|WILLIAM MARK LEONARD l87l/1964 AUTOBIOGRAPHY||November 18, 1950|
Everything has to have a beginning, so this thing I call, "I", had to begin. I was born in a lovely little Irish Village by the sea called Donaghadee, County Down, Ireland, October 23rd 1871.
Looking down the years in memory's mirror the picture is blurred, but I guess I was taken in early babyhood to Barrow-in-Furness, England, and there my sister Mary Ann was born on August 4th 1874. Back in my three year old mind I imagine I see a circus street parade, a lovely white horse with a gaily dressed man on its back.
Then comes into memory's mirror a hazy picture of Manchester Lancashire where my brother Frank (Francis) was born Dec. 1st 1876. Again into this dim picture comes another little brother Thomas who died in his infancy. I recall here it was I began to go to school. It was called Clower Street School. The school master was Mr. Cunnliffe. I did not like him. When we were late, we had to line up inside the door to be caned before going to our classes. That waiting for the stinging punishment on my bare hand I do not forget.
Of my Father, "Francis Edward Leonard", I have very little recollection. He was a Roman Catholic, a builder, a very unhappy marriage I fear. He must have deserted my Mother. About 1882 my Grandmother (Maternal) died, and my Mother brought us to my native place, Donaghadee. Here she lived to care for my Grandfather until he died in 1884.
My memory of the happy school days in Donaghadee is more clear, about three years, in the Church School. (In those days our school was connected with the Methodist Church.) Dear old Mr. Morrison was a typical Village schoolmaster, kindly soul. I can see him yet. His discipline was comfortable and oh how we tried his long suffering patience. The glorious sea, and boats.
One day my Mother came looking for me, couldn't see me, asked a fisherman. He pointed up. I was up aloft, . . . (in the rigging!) . . . Oh the happy pranks of boyhood. I must tell here about a dog called Joe. We were good pals. Joe dearly loved hot potatoes. I forked out some nice hot ones, and 'laughed like to split' as Joe barked as he bit.
Just after the death of my Grandfather, Mother took us three children to Glasgow Scotland, it was in the year 1884, to continue her lonely struggle to rear us youngsters. I was 13, Mary Ann was 10, Frank was 7. Mother was a capable dressmaker, worked early and late. My sister and brother went to school, but I was 13, so I went to work to help Mother, tried to keep up my education at evening schools.
My first job was that of an oven boy, - Gray Dunn's Biscuit Factory, got five shillings per week of 55 hours, and here I had to work with low grade Scotch of both sexes, but 'enough said'. Poverty and rags, not much of Sunday School, but our Mother tried to patch us up to attend. Untrained, I tried every kind of job. I was Office Boy for a Sherriff Officer, Book keeper for a Plumbing firm, Apprentice Jobbing Smith, Apprentice Baker, . .
Then in 1889, I began apprenticeship to be a ship's joiner, in Fairfield Shipbuilding Company in Govan, (a suburb of Glasgow). Govan was some miles from where we lived, so I had to travel by steam-street-car, and be there at 6:00 am. We worked 54 hours per week . I got 4 shillings per week , and was raised every year one shilling per week and I received ten shillings per week in my fifth year 1894.
Out of this scanty wage I had to purchase my tools. I got them from the shipyard storehouse, price deducted from my wages by installments. . . . . . During the four years, 1884 to 1889, when I was a young jack-of-all-trades, an oven boy, office boy, book keeper, smith, baker, message boy . . . . . . looking back over 65 years, the picture of my youth from 13 to 17 is so full of so many things, that it defies a mental photograph.
My sister was about 12 years, Frank 9 years old, still at school. More clothing and food, was imperative, and Mother was carrying a full load. I can recall Mother telling me one Saturday night that when she paid the girls who were helping her in the dressmaking business their wages, she had only a few shillings left.
Despite this pinching poverty we felt the pulse of youth, and faced our penury with courage. My night school work had to fit in with my daily work. It was desultory effort, and did not produce many certificates. In 1889 I began to learn how to push a plane, then on through the five years already mentioned, my night studies were changed to Y.M.C.A. classes on Geometry, Mechanical Drawing, these in different grades, added to a nine and three quarter hour day, and two or three nights per week.
