Arthur Wheeler’s Descendant Contacts Me!

Just yesterday I had the most wonderful surprise on my blog….a comment left behind by the great grand daughter of Arthur Wheeler, a young man who accompanied my great grandfather on one of his cross-Atlantic trips with a boat load of Annie MacPherson children.

It went like this…

“My great grandfather, Arthur Wheeler, travelled to Canada with John Moors in March 1897. The group of Home Children was headed to Annie Macpherson Homes in Stratford. From what I can tell, this was Arthur’s first time to Canada.

In 1898, John Moors wrote a letter of recommendation for Arthur’s NWMP application. Not sure if you’ve seen the letter before but it is located here in the NWMP archives:

Now that I see John Moors’ father joined him Canada at some point, I am not entirely sure it is the younger John Moors (b 1896) that penned the letter. Arthur Wheeler’s family was from London and his father was a City Missionary there so there’s always the possibility the families knew each other in England prior to Arthur coming to Canada.”

The handwriting, given my expertise in handwriting analysis (insert laugh,) would be that of my great great grandfather, John Moors (1841-1914).  I have a sampling of his signature on his marriage certificate to Grace Rebecca Porter.  He was a grocer and Arthur Wheeler is listed on Lambeth 1891 census as being a grocer’s assistant.  He lived at 65 Hackford Road.  I think he was a family friend and may have even worked for my great great grandfather at 42 Prince’s Street.

The documentation that my father received from Bernardo’s in London, England, confirms that Arthur or Art Wheeler was a good friend of John’s and so decided to supervise the children, along with John, on the trip on the S. S. Parisian in March of 1897.  They split up at a point and likely have minimal contact after that as Arthur becomes a NWMP.

S.S. Parisian John Moors and Arthur Wheeler Detail March 1897 John Moors 20 Parisian With Arthur Wheeler 21I have promised the descendant photographs of the parts of my files that pertain to Arthur and here they are.

DSC_3640 DSC_3639 DSC_3638Similar to my family’s story, Arthur experienced some estrangement and struggle in his life story.  I think that leaving your home country and seeking out opportunity in  another culture likely leads to some feeling of isolation, separation and abandonment.  The wee children, labeled now, British Home Children really had to become people of a hard working nature in order to transcend the huge challenges that they faced.  Arthur is not to be confused with the Arthur Oliver Wheeler, the famous NWMP coming out of Ireland.  At some point, he took on the name, Arthur Charles Brixton Wheeler (Charles after his father), likely to make that distinction.

I am so very grateful for the contact that was made yesterday and know that John Moors and Arthur Wheeler would likely both think that it is marvelous!  Little did Arthur know that John had lost his life in France in 1918 and his life continued, a tough one likely, serving time in Regina, Saskatchewan; Caribou Crossing, Yukon; Dawson City, Yukon; what were called the unorganized territories of the Yukon; and then Old’s Alberta.  He had made an earlier trip to Canada in 1895 and would have been 18 years old.  He also traveled back to London at least once before becoming an officer for the NWMP.

I think it is a very cool thing that the female descendant is one from a line of Arthurs…and I am from a line of Johns.

Detail of note found that brought us together in time and space found here.

Library and Archives Canada: NWMP Personal Records 1873-1904

Library and Archives Canada: NWMP Personal Records 1873-1904

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