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Off to Australia – A Mystery of a Different Kind – Part 4

Another piece of history has found a home.
This week I received an e-mail that said:

Hi Elisabeth,

I am interested in the book How To Be Always Well on your webpage
I am the great-grandson of Neil Simpson. My mother’s mother, Evelyn (Simpson) MacKechnie was the daughter of Neil. The family had moved to Vancouver, BC before she was born and they made several trips back to PEI. My grandmother was born in Cavendish in PEI on one of the return trips.
My grandmother married Dr Hugh Alexander MacKechnie in Vancouver, where my mother, Margaret and her brother (my uncle) were born. My mother immigrated to Sydney, Australia and married my father, Leonhard , who had immigrated from Germany. My father passed away in August. My mother and I still live in Sydney, Australia.
Note that my Mum is Anne with an e. She feels very connected with “Anne of Green Gables” as Neil and Lucy Maud Montgomery used to sit close together in school. They were cousins.
My grandmother made several contributions to the archives in Charlottetown.
I visited PEI in 2010, I went to the archives. I tried to find a porcupine box that my grandmother had left there but the archivists could not find it. I also tried to find the location of William Simpson’s original log cabin near Cavendish. I have many relatives still living in PEI and across Canada.
If you still have the book and are willing to part with it I would love to have a piece of family history. My brother is also very interested in our family history.

Kind Regards,
So I packed up the book, and it is now on a journey across the continent – where I hope Neil Simpson’s family will be enriched by the wisdom he left behind.

A Mystery of a Different Kind – Part 3

I found Neil Simpson in the 1881 and the 1891 Canadian Census as one of the children of William and Helen Simpson. I was unable to find him in the 1901 so far. His mother is by now a widow, and listed as the head of the household, and she is left with the 3 youngest children at home.

To get an easy overview of all the Canada Census information, I added all the data in Canada Census Overview Charts

I did find Neil in the Public Archives in the Marriage Records.

Marriage Record
Groom’s Name Neil Simpson
Groom’s Residence Cavendish, Lot 23
Groom’s Status Bachelor
Bride’s Name Sarah Margaret McLeod
Bride’s Residence Brookfield
Bride’s Status Spinster
Date of Marriage License or Bond 11 February 1903
Date of Marriage Ceremony 16 March 1903
Officiant’s Name George Millar
Source RG19, Series3, Subseries4: Marriage Licenses, 1903

Strangely I did find him and his family twice in the 1911 Canadian Census in British Columbia, not sure the reason for it yet.

There also happens to be family photo at the PEI Archives.

Public Archives and Records Office

Media Type Photograph
Item Number Acc2775/Series3/1
Host Collection Photo Index
Caption Group – Family – Simpson (William John)
Original Format 1 b&w 35 mm negative
Description ca. 1890; oversize; copy print in binder, Reading Room [44]
Notes identified are: John Clark Simpson, Winchester Simpson, Mary Ellen Clark Simpson, Lincoln Simpson, Jeannie Simpson, Neil Simpson, Charlotte Elizabeth Simpson, Ella Simpson

If any of the descendants of Neil Simpson want the book, with your great.,.,.grand father’s inscription, you are welcome to have it. It comes with handwritten notes for his diet..

Update :
The End of this Story

A Mystery of a Different Kind – Part 2

Some of the other books I purchased in the same lot:

– Surgical Nursing by Eliason Ferguson Lewis, published in 1929
inscribed with Ella B. Simpson, P.C. Hospital, Summerside, Jan. 19, 1930

– Obstetrics for Nurses by De Lee, published in 1929
(This book has the name Ella Simpson (Jan. 15, 1930)- Prince County Hospital, Summerside – as well as Mrs. Vaughn Groom Jan. 16, 1936),
Summerside, P.E.I.

–  Nervous Stomach Troubles by Joseph F. Montague, M.D. published in 1940, inscribed with Vaughn Groom, Sept. ’48

– Intestinal Ills by Alcinous B. Jamison, M.D., published in 1917, inscribed with Mr+s. Vaughn Groom, Summerside, P.E.I.

– The Canada Book of Prose and Verse, 25th printing in 1948, inscribed with
Alfred Groom.

– Julius Caesar, inscibed with Donald Groom, Water Street East, Summerside, Grade XIC (??)

From this I could conclude, that Ella B. Simpson was born around 1910, and married Vaughn Groom between 1930 and 1936, and lived in Summerside, P.E.I. and could possibly have sons named Alfred and Donald.