Sometime during my apprenticeship our family moved into Govan. Now we were nearer to the shipyard where I worked. Our religious life was not entirely neglected. We had a kind of "Sunday Clothes Religion", and not having much in the way of Sunday Clothes our religion sometimes 'went by the board' ! ! However, Mother did her tired best, to get us to Sunday School and Church.
My Sister as soon as she get her "3 R's", left school to help to carry some of the load and like me untrained tackled any Job she could, laundry work, was a ward maid in a hospital, opened a laundry, and made it go, lifting the load from my Mother somewhat.
About the year 1893 or '94 my brother Frank began to serve his apprenticeship to become a ship's joiner, just as I was finishing my apprenticeship at the same trade. Now I was a journeyman ship 's joiner, Joined the Trade Union, got the regular scale wage, seven pence h'penny per hour for the 54 hours a week, equal to 27 shillings. This full amount I gave my Mother for one year.
Now that Mary Ann and Frank were earning wages, they too gave money to Mother. Then we became clothed, and at last had enough to eat. The struggle in the City of Glasgow was a continual fight to live and we were glad to feel our slave chains loosen.
We lived in Glasgow from 1885 to 1900 on both sides of the River Clyde. However, I must step back to 1890 to record the big change in my life. Our home is now on the north side of the River, and in 1890 I still had years to serve to complete my apprenticeship.
I was attracted to an Open Air Meeting at the end of our street. This group belonged to The Patrick Wesleyan Church. I always loved music. A girl offered me a hymn book and I joined the circle much to the amusement of the gang I chummed with ! !
Soon I stepped into the light, having a powerful voice I began to preach, and now after 60 years I am still preaching when the opportunity opens. Here began the best years of my life, so I must tell the story in more detail.
Our Family life in the Patrick Wesleyan Church for the few years there, was good. I had new visions of my life work, studied hard, read all the books I could get. I entered into Church work, Sunday School, Temperance meetings on Saturday nights, open air services, did local preacher work, walking miles to and from services. But now I had to cross the River to go to work and be there at 6 am.
I cannot pass this period of my life, without referring to a splendid Christian girl called Catherine Robertson that I fell madly in love with. I honored her memory for about fifteen years after her death, and Catherine our oldest daughter carries her name spelled in exactly the same way.
The strain of work and study at this time was too much, so I had to slow up some during our sojourn on North side of the Clyde. Looking back down the corridor of time for over half a century, the movements of our Family are hard to recall, but before 1900 we moved back again into Govan on the South side of the River. Now we changed our Church, went to the Fleming Street Wesleyan Church.
The scope of my free-lance preaching widened beyond my own Church. I became President of Open Air Mission which was Inter-denominational. We got big crowds in the Public Square. My how the Scotch can sing ! ! My spare time activities in Govan were many and varied; my own Church, Sunday School, Evening School studies, Temperance work, and preaching anywhere that opportunity offered.
The goal of my ambition was the Christian Ministry. I read all the books I could get bearing on the Doctrine of our Wesleyan Church. I got scant encouragement from any of my Pastors. My natural 'fatal fluency' without the basic ground work of early school days, was a constant drag weight. I have already written, our Family poverty compelled me to leave the Public School at 13 years of age and go to work to help earn our daily bread.
Towards the end of Queen Victoria's reign and the beginning of the Boer War in 1899, circumstances urged me to seek employment and I find myself in England where I found a job in a Tyneside Shipyard. Now here comes a change. I find the Wesleyans of Holburn very much alive and they gave me a glad hand.
The daily work was hard, for the most part insulating ships to carry frozen beef to the army fighting Oom Paul Kruger, in our war with the Boers. I was welcomed into our Church life, did Local Preacher work, and was very happy among the Tynesiders. My employment was precarious, off one job and on to another. The home pull, and my responsibility back in Glasgow was urgent.
So I left again for Scotland. Of course my sister and Brother were helping now, but still my Mother looked to me as her prime helper. Back in Glasgow did not bring me my old time steady employment. So soon I find myself in Belfast in my native Ireland, somewhere near the year 1900.
