Melville Burgoyne Robertson Gordon (1873-?)

Art, Burgoyne and Violet May circa 1880

Art, Burgoyne and Violet May circa 1880

Melville Burgoyne Robertson Gordon was my great grandfather (M. Laird Gordon/M. B. K. Gordon). He was born the 23rd November, 1873 at Cooksville, Peel, Ontario, Canada1,2 to Andrew Robertson Gordon (1851-1893) and May Elizabeth Parker (1848-1913). He was baptized on the 8th of February, 1874 at St. Peter’s Anglican Church at Springfield-on-the-Credit (later Erindale) by John Carry, D.D. and the sponsors were Leslie Gordon acting as a proxy for (Dr.) Andrew Robertson, Melville Parker and Clara Elizabeth Hector as proxy for Evelyn Burgoyne2. He was named Melville after his maternal grandfather, Melville Parker who, in 1877 upon the death of his brother Henry, became Sir Melville Parker, 6th and last Baronet of Harburn. Family lore is that he was named Burgoyne after Gen. John Burgoyne and I have yet been able to trace the Evelyn Burgoyne who was his godmother. He was named Robertson after his paternal great grandfather Dr. Andrew Robertson (1799-1881) and I have in my possession a Silver Christening cup from Dr. Robertson sent to to the family to commemorate this event.

Melville Gordon (LHS) & Thomas Hector (2nd from right) out West Prospecting for Gold. Courtesy William Higgins and Tom Banwell

Melville Gordon (LHS) & Thomas Hector (2nd from right) out West Prospecting for Gold. Courtesy William Higgins and Tom Banwell

Burgoyne, as he was known, was the eldest child of Andrew and May. He studied Engineering at Toronto University and graduated in the mid 1890s. In 1894 he went out to the Caribou Region of British Columbia and prospected with his cousin Thomas Wilson Hector (1853-1944).

Pg. 64, April 1895, Canadian Electrical News

Pg. 64, April 1895, Canadian Electrical News

In 1895 again along with his cousin Thomas Wilson Hector (1853-1944) Jas. H. K. McCollom, Edwin Krickmore, Thos. Ed. B. McCollom and, John W. Sweetnam he was awarded Patent No. 47,859 for an Electric Motor3.

Melville Burgoyne Robertson Gordon and Jane Elizabeth Kennedy circa 1898

Melville Burgoyne Robertson Gordon and Jane Elizabeth Kennedy circa 1898

On the 22nd of June 1898 at the Church of the Messiah on Avenue Road in Toronto he married to Jane Elizabeth Kennedy (1876-1965), the Rev. John Gillespie officiating and the witnesses were H.S. (Hattie) Kennedy and E. S. Ashworth, both of Toronto. Burgoyne listed his occupation as “Mining Engineer.”1,4

On the 25th May, 1899 at Toronto, Ontario a daughter May was born to the young couple5,6. The father’s residence was recorded as 95 Walker Av. and his occupation as “Prospector.”5 She was baptized as “Muriel May” two months later on the 23rd of July at St. Peter’s Anglican at Erindale by Ralph W. Hinds with her maternal uncle John Robert Kennedy and paternal aunt, Violet May Gordon as godparents.2 The Baptismal Register records the fathers abode as “Mitchipicoten” referring to Mitchipicoten Harbour in the Algoma District.

"Muriel May Gordon. Aged 2 months - Her Father, Grandmother, and Great Grandfather. July 23, 1899" On the veranda at "Clair House"

“Muriel May Gordon. Aged 2 months – Her Father, Grandmother, and Great Grandfather. July 23, 1899” On the veranda at ‘Clair House'”(Left to Right is Sir Melville Parker, May Elizabeth, Muriel May, and Melville B. R. Gordon)


Muriel May Gordon circa 1904

Muriel May Gordon circa 1904

In an 1900 directory we find Burgoyne listed with his brother Arthur (Art) as free-holding Lot 17, II Concession North of Dundas Street (NDS) in Toronto Township and their mother is located at Lot 17, I Concession NDS as is her father, Sir Melville Parker7 but Burgoyne was most likely an absent owner as on the 1901 census he is found with Janie and Muriel still at Michipicoten Harbour in the Algoma District where he was managing the Helen mine8.

