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By Don Hughes, Canada 2012
Charles Church of Rushden Emigrates to Canada 1909
In 1905, Canada created (2) new Provinces (Saskatchewan, Alberta) from its Western Territories. Anxious for people to settle and farm these new Provinces, they advertised and held meetings in Britain to persuade people to come. As part of the incentive, was the offer of a ¼ section of free land (1/4 of a square mile =160 acres), provided the settlers followed a land clearing/farming schedule over a number of years. I have not yet researched this programme, there may have been additional transportation/money incentives.

My Great Grandfather, on my mother’s side, Charles Church, 1866-1948, was born in Wymington, and married Emma Elizabeth Pettit of Podington in 1891. At first they lived at Podington, where their first son William was born. Two years later their second son Charles was born at Rushden where Charles was working in the shoe trade. He apparently was also a great footballer.

cricket pavilion
Charles (right) on the steps of Rushden Cricket Pavilion c1905

My first efforts in genealogy began in 2009 when my mother passed away. Among her belongings was a large framed photograph of the Rushden Association Football Club 1892-93, as well as a number of photographs, postcards and letters all centred around Rushden, none of which I had ever seen before. She had acquired them from her mother, Florence Mabel Pelletier (nee Church) who had been born in England and died at Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada in 1959. I immediately went onto the internet, found Rushden and your web site. In emigrating, they would have left most of their possessions, only able to take a very few prized items and mementos of their life in Rushden.

at Raunds
This postcard is marked Grove Street Raunds
Mabel Church is far right of the group c1905

Some of the letters from Rushden were dated in mid April 1909. A cousin of mine had a receipt for the purchase of lumber and other building supplies in Saskatchewan dated Oct 9, 1909. Now my work began. Using British Census data and other sources, I began to detail the existence of the Church family prior to their immigration.

My mother had told me that her mother, Mabel Church was 13 years old when she emigrated. In my hunt on the internet, I found a site that detailed emigration from Britain, and found their departure. They sailed from Liverpool aboard the S.S. Coriscan on April 22, 1909, arriving at Quebec City on May 7, 1909, where special Canadian Pacific Railway trains waited to take them on their 2,000 mile, multi-day journey to Saskatchewan.

winter at Parkside
Winter on the farm at Parkside
Charles at Parkside 1920
Charles at Parkside 1920

I have not yet contacted the Saskatchewan Provincial Archives to acquire copies of the details of their progress in clearing and settling their homestead. They later acquired another ¼ section of land and continued their farming. My Great Grandmother, Emma Church, (nee Pettit from Hinwick) passed away in 1923. Charles Church passed away at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1949 and is buried at Parkside, Sask., near the farm. The land stayed in the family until the late 1970’s when it was sold.

Attached are several photos of the family and their life in Saskatchewan, Canada.

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