I secured employment in the firm of Harland and Wolff. Soon my Brother got a job in the same shipyard, then my Mother and sister joined us. Now our home is on Cheviot Avenue, Ballymacarrett, Belfast. My Church life had first claim on my leisure.
I joined the Methodist Church, I think it was called the Mount Pottinger Methodist Church. I was Sunday School teacher at two schools every Sunday, 9 am and 3 pm, and it is strange to say two classes of girls, both fine groups of teenagers and a bachelor teacher ! !
This gave me a fine chance to study the Book of Books, the Bible. I had to prepare two different lessons for these girls, bright girls, who could ask questions and I had to answer them. I found the best way to learn was to try to teach, in this way I learned some things that abide.
Being a lover of music, having a good voice, I tried to sing in the Choir which sat up in the gallery. Alas, as a singer I am not a success. I tried hard, if I know the melody, . . but . . I could not Sing the tenor ! ! I could talk, I could make people hear me, I preached every chance I got, an open air meeting was my great opportunity.
Belfast Y.M.C.A. had a splendid teacher of Elocution in their School, Mr. Willian Pyper. I plunged into this grand study, in the years won gold and silver medals. This put better language and more dramatic power into my preaching. Belfast where they talk English with a funny accent.
"Belfast" . . . . its long bridge over the River Logan, its horse drawn tram cars, its jaunting cars, its thousands of shipyard workers, its very strong politics, protestantism, its fine Churches, Colleges, its great crowds on the Custom House steps on Sunday afternoons: ---- there thousands would gather to hear fiery speeches in defence of Belfast's Protestant Faith.
"Belfast" . . . . a beautiful city, fine buildings, lovely gardens, drama, music, sport, ashore and afloat. . . . . As is usual with large cities. Belfast was not a city of Saints. It had its shady side, and a wide open opportunity to preach the Gospel. Many of those fiery protestants of 1900, loudly declared that, "They would die for an open Bible", but alas to many of them it was a closed book.
I recall joining the "G.C.C." This was, "The Gospel Cycling Club", a group of men who met every Saturday afternoon at about 2 pm, at a given point, and after prayer would ride off to some seashore town, or other popular resort, usually within 30 or 40 miles distant, see the sights, go to a restaurant, have supper, then form a circle in the most public place, conduct an open service. Twenty five to thirty men singing soon gathered a crowd, short speeches of many different kinds, all making one appeal, . . . was good. The- meeting over, we all mounted to ride home to Belfast.
In the early Summer of 1903 about the close of the Boer War, a man who used to work in the joiners shop, came back from Transvaal South Africa on an urgent family call. The story of opportunity in South Africa made a group of joiners decide to go back to the TransvaaI with him, so we did ! ! I bought the cheapest passage like the others and off we went.
Belfast to Liverpool, on to London, we had time to see some of the sights in the big city. From the top of the Bus we saw the Famous Places, we had seen before in pictures only. The Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, the notorious Whitechapel, Petticoat Lane, Piccadilly, the Strand, the Coster-mongers and street scenes of this great city.
Sight seeing over, we get to Fenchurch Station, off to Tilbury Docks to embark for Capetown South Africa. Oh the excitement, and fun of getting aboard this "Castle Liner". (I cannot recall the name of this ship, because l am writing this in 1950-51 and we sailed from Tilbury in June of 1903, nearly 48 years ago).
However I can recall how we walked up the gangway carrying our bags, how we were checked off as we stepped on deck. I was amazed to be singled out for questioning but I was not the one they were looking for, so I was soon among the group bound for the Transvaal. Soon we found our berths and got settled down to gaze at all that was new to us afloat and ashore. I remember Plymouth Harbour, more passengers and our last look at England, the Chalk Cliffs of Dover.
We made good friends with our fellow passengers, got our places at the dining-room tables, and tackled the ships food, even the dry hash. We went through the Bay of Biscay in a calm sea, most unusual experience. We get to know our fellow passengers very soon, and engaged in games, amusements, and tried to talk to some who knew very little English. Our good fellowship grew until we were like a big family.
