The London chapter of the Bond family chronicles takes us back another generation to Laura’s parents, William and Jessie Bond who married despite the difference in their ages and stayed together until death they did part despite the tragedy in their story. The Royal Artillery life was a hard one, and especially so for the few wives of the regiment who trailed behind their husbands from post to post, dragging babies and children along. For the husbands, the biggest challenge was leaving the army after all the years of being a soldier, and they often found themselves cast adrift, with no land or anchor in sight.
The Second Generation
William Bond was born on 11 April 1843 in Kirkham, Lancashire, England 1Lancashire, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), William Bond; Superintendent Registrar, Lancashire Registration District, Preston, Lancashire, England, citing KH/4/13, 1843. and was baptised 18 April 1843 at St. Michael’s Church in Kirkham, Lancashire. 2St. Michael’s Parish Church of Kirkham (Kirkham, Lancashire, England), “Bishop’s transcripts for Kirkham, 1679-1932”, Baptisms 1843, item #3791, William Bond baptism 18 April 1843; FHL microfilm 1,502,435; citing Lancashire Record Office, DRB 2/102-118. William died of corrosive poisoning on 26 August 1893 in London, England at the age of fifty. 3England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Death (long form), William Bond, citing St. Olave Sep [quarter] 1893. On 6 August 1879 at the Wesleyan Chapel in Ryde, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, William married Jessie Harriet Williams by license. 4England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage (long form), William Bond and Jessie Williams; General Register Office, London, England, citing I[sle of] Wight Sep [quarter] 1879, vol. 2b: 978. A second marriage ceremony took place on 1 October 1879 at St. Mary’s Church in Portsea, Hampshire after banns. 5England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage (long form), William Bond and Jessie Williams; General Register Office, London, England, citing Portsea Dec [quarter] 1879, vol. 2b: 847.
According to William Bond’s Royal Artillery Pay Book, his father’s name was Thomas Bond, he was born in Preston, Lancashire and he was 24 years old at the time of his enlistment on 17 October 1867. This would suggest that his birth was between October 1842 and October 1843. To be thorough, searching all births from the start of 1842 to the end of 1844 in either the Preston registration district or the nearby Fylde registration district we find four possible birth records for William Bond. Only one of these birth registrations has a father named Thomas and the certified copy of birth in the Fylde registration district shows that William Bond’s father was Thomas Bond and his mother was Alice Bond, formerly Barns.
Jessie Harriet Williams
Jessie Harriet Williams was born 26 November 1857 in Ryde, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England 6England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), Jessie Harriet Williams; General Register Office, London, England, citing I[sle of] Wight Dec [quarter] 1857, vol. 2b: 453. and died 29 December 1941 at 4813 rue Boyer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada at the age of eighty four. 7Quebec, Ministere des Affaires Sociales, Death Certificate 9-033289 (29 December 1941), Jessie Williams; Registre de la Population, Quebec, Canada. She was buried in Mount Royal Cemetery, Section G 2227-E in Montreal. 8Mount Royal Cemetery, private database, Mount Royal Cemetery (http://www.mountroyalcem.com : accessed 13 September 2006), Jessie Harriet Williams nee Williams died 29 December 1941.
Jessie William’s burial record at the Mount Royal Cemetery lists her birth place as “Isle of Night” which is probably “Isle of Wight” in England. Her death certificate shows her death date as 29 December 1941 and her birth date as 25 November 1863. Her death notice in the Montreal Star shows her age to be seventy eight years which is consistent with these date.
However, according to William Bond’s pay book, Jessie and William Bond married in Portsea, Hampshire on 1 October 1879 which would have made her not quite 16 years old at the time of her marriage had she been born in 1863. While this is possible, the marriage certificate issued shows that she was twenty two years old at the time of her marriage.
Searching England birth registrations for Jessie Harriet Williams from 1850 to 1865, we find only one registration and the birth certificate referenced by that registration shows Jessie Harriet Williams born 26 November 1857 in Ryde, Isle of Wight, Hampshire to parents George Williams and Harriet Storey.