From here I googled the “Vaughn Groom Summerside” and came up with the following information
Vaugham Harry Groom, born Jan. 6, 1906 was born in Moncton, N.B. and died Jun 21, 1993, Summerside, P.E.I.
on 18 Sep 1935 he married Ella B. Simpson, who was born 8 Aug 1908, Kensington, , Prince Edward Island, Canada and died 7 Jan 2000, Summerside, , Prince Edward Island, Canada  (Age 91 years)
They had 2 sons:
Alfred Vaughan Groom
Donald Richard Groom
This site does tell who the parents of Vaugham Groom were, but not who Ell’a Parents were.
I googled “Ella Belle Simpson” and came across a story in the Guardian
“Lofty Life” by Jim Day, published Oct. 6, 2007, which backs up a lot of the information all have so far, including the impact that the Groom family had in Summerside as well “Pole Vaulting”.
Next I found the Island Register “The Descendants of Walter Simpson and Elspet Man

William George Simpson b. Jan 20 1869, m. (1) Nov 20 1895, Janie Profit, b. Jan 1868, Spring Valley, PEI., d. Sep 26 1920, Interred: Kensington People’s Cemetery, P.E.I., Note: Resided, Kensington, PEI., m. (2) ___ 1924, Alberta Mabel Woolner, b. ___ 1878, d. ___ 1957,.
(Janie was the daughter of Richard Profit, of Spring Valley, PEI)

Children by Janie Profit:
1. Annie Florence Simpson b. Oct 09 1897,

2. Richard P. Simpson b. Feb 25 1900,

3. Jennie Vesta Simpson b. Apr 03 1903,

4. Ella Belle Simpson b. Aug 08 1908, m. Vaughn Harry Groom, b. Jan 06 1909.

I had assumed that Ella’s father would be Neil Simpson, however, that does not seem to be the case.
On the same site going back one generation, I find that Ella’s father William George Simpson is the son William John Simpson and has a brother named Neill, who was born in 1876.

William John Simpson b. ___ 1832, m. Mar 21 1865, Helen (Ellen) Jane Clark, b. Jan 01 1841, (daughter of Andrew Clark and Sophianna Elizabeth Charlotte Bagnall) d. Jun 05 1915, Note: Resided, Cavendish, PEI. William died Oct 24 1899, Note: Resided, Cavendish, PEI. William John and Helen had 6 sons and 3 daughters. Helen: According to Lucy Maud Montgomery, her journals, Vol 2, Page 167, Helen died of cancer.


1.Winchester Simpson d. +. Winchester died in University.

2. John Simpson Note: Unm., Resided, Vancouver,

3. Lincoln Simpson b. Apr 18 1865, d. Jun 15 1951, Unm., Resided, BC.

4. William George Simpson b. Jan 20 1869.

5.  Ella Simpson b. Jul 1875, d. Apr 24 1966.

6.  Janie Simpson.

 7.  Neil Simpson b. ___ 1876.

8. Lottie Simpson Note: Unmarried.

This Neil Simpson :
Neil Simpson b. ___ 1876,
m. Sarah Margaret M’Leod,
Note: Resided, Vancouver, BC. Neil died Aug 05 1940,


1. Evelyn Catherine Simpson m. Hugh M’Kechnie, Occupation: Doctor.

2. Eric MacLeod Simpson m. Aubrey Hicks. Eric and Aubrey had 1 son and 2 daughters.

3. William Wesley Simpson Occupation: Phd., m. Kathleen Solloway. William Note: William and Kathleen had 2 sons.

4. Norman Simpson m. Minna Hughes, Note: Resided, Seattle, Wa. Norman Note: Resided, Seattle, Wa. Norman and Minna had 3 daughters.

For more information I will look into the Canadian Census.
To be continued……


A Mystery of a Different Kind – Part 1

Who was Neil Simpson?

I am currently in the process of purging – going through all my “stuff”, and deciding what to keep or not to keep, that is the constant question.
Going through the book shelves seems a difficult task.
The collection is large – through of years of homeschooling and acquiring textbooks, novels and more for educational purposes, but also the results of attending auction sales.
There are no personal attachments to these books, but when I came across the following book, I wished it had belonged to one of my ancestors. To someone in my ancestry, who would have made such a statement of his or her faith, and the thought occurred to me, that someone in this person’s family might wish to know what his or her great-grandfather believed.
For this story the book itself is of no importance,  with a title “How to be Always Well” by Robert G. Jackson M.D.
In 1914, when Dr. Robert G. Jackson M.D. was in his 40s, he developed a severe case of arthritis (probably rheumatoid arthritis) and when he was 49, his doctors gave him four years to live. He refused to accept the diagnosis and began to exercise more and sleep with his bedroom windows open. Long before such things were popular, he developed a health food diet of fruits, vegetables and his own line of health foods including Roman Meal bread. This bread was fashioned after the multi-grain bread ate by the Roman legions and included wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye. Disease,” he said, “was due solely to man’s stupidity.” The original publication date for this book was 1927.
When opening this book I was pleasantly surprised by the 2 pages of neat handwriting, and immediately I was intrigued. This person  (Neil Simpson, by his signature at the bottom of the page) wrote down his faith, and what he believed.

How often do we take the time to let others know what we believe, to pass on our faith to future generations. I want Neil Simpson’s family to know this about their forefathers. I want to know who this person was.
My first clues were on the inside cover of the book:

Date: May 1935
Name: Neil Simpson
Place: Winfield Alberta
Previous: Vancouver B.C.
I bought this book, along with several other books in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
So I would think that he would have had some connection with PEI.
Some of the other books I purchased in the same lot:
to be continued ………..


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