We came to anchor at Teneriffe, the largest of the Canary Islands. Soon our ship was surrounded by all kinds of floating craft, boys who could dive and catch a silver coin as small as a ten cent piece. The sea was a clear green colour and objects could be seen at great depth. The ship's decks were soon crowded with vendors of all kinds of things. Some of the passengers went ashore to see the sights, and taste the wine, and returned top-heavy ! On leaving Teneriffe, I saw flying fish. Their wings are attached just behind their gills, they seemed about twelve inches, they rise out of the sea in shoals, fly about twenty yards I guess, a pretty sight indeed.
On we go to Capetown, we catch occasional glimpses of Africa, had some very stormy weather. Nearing the end of our sea voyage of about three weeks, we kept looking out for Table Bay. One day I saw the white Albatross which seemed to say we are nearing land. Some of the passengers are going on to Australia, and good bye parties are the order for us who are going ashore at Capetown. Then one dull hazy morning in a drizzling rain I got my first sight of Table Mountain, a great square topped mountain with a cloud partly covering it. Some say this view shows the table with the table cloth on it.
Now the confusion of getting aboard the barges that will take us into Capetown. Our crowd on the barges yelled our good byes to our Australia bound friends. Three cheers for this fellow and that fellow and then one wag yelled, "Three Cheers for the 'Dry Hash'" . This brought an uproar of laughter from everybody.
At the close of the Boer War, Capetown was a wild place. Every fellow had to look out for himself. To find safe lodging was rare. I went to a Salvation Army Officer, left my heaviest box and was given safe instructions, followed the advice, and so escaped being robbed. Our sojourn in Capetown was of short duration. Some of our group were not going to the Transvaal. Those of us who were going up country, got ready and soon were on the train. So out of Cape Colony, and into Orange River Colony, and into the Transvaal.
This was a rough trip, we ate as we could get out food, we saw a war smashed country, block houses, bones of dead horses, hundreds of little white crosses which marked soldiers graves. Strange fellow passengers, of different nationalities, and our only language was English. This one thousand mile trip was an eye opener, sand - khaki coloured sand everywhere, hot dry, no trees, a shady place was rare, and twilight was about five to seven minutes. I forget how many hours, perhaps forty eight or fifty.
Now we arrive at Germiston where we expected to work and live. Germiston as I recall it, was made up of three small towns, Germiston, Georgetown, and Elandsfontien. This last kept its Dutch name, the Elandsfontien (Ellen's Fountain). It probably was the oldest of the three. Water was a scarce commodity and little villages grew up around the wells. So there are many names that end in the word "Fontien".
Here was a great international mixture; Dutch, Boers, English, Scotch, Irish Australian, Africaners (Whites born in South Africa) Basuta, Zulu, and others of the coloured tribes. We were supposed to speak the English language, but there was a Pidgin English, fearfully and wonderfully made.
There were gold mines all around us, -- each had its name. The nearest was the Simmer and Jack Mine. I think it was about six thousand feet to Its lowest level. After the Boer War there was a gold mining boom in the Transvaal. Miners from every where flocked to the Whitwatersrand, or The Rand it was called for short. The British miners after they secured their 'blasting certificate' could work on a piece work basis and could earn from $200.00 to $500.00 per month. Not only English miners but all who passed the test.
A very dangerous but highly paid business, and there were thousands who took the risk. To British miners whose homeland wage was about $32.00 per month, the thought of even $200 per month was 'magnetic'. So they came to blast out gold for big wages and the reckless went wild ! ! But that is another story.
I found a boarding house with a Dutch Family, three of us in one room. The other two also came from Belfast. I recall how the Zulu boy wakened us up with cups of coffee, it was quite an eye-opener. All of our group got employment in the same carpenter's shop. Wages were six pounds a week, but our room and board were costly.
I naturally sought the Wesleyan Church. I remember the little Welsh preacher Rev. Glyndwer Davies. The Church was for the most part filled with men. Women . . . seemed very few among so many gold mines. I soon found my place in the Church; tried to teach a men's Bible class; got on the circuit plan, and took my turn in local preacher work.
Germiston had a lodge of the Royal Templars of Temperance, and here joined the fight against the over load of drinking saloons, the open bottle store, and the bottle store cart which carried the bottles to the properties where the miners lived. Paul Kruger's laws allowed one license only for every 250 of white male population over 16 years. We found about 9 licensed places over the number the law permitted. So you can easily guess the fight was on. At the Municipal Election time I went and challenged the candidates, raised an uproar, but we cut down the number of licenses. I made enemies among the liquor vendors and soon found I could get 'NO' employment. The Templars backed me up, but they could not keep me in work.
