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Old 02-17-2014, 01:54 PM
 
Location: On the Group W bench
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Crane Valley, Saskatchewan

Edgewood, BC

This is a long shot but I don't know where else to ask besides the Canada forum.

I'm researching a man who stated in a passport application in 1924 that he had lived in Edgewood May-August, 1915. He also stated that he lived in Crane Valley during the exact same time period in 1916 (or 1917 as he stated in a later passport application).

He was a divinity student in Ohio in 1917 and was a missionary to China in the 1920s. What on earth would take him to those places in Canada for two summers? He was born in 1889.

Curiosity is getting the better of me, even though it's only a few months of his life.

Missionary to native tribes? That's the only thing I can imagine at that early date. Any other thoughts are more than welcome!
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:49 AM
 
14,781 posts, read 41,202,740 times
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The first thing that jumped out to me is that these dates are during WW1, but prior to US entry into the war. Canada as part of the British Empire was involved from day one in 1914. I will assume that the man in question was an American and that would make a lot of sense since Americans were often given work opportunities in Canada during WW1 do to the severe manpower shortage from the war and the move into war industries.

The time period also jumped out to me, May through August is summer and the heart of Canadian wheat season. Dark northern spring and durum wheat are both planted in May and June. At the same time winter wheat is harvested from late June through early September. So, May-August in a place like Crane Valley (which is a very small farming community in the heart of Saskathewan wheat country) would indicate to me that he was there working as a field hand.

The Edgewood one is harder to pin down. Edgewood had a history as a bit of a resort town, so he could have been working there in the summers at one of the numerous lakes and/or just vacationing there. The less rosey scenario is that he was building an internment camp. During WW1 Canada interned Ukrainian nationalists that were living in Canada as well as other ethnic minorities from other nations they were at war with. These camps were spread all over Canada and many of them were built by the Canadian Pacific Rail Company (which was a huge conglomerate at the time including operating ships, hotels, etc.). A camp was opened in Edgewood in August of 1915 and construction and preparation had started there in May of 1915. It would not be out of the question that the man in question was hired as a worker and sent there to build what became an internment camp. He certainly wasn't in BC to harvest wheat, lol.

So, something tells me that he was not in Canada to serve as a missionary to natives, but was most likely there as a summer laborer. Americans in that role would have been common in manpower deprived Canada during that time. This is of course, just a guess based on the limited information, but it seems reasonable.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:24 PM
 
Location: On the Group W bench
5,563 posts, read 4,070,708 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
The first thing that jumped out to me is that these dates are during WW1, but prior to US entry into the war. Canada as part of the British Empire was involved from day one in 1914. I will assume that the man in question was an American and that would make a lot of sense since Americans were often given work opportunities in Canada during WW1 do to the severe manpower shortage from the war and the move into war industries.

The time period also jumped out to me, May through August is summer and the heart of Canadian wheat season. Dark northern spring and durum wheat are both planted in May and June. At the same time winter wheat is harvested from late June through early September. So, May-August in a place like Crane Valley (which is a very small farming community in the heart of Saskathewan wheat country) would indicate to me that he was there working as a field hand.

The Edgewood one is harder to pin down. Edgewood had a history as a bit of a resort town, so he could have been working there in the summers at one of the numerous lakes and/or just vacationing there. The less rosey scenario is that he was building an internment camp. During WW1 Canada interned Ukrainian nationalists that were living in Canada as well as other ethnic minorities from other nations they were at war with. These camps were spread all over Canada and many of them were built by the Canadian Pacific Rail Company (which was a huge conglomerate at the time including operating ships, hotels, etc.). A camp was opened in Edgewood in August of 1915 and construction and preparation had started there in May of 1915. It would not be out of the question that the man in question was hired as a worker and sent there to build what became an internment camp. He certainly wasn't in BC to harvest wheat, lol.

So, something tells me that he was not in Canada to serve as a missionary to natives, but was most likely there as a summer laborer. Americans in that role would have been common in manpower deprived Canada during that time. This is of course, just a guess based on the limited information, but it seems reasonable.
Excellent information. Thank you so much … again. Since he was probably a college student during the war, he would have been deferred, yes? Thus having his summers free to labor and fill in for that manpower shortage.

Last night I finally established a contact with a great-great-grandson of his, so I may find out more from that family, too.
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:34 PM
 
14,781 posts, read 41,202,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmqueen View Post
Excellent information. Thank you so much … again. Since he was probably a college student during the war, he would have been deferred, yes? Thus having his summers free to labor and fill in for that manpower shortage.

Last night I finally established a contact with a great-great-grandson of his, so I may find out more from that family, too.
Remember, the US did not enter WW1 until April of 1917, nearly three years after the war started in Europe. During the time in question, the US would not have been at war yet. However, Canada would be as it was part of the British Empire, hence the manpower shortage and the need for labor. By being in college and in particular a seminary in 1917 he would have been deferred from the draft and granted an exemption when the US entered the war.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:12 PM
 
Location: On the Group W bench
5,563 posts, read 4,070,708 times
Reputation: 2127
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Remember, the US did not enter WW1 until April of 1917, nearly three years after the war started in Europe. During the time in question, the US would not have been at war yet. However, Canada would be as it was part of the British Empire, hence the manpower shortage and the need for labor. By being in college and in particular a seminary in 1917 he would have been deferred from the draft and granted an exemption when the US entered the war.
Yes. Duh me. I know WWI inside and out so that was an embarrassing post from me.

Anyway, it all makes sense. Young college man making some money to pay for school, no doubt. His father was retired by that time and had a large younger family to support.

Thanks again.
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