When I wrote the blog about Susan Matilda Evison and her husband, John Post, I didn’t know when they died or where they are buried.
But I do now!
They are buried in the Indian Fields Township Cemetery in Caro, Tuscola County, Michigan (USA). According to their headstone, John died on 17 Jan 1954 and Susie on 18 Feb 1960.
However, I noticed something very curious about the date of birth for John.
On the headstone, it says that he was born on the 20 Jan 1875.
I couldn’t find an original birth certificate for him on Ancestry, so I relied upon the DOB that he wrote on his Attestation Papers when he joined the Canadian Army in 1915. On his Attestation Papers, he wrote that he was born on 21 Jan 1877.
This date seemed to be accurate because he was 4 in 1881 and 14 in 1891. I couldn’t find him in the 1901 Census — but he was 26 years old when he married Susie in August of 1902. This is consistent with a birth year of 1877.
Then I looked more closely at his DOB on subsequent documents:
- 1911 Canadian Census: January 1876
- WWI US Registration Card: 20 Jan 1874
- 1920 US Census: 44 years old (year of birth = about 1876)
- Border Crossing : 48 years old (year of birth = about 1876)
- 1930 US Census: 55 years old (year of birth = about 1875)
- 1940 US Census: 65 years old (year of birth = about 1875)
What accounts for the differences in John’s date of birth?
But he joined the Canadian Army on 2 Oct 1915 in Chatham, Ontario (Canada)!? He listed his next of kin as his wife, Susie, who was living in London, Ontario.
What accounts for the discrepancy in the timing of when John and Susie left Canada for the US?
I found a family tree on Ancestry for a person that is descended from an ancestor of John Post. This is a screencapture from that tree for the entry when John enlisted in the Canadian Army:
Perhaps this is the answer!?
With the exception of the 1911 Census, all the documents before John joined the Canadian Army are consistent with a year of birth of 1877. And after he supposedly deserted, it’s 1875 (with the exception of when he registered for the WWI draft).
And then there’s the little white lie he told when he returned to Canada in 1923 about when he left Canada! He said that he left in 1912, but they were clearly in Canada in 1915!
Could it be that John changed his year of birth to avoid being detected by the Canadian government? I couldn’t find much on line about the penalties for desertion but 25 Canadians were shot at dawn for desertion!
And I bet that it must have been a little unnerving for John when he was forced to register for the US Armed Forces in 1918!
The Selective Services Act, which required men to register for military service, was amended in 1918 to expand the age range to include all men 18 to 45.
On his registration card, John said that he was born on 20 Jan 1874. Luckily for him, the war ended about 6 weeks after he was drafted.
Until I locate some sort of official birth document for John, his DOB will be in doubt. Is it 21 Jan 1877 or 20 Jan 1875?