However I enjoyed the Male-voice-choir. These Welsh and Cornish miners, can 'sing'. Annually the Welsh held their National Eisteddfod In Johannisburg and I won part of prize for elocution there, difficult but worthwhile despite my being Irish. The Dutch I found were very friendly and quite prepared to forget the Boer War .
A sick spell spoiled my sojourn in Germiston, I had to move out in search of work, funds were getting low. I found work in a pattern shop at Denver nearer to Johannisburg. I tried to get into Y.M.C.A. work in Johannisburg. They were short of workers but wanted volunteer help without pay. My efforts brought no results, so before I went broke I decided to go home. I left my tool box of tools in care of a friend in Johannisburg, booked my passage by rail to Durban, then sailed via Capetown, Southampton, London, then a long railway trip to Heysham near the coast town of Barrow-in-Furness, an sailed away from England to Belfast. Here I am back in my Native land, landing early in 1905 after nearly two years in South Africa. Home again to my Family in the same house, all glad to see their sunburned member back in his old place.
I found the church had forgotten me, old friends would shake hands and ask, "When are you going back again?" My foreman gave me a cool reception. He said, "Far off pastures look green !" I did not get my old job again, so had to hunt elsewhere, A friend of mine, during my absence left Belfast for Edmonton Alberta, Canada. I wrote to him, asked what were the prospects for a man like me in Edmonton? He answered, good, come on.
So I get ready. Off alone this time, Belfast to Londonderry, then embarked on board the Twin Screw Steamship "Tunisian" of the Allan Line. I had a good time with other passengers. While playing some game I came face to face with a man whom I met on board ship when going to South Africa in 1903. We were both much surprised, swapped yarns about our former trip. On to Halifax, stopped for a while, then sailed on to St. John. Saw some of the first scenes in Canada, the peculiar action of the reversing tides, quite wonderful to the stranger.
Then came the jostle of getting on to the Colonist Car on the train to go West. Here you slept on your own blanket, and did your own cooking. Some could cook, others could not. These ate biscuits and drank water, or milk. They were a jolly bunch, girls and boys, Fathers and Mothers; always some fun; so much to see; and talk of what they expected to do in this, their new land of Canada.
In April of 1905, I landed in Strathcona, (now it's South Edmonton) then boarded a little train that ran down into the Valley of the Saskatchewan River across the bridge and part way up the hill to Edmonton. The city is high up from the river. I struggled up to the top with my bag, enquired and soon found my Belfast friend Mr. Dan Dyer, who took me to his home.
Talk about the dim distant past ! Here I am looking down over 45 years. (This is January 1951). Edmonton was in its primitive stages, Jasper Avenue had wooden sidewalks as far as Tenth Street, it was still the horse'n buggy days and the Post Office was a tiny shack on Jasper Ave. East and on the South side. The old Hudson Bay (company) Fort was on the South West over-looking the river, and was probably the hub of activity in the year 1840.
April 1905 was about the time Edmonton took off its winter coat of snow, and the people were looking for better homes than shacks and tents. I began to hunt for a job and in three days I was working. In that early (day), the definition of a carpenter was a hammer, axe, and saw man, other wise known as a 'jack knife' carpenter ! Hard work, ten hours a day, six full days per week, wages $3.00 per day. The foremen were veritable slave drivers, who delighted in making one carpenter work in competition with his fellow. If the other fellow finished his job first, that probably meant, "You're finished" on pay day.
I recall working on Victoria Ave. School. A group of us was laying floors, so many cutting and so many nailing; tongued and grooved fir flooring 3" wide. I recall counting the joists and multiplying by the number of boards laid in one day of ten hours, and found I had driven about 1500, 2-1/2 inch nails ! To hold your job you had to be tough and when 6 pm came you were glad to quit work.
Another crunch was that work was scarce in the winter and men were lucky to get an inside job. If you had no job you tightened your belt. I managed to get them, so it was not so bad, even when the mercury went down below zero. That would be Fahrenheit of course.