In 1904 tragedy struck the young family when on the 23rd of October five year-old Muriel died of Tubercular Meningitis after a struggle of two weeks at her maternal grandparent’s home “Braeside” in Dixie9,10. Muriel was buried at St. John the Baptist Anglican Cemetery in nearby Dixie.11,12

Melville Burgoyne Kennedy Gordon circa 1909

Melville Burgoyne Kennedy Gordon circa 1909

A little less than a year later, my grandfather, Melville “Mel” Burgoyne Kennedy Gordon, was born at Dixie on the 7th of September, 19056,13. Mel was baptized on the 8th April, 1906 at St. Peter’s Anglican Church with John Robert Kennedy, Hamilton Lindsay and Sarah Jane (Kennedy) Henry as the Godparents2.

Mary Emeline "Mollie" Gordon circa 1911

Mary Emeline “Mollie” Gordon circa 1911

The family was now living at Cobalt in the Nipissing District where Burgoyne was working as the manager of the Cobalt Lake Mining Company. Jane returned to Dixie to give birth to a daughter Mary Emeline “Mollie” on the 16th September, 19086,14. Mollie was baptized less than a month later on the 7th October at St. Peter’s Erindale by Hedley V. Thompson. Lillian Gordon, Mabel Gordon and Percy Hector Gordon were the Godparents15. Mollie’s godmother, Mabel Jessie Gordon (1883-1945), was Burgoyne’s sister and her godmother Lillian Rose and godfather Percival Hector Gordon were Burgoyne’s 1st cousins, the children of Leslie Gordon (1855-1890) and Clara Elizabeth Hector (1851-1922). Percy would wed Jane’s sister, Harriet Sarah “Hattie” Kennedy (1880-1959) less than a month later.

Jane Elizabeth (Kennedy) Gordon monument, St. John the Baptist Anglican Cemetery, Dixie, Peel, Ontario. Courtesy of "Islington" on Find-a-Grave

Jane Elizabeth (Kennedy) Gordon monument, St. John the Baptist Anglican Cemetery, Dixie, Peel, Ontario. Courtesy of “Islington” on Find-a-Grave

Burgoyne, Janie, Mel and Mollie are all found at Cobalt on the 1911 Canadian Census and Burgoyne is still working as a Mine Manager16.

Some time before 1916 Janie left Burgoyne and took the children with her back to Dixie to live with her mother. We don’t know if Janie just tired of living in Northern Ontario far removed from her family back at Dixie, or if other issues affected their marriage but Janie and Burgoyne remained separated and no record of a divorce has been found. Jane remained at “Braeside” after her mother’s death in 1921 with her brother Tom and his family. Tom acted as a surrogate father for Mel and Mollie and was much loved. Mollie married Thomas Reid in August 1934 in Scotland4 and Jane remained at Braeside visiting Mollie and her family in Scotland frequently until sometime after World War 2 when she joined Mollie permanently. She died at Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire on the 20th of January, 196510 and her remains were cremated and sent back to Canada where she now rests beside Muriel, her first child, at St. John’s Cemetery, Dixie.11,12

On the 1916 Census Burgoyne is found rooming at 366 Qu’Appelle Avenue in Winnipeg and is working as a Mining Engineer and his marital status is recorded as single17. In 1918 Burgoyne was the Vice-President & Managing Director of Ontario Molybdenum Co. Ltd. and residing at the site of their mine at Wilberforce, in Haliburton County, Ontario18 and during that year he was also suspended from the St. Patrick Chapter (145) in Toronto of the Royal Arch Masons19. To date no sign of Burgoyne has been found on the 1921 Census. In 1924, at Streetsville, Peel County, he was suspended for non-payment of dues from River Park Lodge 356 of the Masons19. In the 1920s he was living in Toronto and was involved as an executive or as a Consulting Mining Engineer with a number of different Companies.20

