The Muskoka Cousins

Emma Jane, Isaac Arthur's younger sister, came to Canada with her husband and children in 1904.  The lead-up to this event is outlined in the correspondence below:

I am going to be married to Tom Jeffery at Whitsuntide or soon after. I went home last weekend & they are all very well. Father gets to look old, Hannah has been living in Manchester three months but it did not suit her & she had to go home for a few weeks. She is better & has got a place at Maccelsfield & Jemima is in a place at Middleton near Manchester. George is much the same.....I hope the boys are all well. They will have another Uncle Tom soon.

Emma Jane Fox, March 12, 1888


Emma Jane has got married to T. Jeffery of Smalldale this last weeks. They live at Leeds. There was 19 of us sat down to dinner. It was held at home (Fox house on Netherside).  We had a proper time of it, I can tell you. 

George Fox  August 26th 1888


Emma Jane and Thomas moved to Salford, Lancashire where they began their family with daughters Florence and Hannah.  The 1891 census lists Thomas as a  Brewers Carter.  By 1901, the census shows the family living back in Bradwell on Towngate, all of their children having been born, and Thomas now working as a Stone Mason.

Jennie is at Bradwell with her husband & six children ranging from 10 yrs the eldest to 2 ¼ the youngest – four girls & two boys called Florrie, Hannah, Eric, Edna, Ann, Willie.

Hannah R Sommerset November 29th, 1900


Did you know that Auntie Jennie and family are seriously thinking of coming to America perhaps next spring.  Tom's brothers and sisters have emigrated the last year and are writing for them to follow.  I don't think Uncle Tom is very anxious but Auntie Jennie seems to think the children will get into employment there better than at Bradwell, but I shouldn't come, there is no place so sweet to me as dear old England...

Hannah R Somerset, September 4th, 1903

The Jeffery's  Passenger Registry for the Port of Quebec City, August 1904.

Thomas Jeffery      Builder    Age 41
Mrs.                          Wife        Age 40
Florence                  Child        Age 15
Hannah                   Child        Age 13
Eric                          Child        Age 11
Edna                        Child        Age 10
Ann                          Child        Age 9
William                    Child        Age 6

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Just like Isaac and Elizabeth, Emma Jane and Thomas needed to consider future for themselves and the possibilities for their children to have better choices to earn a living when they came of age.  Starting in Toronto where Thomas operated a construction business, the family decided to relocate to Torrance, build a home, and farm, where they remained for their lifetime.

Jefferies has bought a farm in Muskoka. Eric is in bad health and he is going to live there for a while and one of the girls are going to keep house for him but the rest of the family is going to stay in Toronto.

Maude Fox, April 23, 1912

Eric passed away later that year in November from Tuburculosis.
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In a letter to Herbert and Eliza, Thomas refers to his home as White House Farm.

White House Farm, Torrance, Muskoka, Nov. 24th, 1929

Dear Nephew & Niece,

I am just sending a few lines to thank you for the good time you all gave me, it was so cold when we met Ford, that I didn't seem to have much vigour in me and I did not get warm all the way to Stratford, & to crown all we had a blow out one mile from anywhere.  Ford had skidded into the curb in the morning, and had burnt the wall of one of his tires and did not know, and it had held out all that time.  We did not get home till 7:30.  I hope you had better luck.  I left Stratford at 4:20 Saturday and arrived home about 2:10 in the morning.  I was agreeably surprised when I got into Torrance, Bill & Aunt Jennie were there with the truck, and I had told them not to meet me but it was all right, there was about a foot of snow, but Bill had been down three times so the going was all right.

Jennie left for London about 3 o'clock this afternoon so I am having another Holiday.

Give my love to all the Family, and I hope Buds' foot is better, and tell him not to forget the arrangement we made that he was to come a week before you, next visit to Muskoka, and then return with you.

Hope you are all well, thanking you again for your kindness to me.

I remain, Yours Sincerely, Uncle Tom

As the Bradwell population grew in North America, so too did travelling, visiting, and vacationing for many decades between homesteads; from cousin John Reginald Fox in New York, the Foxes in Hamilton and Dunnville, to the Jefferies in Torrance, Muskoka, reunions were always a welcomed event. When possible, trips back overseas by boat were made to continue forging family connections between the siblings and cousins who remained in Bradwell.  From Maude Fox's 1910 letter:  "Antie (Emma-Jane) was in England for three months and (at) Uncle George's (John Reginald's father)".  Herbert's daughter Dorothy wrote:

There were a few family visits to Torrance.  The first in the 1920's - My mother & dad (Eliza and Herbert) & the youngest of my 3 brothers, Birley, and me at 8 years old in our Star touring car.  It was at Easter.  I remember unpaved roads and a lot of bumping along.  There were two other times in the 1930's.  One with my parents & Aunt Maude and her daughter Vera (9 years old) from Dunnville, and another time with my parents and my eldest brother Bert.