I recall one winter I worked on the Edmonton Journal, went around getting up news items here or there, or was busy with the paste and scissors, copying off other newspapers, changing the head lines. Sometimes taking notes of religious meetings, labour gatherings, and other interesting things that the editor would receive. My wages, just a few dollars that paid my board and room.
Of course I got in touch with my Methodist Church, the MacDougall Church, overlooking the river. Rev C. H. Huestis was the pastor for part of the time I lived in Edmonton. I lined up with the Epworth League and worked with it, took part with the Young Folk, attended Sunday School and began again as I had in South Africa to fight the Liquor Traffic. Here as in South Africa I found "The Royal Templars of Temperance", found ample scope for combat, for the city was 'wet' and wide open.
One of my early experiences in the city of Edmonton was my long cherished desire to preach. I got an appointment under our Church to go out to Stony Plain out west of the city. I secured a horse and saddle on loan for this work. It was all right to preach but there was no pay, I was to be beggar-preacher working for my bread and bed. This was no good. I still had responsibility for my Mother, Sister and Brother.
Back to my carpentering, I worked where ever I could find a job. About this time I joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, and took live interest in the labor affairs of the Trades and Labor Council. I was appointed one of the Delegates to The Trades and Labor Congress Convention meeting in Winnipeg in 1907.
While at this Convention I went to our Church Prayer Meeting, met Rev. Mr. Wigle. He urged me to preach in his pulpit, that Sunday night ! I preached a Gospel and Labor message, in that Winnipeg pulpit and the newspapers made news of my little effort.
Back to Edmonton, my tools and my precarious livelihood. Just about this period my Brother Frank landed in Edmonton. He was a tenderfoot, had to be helped of course. He got work to do, here and there as he got a chance. We never were on a job together as I remember. I got a job in Lavoy as a carpenter on a Hotel they were building in in this new small town. Workmen slept in a bunkhouse, dined at an eating house, a rough and tumble kind of a set up. Frank joined me here, and I bought two lots, built a shack to live in. But the work petered out, and we had to leave Lavoy.
Back to Edmonton to work as soon as we got a chance. Mr Webb a school teacher wanted a small house built on his lots on Ottawa Avenue. So I arranged to build the house and pay in labor for the purchase of one of his two lots. Here Frank helped me build Mr. Webb's house, then we built another house on the adjoining lot for ourselves. Before we finished our own house my Mother and Sister arrived from Belfast !
We lived in Mr. Webb's house until our own little house was so far finished to move into. This venture plunged me into debt for lumber, supplies, taxes and support for the four of us now. Frank assumed no responsibility, he was still the tenderfoot. It took me a long time, (I forget how many years to pay off my liabilities).
This was a hard time for me, no permanent work, jobs were hard to get, soon finished and then hunt for another. About this time, I learned that a Miss E.A. Weekes, a W.M.S. Missionary, wanted a Mission House built up in a Russian Settlement some 45 miles north of Lamont on the C.N.R. The fellow who suggested that I should tackle this job, did not have time because of other contracts.
I got to know what was wanted, worked out a plan to suit, made out the bill of lumber and supplies. Got some seven teams loaded, then Frank and I landed at the building site, the teams went round in a circle, dumped off their loads and off they went. Frank and I rigged up our tent as soon as possible, kindled our wee stove, made something to eat, piled on more clothes, and tried to sleep in this wilderness of snow. Next day we shoveled off the snow, staked off the house, and commenced to build.
Our first job was to put up a shack to live in. The tent was too cold and that shack went up in a hurry. Covered with tarpaper, it kept out the wintry winds. We kept at it, (the Mission House). Soon the building was up and roofed in. It was plastered and ready for the ladies about the beginning of 1909. Frank returned to Edmonton, and I did most of the finishing work myself after the ladies took up their work in this Mission House, which was called "Kolakreeka". This name I was told, was formed of the two Russian words meaning, near the creek.
Miss Weekes and Miss Maclean were hardworking missionaries and were kindness "embodified" ! During the building period, Frank and I, had to eat bread. So the ladies came from Wahstao, the other Mission House 15 miles distant, and brought us Home Baked bread. Ah what bread ! Somebody suggested that these fun-loving ladies put some kind of "love-filtre" in the bread. However it had a very peculiar effect on me for I fell in love with Miss Weekes.