Looking at the George Williams family on the Isle of Wight in the 1871 census, we find father George, a gardener, mother Harriett, daughter Jessie, aged thirteen, son Arthur S. and daughter Laura Jane. This family grouping is consistent with the information on Jessie and William’s marriage certificate where Jessie’s father is listed as George Williams, a gardener and witnesses to the marriage are shown to be George Williams and Laura Jane Williams.
The information for Jessie’s death certificate and burial notice were likely provided by Frank Hayes. Frank and Jessie lived together for some time and Frank was named as the sole heir in Jessie’s will. The bequest left to him was “in consideration of the care and friendship he has given me for many years.” The Quebec death index lists Frank Hayes born 1871, died 27 January 1944 making it apparent that he was fourteen years younger than Jessie born in 1857. The birth year that Frank provided for Jessie on her death certificate was possibly a mistake on his part or more likely the result of Jessie “adjusting” her age so Frank would not realize the extent of the difference.
Children of William and Jessie Bond
i. William George Bond was born on 4 October 1879 at 79 St. Johns Road in Ryde, IOW, Hampshire, England. 9England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), William George Bond; General Register Office, London, England, citing I[sle of] Wight Dec [quarter] 1879, vol. 2b: 601. He was baptized at St. James’s Church on 15 February 1880 in Delhi, Bengal Presidency, India. 10Roger E Nixon, Military & Historical Searches, London, England, to Barbara Jean Starmans, letter, 18 November 2009, “William George Bond: Baptism and Burial in Delhi, India,” including copies of pages, not numbered, from parish register, St. James Church, Delhi, India 1880; privately held by Starmans, Richmond Hill, ON, 2009; parish records copied at British Library, London, England. He died on 6 November 1880 of marasmus at the age of one in Delhi and was buried the same day. 11Roger E Nixon, Military & Historical Searches, London, England, to Barbara Jean Starmans, letter, 18 November 2009, “William George Bond: Baptism and Burial in Delhi, India,” including copies of pages, not numbered, from parish register, St. James Church, Delhi, India 1880; privately held by Starmans, Richmond Hill, ON, 2009; parish records copied at British Library, London, England.
ii. Laura Alice Bond, born on 14 August 1882 in Woolwich, Kent, England; married Eugene Lawrence, 24 Aug 1908, Seattle, King County, Washington, United States; died 10 May 1937 in Seattle, King, Washington, United States.
iii. Thomas Henry Bond was born 5 July 1884 at Lower Lobby, Plumstead Marsh in Woolwich, London, England. 12England, Certified Copy of and Entry of Birth (long form), Thomas Henry Bond, citing Woolwich Sep [quarter] 1884. He died of influenza and bronco-pneumonia at the age of thirty four on 10 November 1918 at the Selkirk Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and was buried on 14 November 1918 at Brookside Cemetery, section 79, lot 540 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 13Manitoba Death Certificate 065496, (10 November 1918), Thomas Bond.
iv. Frances Josephine Bond was born on 4 April 1887 in Slough Fort, Kent, England. 14England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), Frances Josephine Bond, citing Hoo Jun [quarter] 1887. Frances Josephine died on 7 March 1975 at the age of eighty seven in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and was buried on 19 March 1975 in Hillcrest Memorial Gardens, Garden of Christus Lot 53 B2, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. 15Sean Peters, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Barbara Jean Starmans, email, 29 October 2009, “Frederick Albert Miller,” privately held by Starmans, Richmond Hill, Ontario, 2009. On 12 March 1907 she married James Leonard Downie, son of Robert Downie and Maud Thompson, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 16Manitoba, Vital Statistics Agency, Certificate of Marriage No. 818 (30 June 1907), James Leonard Downie and Josephine Bond; Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Sometime after 1911, she married Frederick Alfred Miller, son of Hugh Miller and Elizabeth Fans Allan, 17“Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1909,” digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : downloaded image 2 September 2009), Frederick Alfred Miller, Ontario delayed birth certificate registration no. 901678 (27 October 1934); citing Archives of Ontario microfilm MS933_10. probably in Winnipeg. 181916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, population schedule, Year: 1916, Census Place: Manitoba Winnipeg North, 16: Roll: T-21933, Page: 76, and Family No: 762, Fred Miller household; digital image, Ancestry.ca (www.ancestry.ca : downloaded image 28 September 2009), citing Library and Archives Canada RG 31-C-1, microfilm roll T-21933.
