sid Trepel brought his sons, Louis and Brent, Ben Moss' grandsons, into the business as vice presidents.

1977 ad

Under the new generation, the corporate expansion continued and by 1993 there were 23 stores across the West. By the time it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010 there were 63 Ben Moss Jewellers across the country.

In 2013 The Toronto-based JSN Group, manufacturers of  the Canadian Ice diamond brand, took over Ben Moss Jewellers to provide them with a ready-made wholesale and retail operation. In May 2016, the retailer was put into receivership and just a couple of months later came the announcement that the chain would be closed.

Ben Moss Granted Creditor Protection The Globe and Mail (May 2016)
Ben Moss Closing Doors Across Country CBC News (July 2013)

For the 1964 season, Ben Moss presented the "player of the game award" to the Blue Bombers

 1966 ad