In 1933 Burgoyne was a Consulting Engineer for Canadian Radium Mines Ltd. in Toronto21 and in Apr 1935 the President of Austin Rouyn Gold Mines22. In 1940 on a voters list he is found working as an Engineer with a wife “Marion” at Apt. 1, 1662 Queen Street West in the Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto23 and in 1947 at Apt. 204, 240 Durie Street but he was also still doing business at Cobalt.24

In 1953 he is found on a voters list working as a Mining Engineer and residing at 556 Perth Avenue in the High Park neighborhood of Toronto with Mrs. Marion Gordon and his widowed youngest brother Beaumont “Beau” who is also working in Mining24. Beau died 19 Dec 195625 and by 1957 he and Marion are both retired and found in a Voters List residing at 125 Regent Street in the Town of Beaconsfield in Montreal26. My parents were then living at Apt. 34, 6480 Monkland Blvd. in Benny Farm in the Notre Dame de Grace neighborhood of Montreal less than 20km away from Burgoyne and Marion27. My father had heard from family members that his grandfather was in Montreal but his father refused to put him in touch.28

Burgoyne was in his mid eighties at this point and likely died in Montreal but to this date we have been unable to identify when and where he died and the disposition of his remains.

Sources

  1. Marriages 1897 – 1916; Church of the Messiah Avenue Road, Toronto; Anglican Church of Canada; Diocese of Toronto Archives, Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada; Accessed 13 Aug 2013.
  2. Baptismal Register – St. Peter’s Erindale; St. Peter’s, Credit/St. John the Baptist, Dixie, Vol. 7, Baptisms Oct 1866 – 1908; Anglican Church of Canada; Diocese of Toronto Archives, Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada; Retrieved 13 Aug 2013.
  3. Pg. 64, Vol. V, No. 4; Canadian Electrical News and Steam Engineering Journal, Charles H. Mortimer, Toronto, 1895; Retrived Nov 2016 from The Internet Archive
  4. Register of Marriages, John Robertson Kennedy Family Bible in the possession of Arthur P. Kennedy, Accessed 17 August 2012.
  5. Pg. 133, No. 1815; Reg. No. 002814; Ontario Births, 1869-1911, database with images, FamilySearch (15 January 2016), May Gordon, 25 May 1899; citing Birth, Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada, citing Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 2,021,631. Accessed 26 Nov 2016 at FamilySearch.
  6. Register of Births, John Robertson Kennedy Family Bible in the possession of Arthur P. Kennedy, Accessed 17 August 2012.
  7. Pg. A176, Farmers and Business Directory for the Counties of Dufferin, Ontario, Peel and York and Darlington Township, Vol. XII, Union Publishing Co., Ingersoll, 1900.; Ancestry.com. Canada, City and Area Directories, 1819-1906 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. (from Canadian Institute for Historical Micro-reproduction (CIHM) Microfiche Series (Annual Publications))
  8. Year: 1901; Census Place: Michipicoten Harbour, Algoma, Ontario; Page: 3; Family No: 31; Ancestry.com. 1901 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.; Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1901. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2004. Series RG31-C-1. Statistics Canada Fonds. Microfilm reels: T-6428 to T-6556
  9. Pg. 587, No. 14, Regn. No.: 022462; Series: MS935; Reel: 117 Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938, Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.; Ancestry.com. Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938, 1943-1944, and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.; Image also at FamilySearch.
  10. Register of Deaths, John Robertson Kennedy Family Bible in the possession of Arthur P. Kennedy, Accessed 17 August 2012.
  11. No. 22, Pg. 22-27; Toronto Township, Cemetery No. 22, St. John the Baptist Anglican Church Cemetery (St. John’s Dixie), Halton-Peel Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society, 1995; ISBN: 978-0-7779-1864-7