v. John Arthur Bond was born on 3 November 1890 at 25 Maiden Lane in London, England. 19England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), John Arthur Bond, citing Strand Dec [quarter] 1890. He was baptized on 5 May 1891 at Saint Peter’s Church, London Docks, London. 20“Saint Peter (London Docks), Baptisms,” digital images, Ancestry.co.uk (http://www.ancestry.co.uk: downloaded image 19 September 2009), baptism of John Arthur Bond, 5 May 1891; citing London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Peter, London Docks, Register of Baptisms, P93/PET2, item 005. He died on 8 February 1963 at the age of seventy two at 20 Brian Avenue in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. 21Ontario, Registrar General, Death Certificate 1963 no. 007351 (8 February 1963), John Arthur Bond; Office of the Registrar General, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. John was cremated on 11 February 1963 at St. James’ Crematorium in Toronto, Ontario and his ashes were scattered over the falls at Niagara Falls, Ontario by his family. 22Interview with Winifred Bond (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada), by Barbara Jean Starmans, about 1976, notes held by Barbara Jean Starmans (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada). John Arthur married Winifred Bulmer, the daughter of Daniel Bulmer and Eliza Mary Ann Taylor, 23England, Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (long form), Winifred Bulmer; General Register Office, London, England, citing Barrow Dec [quarter] 1897, vol. 8e: 813. on 12 June 1919 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. 24Ontario, Registrar General, Certificate of Marriage no. 026072, John Arthur Bond and Winifred Bulmer (12 June 1919); Office of the Registrar General, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
William Bond – Early Years
William Bond was born on 11 April 1843, a scant two months after the marriage of his parents, Thomas Bond and Alice Barnes. He was baptized at St. Michael’s Church in Kirkham on 18 April of the same year. Sometime after William’s birth, the young family moved from the small village of Kirkham to the larger town of Preston, a short ride away on the Preston and Wyre railway.
When William was two and a half, his sister, Frances was born on 7 September 1845 on Pleasant Street in Preston. She was likely named after Alice’s mother Francisca. Almost from her birth, baby Frances was sickly and William would have been left to play on his own as his mother changed diaper after diaper for the new baby. When Frances was two weeks old, she was baptized at Saint John’s Church. Possibly the baptism of baby Frances was rushed because she was sick or perhaps the information was mis-copied on another day but the church register shows that the baby of Thomas and Alice Bond baptised on 21 September 1845 was named not Frances but James. Whatever the reason for the error in the register, the baptism took place just in time. Three days later, William’s sister Frances died 24 September 1845 of the diarrhea that had plagued her almost since birth. At his tender age, William was too young to understand what happened to the baby Frances but must have felt the grief of his parents as they mourned their loss.
A couple of years later, in the spring of 1847 when William was almost four, another sister was born and again she was named Frances. This time, however, William’s sister was healthy and thrived.
Soon after Frances’ birth, William’s mother became pregnant again and in September 1848, gave birth to yet another daughter who they named Cordelia, this time after Thomas’ mother. Not long after her birth, like the first baby Frances, Cordelia developed diarrhea and again, in a horrifyingly familiar struggle, William’s mother changed diapers continuously. Despite her best efforts, after three months of digestive upset, baby Cordelia died 9 December 1848.
When William was seven, his brother Thomas was born and was probably named after his father. Just over a year later, in March 1851 at the time of the census, the family was living in the parish of St. James Church at 30 Brunswick Street in Preston. Thomas senior gave his occupation as a mechanic and the family included three children: William, aged 7, a scholar; Frances, aged 4, a scholar and young Thomas who was one year old.
In mid 1852, Thomas and Alice had their sixth child. Cordelia Ann was probably also named after Thomas’ mother but like the previous baby Cordelia, she became ill and she died two weeks later.
