This is your great-great-great grandmother. She and her husband Joseph Jones came out west from Ontario and were working at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, for about two years until she died in her thirties. She was a cook at a camp there; I have a photograph of her in front of a large log cabin with her own daughter (your great-great grandmother Annie May Jones) and a whole bunch of working men. Above her head an X is pencilled in. This was probably so the artist would know who to make this large drawing of. She died around 1901. Her husband Joseph then brought May and their other children (presumably) by train as far as Yorkton, Saskatchewan. From there they travelled by wagon to Sheho and north till they were delayed for three days on the overflowing bank of the Whitesand River, along with other pioneer settlers.
That’s where Annie May, age 17, met her future husband, John (Jack) Bartley, who was also waiting with family members for floodwaters to recede so they could cross. The Joneses settled in or near what is now the village of Invermay and Jack Bartley found his homestead stake several miles west, nearer to Margo. May and Grandpa Jack married about three years later. She died before I was born – a stroke, maybe, in her fifties – but I remember Grandpa Jack as an old man who died when I was around nine maybe.
Besides farming, he was the telephone line repairman and still climbing poles in his seventies. They were both small people and when you come out I can show you lots of pictures of them and their eight children, all of short stature I believe, the last of whom, your great-grandmother Doris, died in her nineties about five years ago.
If my memory is correct, my mother was their eldest grandchild. Aunt Reta, her younger sister who now lives in Phoenix (and whose husband Carl painted the above portrait from the tiny photo tucked into the frame), will correct me if I’m wrong there.
And here is the kindly sweet face of my mother; your grandmother:
This is my favourite picture of her, taken a few weeks after her diagnosis of terminal kidney cancer. She and Dad were living in Salmon Arm, BC, at the time, and a bunch of us trekked out to see her. Karen and I flew from Saskatoon with Grandma (Doris) and Aunt Reta flew up from Phoenix. Joan was in Kelowna so she joined us and we spent several days doing the things that made Mom happy: singing and sewing. Cameron drove in from Edmonton and I have a picture of him as if sitting on her knee, captioned Mr Incredible and His Mom. It had reminded someone of the animated movie The Incredibles. We’re always seeing Cameron in some movie or cartoon character.
Mom died a year later.