  12. St. John’s Dixie Cemetery; Mississauga, Peel Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada on Find a Grave.
  13. No.: 25, Regn. No.: 035314, Pg.: 71; Series: MS929; Reel: 175; Registrations of Births and Stillbirths – 1869-1913, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario.; Ancestry.com. Ontario, Canada Births, 1858-1913 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Image also on FamilySearch.
  14. Regn. No.: 038304. Pg.: 552; Series: MS929; Reel: 17; Registrations of Births and Stillbirths – 1869-1913, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario.; Ancestry.com. Ontario, Canada Births, 1858-1913 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Image also on FamilySearch.
  15. Baptismal Register – St. Peter’s Erindale; St. Peter’s, Credit/Christ’s Church, Sydenham, Vol. 5, Oct 1888 – 1909; Anglican Church of Canada; Diocese of Toronto Archives, Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada; Retrieved 13 Aug 2013.
  16. Family No: 105; Page: 12; Sub-District: 46 – Coleman; District: 99 – Nipissing, Ontario; Microfilm: T-20386; Census of Canada, 1911. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2007. Series RG31-C-1. Statistics Canada Fonds.; Ancestry.com. 1911 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
  17. Census returns for 1916 Census of Prairie Provinces. Statistics of Canada Fonds, Record Group 31-C-1. Province: Manitoba, District Name: Winnipeg Centre; Dist. No.: 13; Sub Dist.: 8; Roll: T-21932; Page: 30; Family No: 345; Item No.: 807163; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.
  18. Pg. 161, Annual report, Ontario. Dept. of Mines, 1919; Retrieved Nov 2016 from the Internet Archive.
  19. Pg. 199, Proceedings of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Canada, Royal Arch Masons. Grand Chapter (Canada), 1919; Retrieved Nov 2016 from the Internet Archive.
  20. Pg. 390, Proceedings: Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Canada, Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Canada in the Province of Ontario, 1925; Retrieved Nov 2016 from the Internet Archive.
  21. Pg. 49, Mines and Metallurgical Works of Ontario in 1933, Bulletin 94, Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Herbert H. Ball, Toronto, 1934; Retrieved Nov 2016 from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.
  22. Letter from Burgoyne to Mel dated 15 Apr 1935.; Bruce B. Gordon Family Archives.
  23. Pg. 2 (stamped 15285), Electoral District of Parkdale, City of Toronto, Urban Polling Division No. 42.; Ancestry.com. Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.; Original data: Voters Lists, Federal Elections, 1935–1980. R1003-6-3-E (RG113-B). Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  24. Letter from Burgoyne to Mel dated 22 Sep 1947.; Bruce B. Gordon Family Archives
  25. Pg. 2 (stamped 20101), Electoral District of High Park, City of Toronto, Urban Polling Division No. 3.; Ancestry.com. Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.; Original data: Voters Lists, Federal Elections, 1935–1980. R1003-6-3-E (RG113-B). Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  26. Monument, St. Peter’s Anglican Church Cemetery, Erindale (Mississauga), Ontario; Photographed 13 Sep 2010 by the Author. Also on Find a Grave.
  27. Pg. 3 (stamped 38914), Electoral District of Jacques-Cartier/Lasalle, Town of Beaconsfield, Urban Polling Division No. 145.; Ancestry.com. Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.; Original data: Voters Lists, Federal Elections, 1935–1980. R1003-6-3-E (RG113-B). Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  28. Pg. 3 (stamped 43728), Electoral District of Notre Dame de Grace, City of Montreal, Urban Polling Division No. 111.; Ancestry.com. Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.; Original data: Voters Lists, Federal Elections, 1935–1980. R1003-6-3-E (RG113-B). Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  29. Interviews with M. Laird Gordon, 1996-2004; Bruce B. Gordon.

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