Richard Herman Evison and Mary Keir

Richard Herman Evison is my grandmother’s first cousin and he was born in Delaware, Middlesex County (Ontario), on 20 Mar 1898.  Richard is the son of Francis (Frank) Evison and Charlotte Hill.

Birth - Richard Herman Evison

In 1901, 3-year-old Richard was living in Delaware with his parents, his older brother Norman, and his sisters, Hannah and Charlotte.

1901 census - Richard Evison and Family

By 1911,  the Evison family had moved to Komoka, Lobo Township (Ontario).  Richard was 13 years old.

1911 Census - Richard Evison and Family

Attestation Papers - Richard Herman Evison Page OneAttestation Papers - Richard Herman Evison Page TwoOn 6 Jan 1916 in Strathroy (Ontario), Richard enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF).  He was 17 years and 9 months old.

Per his biography in the Delaware and Westminster Townships: Together in History (Volume Two, Page 189), Richard stayed in the army for nearly three years and he received the Military Medal when the war was over.

The WWI Military MedalThe medal is awarded to Warrant Officers, non-commissioned officers and men for individual or associated acts of bravery on the recommendation of a Commander-in-Chief in the field.

The soldier’s regimental number, rank, initials, surname and unit would have been engraved in plain block capitals around the edge of the medal (note: the photo is not the actual medal that was awarded to Richard).

The reverse shows FOR/BRAVERY/IN THE/FIELD in four lines, encircled by a laurel wreath and surmounted by the Royal Cypher and Imperial Crown.

I don’t know where Richard was living in 1921 because the 1921 Canadian census has just been released but it has not been transcribed as yet — and therefore, not searchable
(*** 5 Nov 2013 – see below for update)

But I do know that , on the 17 Apr 1923 in Mount Brydges, Middlesex County, (Ontario), 25-year-old Richard married 28-year-old Mary Keir, daughter of James Keir and Dolena McCallum.

Mary was born in Strathroy, Middlesex County (Ontario), on 15 Mar 1895 — or at least that’s what the Declaration says that Mary’s father filled out in 1924!  But, the marriage license for Richard and Mary says that she was born in Lobo (Ontario).

After their marriage, Richard and Mary lived and farmed in Lobo Township.

Marriage - Richard Evison and Mary Keir  Birth - Mary Keir

Birth and Death - Baby Boy EvisonSadly. about 10 months after Richard and Mary married, Mary gave birth to a stillborn son.

He was born on 10 Feb 1924 in Lobo and laid to rest on 13 Feb 1924 in Campbell Cemetery near Komoka (Ontario).

That same year, on 20 Aug 1924,  Richard and Mary crossed the Canadian/US border at Detroit. They told the border guard that their destination was Detroit,  that they were going to join “Uncle George Evison” and that they intended to live and work in the USA permanently.

Uncle George is a younger brother of Richard’s father.

Border Crossing - Mary Keir Evison Border Crossing - Richard H Evison

In the documents that were filled out when Mary and Richard crossed the border (see above),

  • Mary was described as 5’2″ with a fair complexion, brown eyes and brown hair and
  • Richard as 5’8″ with medium complexion, brown hair and blue eyes.

This is a photo of Mary and Richard that was published in Delaware and Westminster Township: Together in History (Volume Two, Page 189).  I don’t know when or where the photo was taken — or by whom.

Richard Herman and Mary Keir Evison

Birth and Death - Richard H Evison JrRichard and Mary must have returned to Canada from the USA sometime before June of 1929 — because, on 2 Jun 1929, Mary gave birth to a son in Bethesda Maternity Hospital in London, Middlesex County (Ontario).

They named their son, Richard Herman Evison Jr.

Tragically, Richard Jr. died two days later of a “contracted pelvis” and a cerebral haemorrhage.

He was buried with his brother in Campbell Cemetery.

I did a little research on Bethesda Maternity Hospital since I had not heard of it before.  I posted a question about the Hospital on the Vintage London Facebook Page and received this answer from the administrator of the page:

According to a book I have the Salvation Army bought the property at 54 Riverview Ave in the late 1890’s.  At that time it was a 2 storey brick residence & became the Salvation Army Rescue Home & eventually evolved into the Bethesda Salvation Army Maternity Hospital thru various expansions. It was demolished in 1984 & replaced by the current building that recently was closed by the Salvation Army.

Bethesda Maternity Hospital

Bethesda Maternity Hospital
London, Ontario

Richard died in 1973 when he was 75 years old.  Mary was 97 years old when she died in 1992.

They are buried together with their infant sons in Campbell Cemetery which is near Komoka (Ontario).

Headstone - Richard and Mary Keir Evison and Sons

*** Update on 5 Nov 2013

The 1921 Canadian Census has now been indexed and is searchable — and I think that I found Richard.  Or at least I found a Richard Evison!

This Richard Evison is living in Swift Current, Saskatchewan (Canada) and is a farm labourer.  He is 24 years old in 1921, which makes his year of birth about 1897.  This is close enough that I think that I can say that this is Richard Herman Evison — although I’m not 100% certain!

1921 Census - Richard Evison

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