Great Uncle Joseph Alfred (Fred) Gallant 1919-1981

I find Fred on the 1921 census, with his family.  He is 7 years old.  If that is accurate, it would mean that Fred was born in 1914, not 1919 as I have listed above. This little bit of history captured in a news article about the boys, also confirms a 1914 birth date.  I’ll update this as I locate new information.  This one seems to be tricky.  The picture below is of my Uncle Joe, but read the text to find Fred’s write up. (wait…I’ll crop it for you)

Philip Military service

Uncle Fred Military

1921 Gallant Census Summerside PEI

My Great Uncle Fred also fought in World War II.  I’m having the most difficulty locating any information on his life before, during or after the war.  There are several Joseph Alfred’s living in Summerside and Prince Edward Island.  This further complicates the search.

Recently, cousin, James Perry, shared this image with me, published in a thread of remarks on a Facebook page.  The man in the front row, right, would be Fred, so now I am going to search to see if there is any connection with the bowling jersey sponsorship and my Great Uncle’s work.  I remember my mother loving to bowl and so this post brings up some positive recollections.  I was never much of a bowler!  I do remember my parents teaching me how to hold the ball and to move forward toward the line.

Fred (Gabe) Gallant Robinson's Bakery Bowing Team

Of Robinson, I learn the following…

Honourable Brewer Waugh Robinson was a soldier, fox rancher, and mill and baker owner; born 9 January 1891 in Summerside, son of George W. Robinson and Lucy Waugh; m. 24 September 1919 to Ethel R Mills, and there were no children; United; d. 20 January 1949 in Summerside.  

Robinson, a Conservative, was elected to the Legislative Assembly in the general election of 1939 for 5th Prince. Before entering provincial politics, Robinson was Mayor of Summerside from 1936 to 1937. He was appointed to the Senate in April 1945.  

Robinson received his education at Summerside High School and at the Commercial College. Soon after completing his education, he moved to Western Canada, where he worked for several years in the Union Bank of Canada. Upon the outbreak of the First World War, Robinson returned home and was one of the first from Summerside to enlist. He joined the 2nd Battery, Canadian Heavy Artillery, and went overseas in 1915, where he served until the end of the war. In 1919 Robinson returned to Summerside and entered the fox ranching business with his father. He also became involved in the family bakery, Robinson’s Bakery Limited, as manager.  

In 1942, while still serving as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, Robinson again went overseas as a member of the Canadian Legion War Services. He remained there until the end of the Second World War, and moved up to the position of deputy head of the Canadian Legion War Services in London, England. In April 1945, while still overseas, Robinson was informed of his appointment to the Senate, where he served until his death.

Besides his extensive military and political engagements, Robinson was actively involved in his community. He was Mayor of Summerside from 1936 to 1937. He served as president of the Summerside Board of Trade and was a member of both the Rotary and the Masons. Robinson was a prominent member of the Summerside branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and was honourary president of the branch at the time of his death. He was also a director of the Prince Edward Island Fur Pool Limited.Robinson was keenly interested in sports. He served as president of the Prince Edward Island Hockey League and also as president of the Summerside Curling Club. Brewer Robinson died 20 January 1949 at his home.  

Ethel Robinson was the daughter of W. A. Mills of Halifax.

I find no connection between Robinson’s Bakery and my Great Uncle Fred.

References: CDP p. 498; CPG 1943; Guardian 21 January 1949; Patriot 20 January 1949; Summerside Journal 20 January 1949

Summerside Robinson's Bakery

Fred’s first wife was Audrey Arsenault and I can find nothing on her.  Together, they had two boys, Rod and Parker Gallant.  I don’t know if Fred lost Audrey through death or divorce.  Later, Fred lived in an 1877-built historical home, with his second wife, Jennie Boates-Crossman.  I was able to find a description of this on line where it references 217 Notre Dame Street and I’m posting it here.

It is believed that the house was constructed for tailor, Albert Yates Clark and his wife Emily D. Schurman in 1878. A mention of his business in an 1881 issue of “The Pioneer” stated: “Mr. Clark has been in the business for about ten years and has been considered one of the fashionable tailors of the town… He keeps half a dozen hands at work and is advertising for as many more.” Sometime after 1884, he and his wife moved to Moncton and later to the Boston area.

Mr. and Mrs. William Reid purchased the house in 1883. Mr. Reid was 34 years of age and a well established merchant with a general store in St. Eleanors and a branch store in Summerside. In June 1881, he had married Sophia Deinstadt, a sister of the Methodist minister, T.J. Deinstadt. In 1894, Mr. Reid decided to close his Summerside store and relocate his household to St. Eleanors. The house was advertised in the newspaper: “To Let – My Cottage on Notre Dame St., Containing nine rooms, kitchen and scullery. Heated throughout with hot air. Hard and soft water in the kitchen. Good stable and garden…”

The Reid family remained in St. Eleanors until 1902, which was the year that Mr. Reid died at the age of 53. Mrs. Reid, along with her five children, moved back to Summerside and later went to Charlottetown. The house was rented from 1907 to 1910 by Frank McDonald who came to Summerside from Sydney, Nova Scotia as the contractor for the breakwater at McCallum’s Point.