Although Alice was only thirty four and still in her child bearing years, she and Thomas must have lost heart at the death of their second baby Cordelia, because they had no further children. Tragedy continued to follow the Bond family. When William was fifteen, his brother Thomas contracted meningitis and eight weeks later on 4 May 1859 he died of the after affects of the disease. He was nine years old.
When the next census year rolled around in 1861, the family was living at 38 Oxford Street, still in Preston. Thomas was thirty seven years old and was employed as an “agriculturer machinist”. Alice was forty two years old. William was eighteen years old employed as a “plumber” and his sister Frances was only fourteen but already working as a “cotton weaver.”
Life had not been kind to the Bond family and it was probable that William yearned to escape his lot. At the age of twenty four, on 17 October 1867, William Bond enlisted in the Royal Artillery, in the 10 division Coast, Regiment number 17544 in Lisburn, Ireland collecting a bounty of £1 and a free kit. He gave his occupation at the time as a plumber. He was described as being 5 feet 8-3/4 inches tall with sandy hair, grey eyes and fresh complexion. Despite his mother’s Catholic roots, he gave his religion as Church of England.
Soon after enlisting, on 3 December 1867, he was sent to Malta. William settled into military life, determined to make something of himself. On 16 July 1868, William was awarded a Second Class Certificate of Education. He remained in Malta until 27 October 1873 when he was sent to Pendennis Castle in Falmouth, Cornwall. In 1875 he moved on to Devonport and then to Dover in 1877 and finally to the Isle of Wight in 1878. William was thirty six years old.
Jessie Harriet Williams – Early Years
Jessie Harriet Williams was born at 26 George Street in Ryde on the Isle of Wight on 27 November 1857 to parents George and Harriet Williams. Her father was a gardener journeyman at the time of her birth and she was their first child.
In 1860, when Jessie was three years old, her brother George Henry was born. When the census enumerator came to call in 1861, the Williams family was living on St. John’s Road in Ryde. George was thirty five and employed as a gardener. Harriet was also thirty five. Their children were listed as Jessie H, aged three and George H, aged one.
In 1862, when Jessie was five, her brother Arthur Sydney was born. In 1863, Jessie’s brother George Henry came down with Scarlet Fever. Jessie’s mother must have been terrified that Jessie and baby Arthur would also contract the highly contagious disease. George died at the age of three on 2 November 1863 and his death was registered by Martha Cooper who was present at his death. Martha appears to have been a family friend who lived quite close to Harriet’s sister Helen Sophia Day where George Williams lodged in 1851.
When Jessie was eight, her sister Florence Louise was born but when the baby was eleven months old, she developed bronchitis and died before her first birthday.
In 1867, when Jessie was ten, her youngest sister Laura Jane was born.
In the April 1871 census, the family was still living on St. John’s Road at number 31. George was forty six and still a gardener. Harriet was listed as age forty four. Their children were Jessie, age eighteen, Arthur, age eight, a scholar and Laura Jane, age four, a scholar.
About the time Jessie turned twenty one, she met a soldier from the Royal Artillery base. His name was William Bond and he was a bombardier. The couple became involved and before long, Jessie knew that she was expecting a baby.
William Bond and Jessie Harriet Williams – The Married Years
Although Jessie was only twenty one to William’s thirty six, they had no choice but to marry with the baby on the way. But there was a problem. His pay book clearly stated:
A soldier is not to marry without a written sanction, obtained from his Commanding Officer. Should he marry without this sanction, his Wife will not be allowed in Barracks, nor to follow the Regiment, nor will she participate in the indulgences granted to the Wives of other Soldiers.
William probably applied to his commanding officer for the required permission to marry and was refused. Having no other choice, William and Jessie quietly applied for a marriage license and on 6 August 1879, with Jessie’s belly swollen with child, they furtively spoke their vows at the Wesleyan Chapel. On the marriage registration, William gave his address as Lower Sandown instead of the barracks and said his occupation was that of a plumber and glazier. It was done. Their child would not be born out of wedlock.