My first recollection of Aunt Jennie was when I was quite small.  I was still in my crib in my parents' room and when I awoke and looked over at my parents' bed, it was Aunt Jennie there instead, so I was a little confused.  It seems that my dad had returned the previous evening from a visit to Dunnville & decided to bring his Aunt Jennie with him.  She had been visiting my grandparents.


My mother went to stay with Aunt Jennie for a few days after she had moved from the farm.  And she went again in January of 1940 to attend Aunt Jennie's funeral.  Aunt Jennie, for some years, stayed with us for the month of October, and on these visits we learned much about life in Bradwell.  I still have a quilt she made and tatted pillowslips.

Click on the thumbnail images to open photos in full size.

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This is where the knives and forks were used.  I was 16 when my Grandfather died & he was in his 84th year & I shall be 80 next so they must be getting on for two hundred.  I am going to be with Hannah for a while, so Torrance will find me:  Many thanks for all your kindness.  Love to all, Aunt Jennie, 1938.
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Family members acknowledge that Emma Jane's energetic spirit was the force that moved the family, not only in the larger task of immigration, but also in day-to-day life.  While Thomas took more of an easy-going, humorous attitude:  "Jennie I am having another holiday",  Emma-Jane was not one to sit and ponder, even in old age.  Her grandaughter recalled a sitting room in White House Farm that hosted a fireplace which Emma Jane and Thomas had contracted to be built.  This room was open to the family only at special occasions like Christmas, or for summer guests that Emma would take in when she lived on her own.

Once Emma Jane moved from the farm into Torrance, her grandaughter and two grandsons would visit her after school and occupy themselves threading bunches of needles every so often so that she could continue quilting, despite her failing eyesight. Emma Jane's earlier photos show her directly looking into the camera, smiling and relaxed:  a confident, pleasant person, able to rise to just about any occasion, and not without her own quirks.

I shall let Jennie see your letter when I see her & then no doubt she will write to you, though she says she would rather do a day’s washing than write a letter.

Hannah Somerset, January 9th, 1901

Click on the thumbnail images to open photos in full size.

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Box 471 Cobalt
March 24, 1958

Dear Herb –
This will not be much of a letter but it is to let you know I had surgery on my eye a month ago & it is 100% successful.
I am not able to use it to any extent as yet. I write a little & try to read a little, but it tires easily & will take time.  I am very happy to have sight again & it was a cataract.
Father’s eye was not a cataract, it was burnt & the sight myriad (?) & so was inoperable & the film on his eye was the result of the burn.
It is so nice you are able to travel so much & I hope you have a nice trip.
Hannah & Arthur are talking of going over in 1959.
I have not heard from Dorothy for some time but know she had an illness last year & was in hospital for some time, but don’t know what her trouble was.
George Clements in Bala had a serious illness last Autumn & was in Toronto Private Patients Pavilion for about 6 weeks but is coming along nicely & we expect he & Ann up one of these days. They sold their home in Bala & are building a new bungalow on a property they have down the river about half-a-mile.

We had heard about the death of Maud, but not Dick.
Again, wishing you a nice holiday,
Flo C.

Florence (Jeffery) Chapman


Emma Jane Fox:  January 10, 1858 Bradwell, Derbyshire - January 29, 1940 Torrance Muskoka  Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1947 for Emma Jane Jeffery

Thomas Jeffery: May 26, 1863, England - May 26, 1933 Torrance, Muskoka  Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1947 for Thomas Jeffery

 Florence (Jeffery) Chapman: 1889, England - 1970, Torrance Ontario 1891 England Census for Florence Jeffrey

Hannah (Jeffery) Willison: 1891, England - January 2, 1978 Oshawa, On. Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1937 for Hannah Jeffery

Eric Jeffery:  September 24, 1892 Bradwell, Derbyshire - November 21, 1912 Torrance Ontario (tuberculosis) Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1947 for Jeffrey Jeffrey

Anne (Jeffery) Clements: 1895 Bradwell, Derbyshire - Fe. 26, 1959 Bala, Ontario Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1937 for Anne Jeffery

Edna (Jeffery) Stromberg:  January 28, 1896 Bradwell, Derbyshire - May 30, 1936 Cobalt, On Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1947 for Edna Stromberg

William Jeffery:  May 22, 1898 Bradwell, Derbyshire - January 18, 1980 Torrance, Ontario 1901 England Census for William Jeffery