Mrs. Reid returned to Summerside in 1912 and lived in the house until 1916 when she went to Manitoba to live with her married daughter, Katherine Porter. She came back to Summerside around 1920, but left in 1922 to live with her children in various places until 1929. In that year she had the house remodelled, but once again left it in 1930, never to live in the town again. However, it was not until after her death in 1951 that the house left the Reid family.

In 1930, the occupant of the house became R.S.P. Jardine, who moved to Summerside as the manager of the Bank of Commerce. He was the son of David Jardine, a farmer in Freetown who had entered the service of the bank in 1909. He married Margaret Ratchford of Amherst, Nova Scotia in 1926. After ten years of prominence in Summerside, he became the manager of the bank branch in Charlottetown in 1940.

Mr. and Mrs. John Boates rented the house in 1945 and lived there for the rest of their lives. John Boates (b. 1882) was a carpenter by trade and after coming to Summerside in the 1930s worked for contractor Ernest Morrison and also was foreman of the Willow Hill Fox Ranch in Sherbrooke. He and his wife, nee Maisie Ramsay, had 4 sons and 2 daughters. In 1954 their son Erle, who was a successful management consultant in New York, purchased the house for his parents from the Reid estate. John Boates died in 1964 and his widow remained in the house with her daughter, Jennie Crossman.

In 1972, Erle Boates deeded the house to his sister Jennie, whose second husband was Frederick Gallant. In 1999, she deeded it to her son Ralph Crossman. Upon his death in 2006, the property passed from three generations of the Boates family. The purchasers carried out an extensive restoration of the house and sold it to its current owner that same year.

Residence for Fred Gallant summerside

Sadie Jane ‘Jennie’ Boates (Freddy’s second wife) died in 2007.  I have located her obituary.

At MacDonald’s Community Home 197 Cambridge St., Summerside on Sunday April 29th, 2007 of Sadie Jane (Jennie) – (Boates-Crossman) Gallant formerly of Notre Dame St., Summerside aged 92 years.

Wife of the late Freddy Gallant and mother of the late Ralph William Crossman.Grammy to Jill (J.P.) Richard, Summerside and Patrick Ralph Crossman, Summerside and great grammy to Cohen Ralph Richard. Also surviving are two sisters-in-law and a number of nieces and nephews. Born in Tyne Valley on August 3, 1914 daughter of the late John A. and Mazie J. (Ramsay) Boates. Also predeceased by sister Marjorie (late Willard) Walfield and brothers Sterling, Ralph, Earl and Roy Boates.

Resting at the Davison Funeral Home Kensington for visitation on Thursday from 10 a.m. until the time of funeral service in the Davison Funeral Home Chapel at 11a.m. Interment in Floral Hills Memorial Gardens, Pleasant Valley. If so desired contributions may be made to the Alzheimer Society.

Recently, I wrote to Patrick Ralph Crossman because he had written such a beautiful eulogy to his father, Ralph William Crossman (found on line).   Patrick connected me with Christopher Reid Boates.  Patrick Ralph’s mother, Jennie, was sister to Christopher Reid’s father, Erle Graydon Boates.  Surprisingly, Reid had some remembrances of my great uncle Fred and I am so grateful for his note to my email.  When I shared these words with my father, he got quite emotional.  Thank you, Reid.

“Man, did I love Freddie!  What a hoot!!  Always upbeat, a compact ball of energy.  Funny as hell.   He’d have us howling while teaching us these goofy Air Force exercises, swinging our arms in opposite directions and such.  He’d take me everywhere on our annual trips to PEI from New Jersey.  This would be the mid- 1960s for a few years running.  He’d show me how to use tools, fix things – we were always doing something, going somewhere.  He showed me how to evaluate lobsters and cook ’em and eat ’em the PEI way.  Just a blast of a guy.  He went through a freaky complete loss of all hair – which eventually grew back but much thinner.  His attitude?  You would have thought he scraped his elbow.  He was all about positive energy.  And Man, did he love Jennie!  They were two of my greatest teachers, Jennie and Freddie.” 

Below, Uncle Fred is standing with Auntie Millie in the family photograph taken at the 1964 funeral St. Paul’s Summerside, PEI.

Uncle Fred and Auntie Millie


Picture taken about 1978.

Fred Gallant 2

If you have read this short piece, and you know stories of Fred’s work life and family life, I’d love to hear from you.  There are so many Fred Gallants in Prince Edward Island history, that I would be wrong to assume which documents such as Voter’s lists apply to my own Great Uncle.  Thank you for your help.