This delightful experience came to an end, the job was finished and I find myself in Edmonton again at loose ends looking for work. Having the Family in my little house, I left to try my luck, elsewhere. I called to mind my experience in Vancouver in 1907, of my return, coming as far as Kamloops, and getting employment, to get my fare to Edmonton.
I recalled Kamloops and how much I liked it, the people, the Churches, the pleasant Sunday afternoon Services. How one Sunday I spoke on the theme, "The Moral Lessons from Hamlet", and the reaction as told to me by the promoter, the Rev. Stevenson, who gave me a nice copy of Shakespeare. After finishing Kolakreeka I thought, I would again Kamloops. So sometime early in 1909, I find myself again in this fine town.
I am fortunate to get carpentry work again, and into the Church work again. The North Thompson Mission had six preaching appointments, and no preacher. Rev. O.M. Sanford of Kamloops asked me to help out on some of the points. The hire of a horse and buggy would be paid. So I was a carpenter on work days and a preacher on Sundays.
One Sunday coming from the Edward's Creek appointment, I stopped in at the McConnell Ranch, to have tea with the young folks from the Church. Leaving the Ranch, the horse I was driving, shied at an automobile, I was thrown out and broke my left arm. The McConnell boys drove me into Kamloops, 13 miles to the Doctor. I was examined, Dr. Burris asked me when I'd anything to eat. I told him, ". . . about 6 p.m." He (then) told me he could not give me anesthetic until 10 pm . . .
There was no pain to speak of. I went to Church in Kamloops, but I had to leave quickly. No 40 minute services in that day. 10 pm found me on the table, and about 11 pm I was in my room, my arm in a sling trying to undress with one arm ! Here was a situation, I could not work at my trade ! Rev. 0.M. Sanford offered me supply work on the North Thompson Mission for the balance of the term, so I became a full time Missionary, and kind friends helped me by driving the horse. My arm took the usual length of time to heal, then it was horse back riding over the six appointments.One of these was in a log school house on Rosehill. There was a second on Rosehill, that was conducted in a farm house. The third was also in a home on the North side of the river, at a place called Fruitlands, just a walking distance (3 miles) from Kamloops. Edward Creek, a log school house, was about 13 miles up the East side of the North Thompson River. The other two appointments were: (fifth) at Chinook Cove about 50 miles up the West side of the N. Thompson. This was a nice little Church, and the (sixth) was a school house at Little Fort 60 miles from Kamloops. To cover these six appointments and always returning to Kamloops, I traveled over 180 miles every month, most of it in the saddle.
This was strenuous work. I rode three horses during the term. My first horse "Baldy" was good but had a bad habit of stumbling on the hard mountain roads. My second horse was "Brownie", a ten hundred pound fine horse, but he developed hoof cracks. Then I borrowed an Indian Cayuse. He was tough, and I finished my term. Brownie's hoof cracks healed up on the ranch. I sold Brownie, got back to Edmonton and back to my carpentry.
To take up the details of my activities from memory across forty years is difficult. My Mother, Sister and Brother were in the city in 1910. I must say some things about my Family because they touched my own life close up. My Sister, Mary Ann's work apart from household duties and helping Mother I cannot recall clearly. She was about 36 years of age in 1910. However she met a widower about her own age, John Clyde Watt. He had a farm, they were married (I don't know the exact date, I may find out later). PS, Apparently he never did or else it was unknown to him. Also, there's the question of John, (Jack) Watt's middle name. It may have been 'Archibald'.
They went to live on the farm. My Sister did not like farm life, so back to the city they came and occupied Frank's wee house on First Street. He had a fine team of horses, and a wagon, was employed by the city for years. Later he did cartage work on his own account. As the family grew larger they found the house grew smaller. Three sons were born, Clyde, Frank and Archie. Some time later I built them a new home in front of the small one, fitting it into the larger one as a kitchen. PS Today's Edmonton city map shows practically none of these street and other names ! pity.
