William St. Thomas Evison and Fannie Sarah Finch are my maternal great grandparents and, as with my great, great grandparents, I have several unanswered questions about their lives.
Sometime between 1866 and 1871, William moved with his parents and older sister from Michigan to Westminster Township, Middlesex County, Ontario (Canada). He worked as a farm labourer and lived with his parents until he married in 1892.
On 28 Apr 1892 in Lambeth, Middlesex County, Ontario (Canada), he married Fannie Sarah Finch, daughter of Joseph Finch and Mary Ann Fillmore.
Fannie was born in about Jul 1857 in Wimbledon, Surrey (England). She had two younger brothers, William Frederick (b: 1860) and Edward Charles (b: 1863).
Sadly, Fannie’s mother died in 1863. Fannie was only 7 years old.
In 1871, Fannie’s father remarried and at some point before the 1881 UK Census, Fannie moved in with her grandfather and maiden aunt. Then in April of 1892, she travelled to New York (USA), accompanied by her uncle, Jonadab Finch, and his family. More about the family of Fannie Finch Evison in a future blog.
Just over two weeks after arriving in New York, Fannie was in Ontario (Canada) and married to William Evison! That begs the questions: how and when did William and Fannie meet before marrying??
Dorothea Gertrude Evison who was born on 30 Jan 1894 in Delaware Township, Middlesex County, Ontario (Canada).
And Ethel Annie Evison, my grandmother. She was born on 5 Sep 1898 in Caradoc Township, Middlesex County, Ontario (Canada).
In 1899, the family moved to Austin, Mower County, Minnesota (USA). I don’t know why they moved to Minnesota but William’s brother, George, was also living there.
I found several references in the Austin Daily Herald newspaper about Fannie’s Sunday School class in the First Baptist Church in Austin — as well as awards and recognitions that Dorothea and Ethel received for their recitations and piano recitals.
It seems that the Evisons could not decide where they wanted to live for the next few years! According to an article in the Daily Herald printed on 6 Oct 1905, the family left Austin and returned to live in London, Ontario. But in Jul 1907, the Daily Herald published that they were now living at 404 South St. Paul, back in Austin! I have no idea why they left nor why they returned to Minnesota.
In Apr of 1908, William and Fannie’s friends threw them a surprise 16th wedding anniversary party at their home in Austin. To quote the newpaper article from the local newspaper, “games were enjoyed by all until about 10’oclock, when some of the party saw fit to have Mr. and Mrs. Evison re-married”!!
The Evisons returned to Ontario sometime between the end of 1910 and before May of 1920 (when their daughter, Ethel, married Earl Eichenberger in London, Ontario).
*** See below for update on 20 Nov 2013:
William died on 4 Apr 1923 in London, Middlesex County, Ontario (Canada). His cause of death was arterial sclerosis and apoplexy. Fannie died on 10 Aug 1941, likely in London as well (I’m still searching for documentation for Fannie’s place and cause of death).
Their headstone reads,
Beloved Husband of Fannie Evison
Died Apr 4 1923
Aged 60 Years
His Beloved Wife Fannie
Died Aug 10 1941
Aged 81 years
He giveth his beloved sleep
Link to vintage postcards and photographs of Austin, Minnesota: http://www.lakesnwoods.com/AustinGallery.htm
** Updated on 18 Jul 2013:
William’s place of birth is Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan (USA) according to the marriage certificate of his daughter, Dorothea.
*** Updated on 20 Nov 2013
The 1921 Canadian Census has now been released and indexed. I found William and Fannie and they are living with their daughter, Dorothea, at 3 Seale Terrace — a 2-storey brick home with 6 rooms that the Evisons were renting for $21 a month. William was employed as a baker.