This was the family home for years. Here it was, I last saw my Mother in 1921 as we were returning to West China after furlough, and my Mother died in this home in 1927. It was in this house that my Sister, (Mary Ann) lived until she was taken to the hospital where she passed away on March 5th 1940. I guess it was in this house that Jack died, on July 29th, 1947. Three boys were all married and in homes of their own, long before this.
It seems strange to be writing my autobiography here in Delhi Ontario in 1950-51, so many years after these happenings, but these events are part of my life story.
Here I must lift back the curtain of the years and go back again to somewhere near 1908 or 9 to take up my story of my brother Frank. I have only a hazy recollection of Frank's first marriage date, he married Maggie Bushnell, a Scotch girl we knew well when we lived in Govan Glasgow.
Again I was in line to help Frank to build a home. He secured a lot and I helped both physically, and financially so soon the little house was finished. It was North of our house on Ottawa Avenue, I forget the street's name, perhaps 94th or 95th Street. Maggie gave birth to a baby boy who lived only six months, then Maggie herself took very sick and died on Sept. 12th 1912.
Frank left the carpentry trade, was employed many years as a Mail carrier in Edmonton. Frank's second marriage was to a fine English girl, Lucy Houghton on July 21st 1913. Their son is my name sake, William Mark Leonard, and Kathleen Mary is my one and only niece. That places me, the last of this family of Leonards of my generation. Again I must push back the curtain of the years. My Mother went to live with my Sister, then went over to Frank's home to care for Maggie in her sickness, and after Maggie's death remained with Frank for quite a time, before going back to live with my Sister (Mary Ann).
Then came the glorious fourth of October (1910) when I was married to the W.M.S. Missionary, Miss Edith A. Weekes B.A., down in the little Mission House in "KoIakreeka" which Frank and I had built. So we began our married life in own Home at 1436 Ottawa Avenue, Edmonton. I continued at my trade, made the grade, sometimes up, sometimes down. We were members of Grace Methodist Church on Kmistino Avenue. Rev. Robert Pearson was our Pastor, we engaged in the usual Church activities, and the Epworth League. I was active in the Temperance and Moral Reform League. Rev. A.J. Ayerst was the General Secretary who was active and alert for any combat with the liquor traffic.
In the Methodist Church Hospital in Pakan (Rev. C.H. Lawford M.D. Supt.) on July 31st 1911, our Catherine was born. When Mother and Baby were ready to come home, they had a forty mile buggy ride to reach Lamont C.N.R. Station. I hurried from my work to meet the train at Edmonton, missed my Family, but Edith's brother Abel met them and all was well. Now we are three, so life grows brighter, so did Catherine, a Baby to be proud of.
In that early day Edmonton was busy stretching itself, new sections were surveyed, lots were for sale, houses were being built, people were coming in, builders rushed buildings up, roofed them in, got them plastered, tried finishing inside in the winter, but the majority of the carpenters had to prepare to live through the cold days when outside work was for the most part impossible.
We were thankful to God we had our own wee home that made the struggle less severe, and we carried thru together. God was with us, He helped us to help ourselves. I cannot remember the buildings I worked on, my jobs were many and in various places. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
WML 1871/1964: WWL 1920/- Postscript as of 22 July 1994.------This is Wesley Weekes Leonard, in his 75th year, transcribing this Autobiography of William Mark Leonard. His Father (just past his 79th birthday, at year's end 1950/51) was at its composition as Wesley was heading west but was still in Canada when WML didn't finish that paragraph nor any other. But when WWL did return almost seven years later by Feb. '57, there was no time for the Autobiography. In fact WWL may not have even heard of it much less read it, and had time to digest it.
It was Alastaire, my middle sister Evelyn's first child, who became engrossed with the mystery of her Grandfather's career. She even found time to visit Donaghadee, and see the grave stone her great grandmother Mary Ann Leonard had had set up in her Mother's memory, Mary Ann Mark. [photo below] My Sister Evelyn typed out a few copies of the autobiography, and returned the original to Wesley, but even then WWL didn't find time to study it, apparently until "now".
Meanwhile WWL has had his own version of shoe-string existence by the time he knew of his Father's Autobiography and has had, "This Day", 37 years in coming, the re-living of his Father's story ! ! These italics inserts are mostly WWL's comments as he's reread and made corrections of typographical errors etc.