Presumably, William continued to petition for official permission to marry and was finally able to obtain sanction from his commanding officer in early September. No longer needing to be clandestine about their plans, William and Jessie arranged for banns to be called at St. Mary’s church in Portsea on the mainland. On the first day of October 1879, they married again, this time with Jessie’s father George and her sister Laura Jane standing as witnesses. On their second marriage registration, William gave his true occupation of Bombardier with the Royal Artillery.
The official wedding was barely in time. Three short days after her Portsea wedding, Jessie gave birth to a son on 4 October 1879 at her parent’s home on St. John’s Road. They named him William George, probably William after his father and George after Jessie’s father.
Then, only six weeks after the wedding, on 11 December 1879, William received new orders. His regiment was being sent to Delhi in the north of India. On the strength of their “official marriage” Jessie and baby William were allowed to accompany him.
Not long after their arrival in Delhi, William George was baptised on 15 February 1880 at St. James Church. The family must have tried to settle in to life in Delhi but probably found everything about the place was strange and unfamiliar. As the year wore on, the weather became warmer and even warmer and then hot, hotter than William and Jessie had ever known it could be. Then in June or July the monsoons would have come, and the rains would have brought some relief from the heat. During July and August it would have seemed as though there would be no end to the rain and the mud but as October began the rains finally stopped and the ground began to dry. But it was too late. Poor baby William George had failed to thrive in the extreme climate and slowly wasted away from marasmus, a severe malnutrition. He succumbed on 6 November 1880 and was buried the same day at St. James Church.
Sick at heart at the loss of their young son, William probably requested that they be sent home to England. They left India on 24 March 1881 and arrived back home on 11 May 1881, a journey of forty eight days.
On 14 August 1882, Jessie gave birth to a daughter, Laura Alice, in Woolwich where they were stationed after returning to England. The baby was probably named for Jessie’s sister Laura and William’s mother Alice. Laura was born at the Female Hospital, just off Woolwich Common, near the Garrison. Since hospital births were very uncommon at the time in England, the birth may have been a difficult one or Jessie may not have been well during the pregnancy.
When Laura was almost two, on the 5th of July 1884, William and Jessie had another child Thomas Henry also born in Woolwich, although this time at home instead of at the Female Hospital. He was named for William’s father Thomas and his middle name might have echoed the middle name of Jessie’s late brother George Henry.
On the 4th of April in 1887, a daughter, Frances Josephine was born in Slough Fort, Middlesex. Frances was William’s maternal grandmother’s name but the origins of the name Josephine are unknown.
On 18 January 1890, William retired from the Royal Artillery at Gravesend near London. He had served in the RA for a total of twenty two years, one hundred and six days and had spent seven years, one hundred and twenty five days abroad.
On 3 November 1890 another son, John Arthur, was born. On John’s birth certificate, William’s occupation was listed as a night watchman and the address listed was 25 Maiden Lane in London. The family was trying to adjust to life away from the military.
In November of 1890, shortly after John’s birth, William Bond was admitted to the Raine Street Workhouse. He was destitute. Less than a month later, just before supper, he was admitted to the St George of the East Infirmary due to illness. He was described by the admitting clerk as ‘old and infirm’. William was forty-seven years old.
On the afternoon of Christmas eve, 1890, Jessie, no longer able to afford to care for Laura, Thomas and Frances, had them admitted to the Raine Street Workhouse as well. Three days later, Laura was sent to the Plashet Industrial school. The two younger children, Thomas and Frances, remained in the workhouse but early in the new year, on 3 January 1891, Thomas became ill and was sent to the St George of the East Infirmary and the following month on 11 Feburary 1891, Frances too was sent to the infirmary. With just baby John to care for, Jessie could manage.
William and the children remained in the care of the workhouse system until 10 September 1891 when they were finally discharged. The family was together again.
William must have grown increasingly despondent in civilian life and continued drinking heavily. On Saturday, 26 August 1893, William was at his job as a night watchman on Duke Street in Southwark near London Bridge. Jessie gathered up John and Frances, her two youngest children and set off from their home on Cable Street about half past one to bring him his evening meal. When Jessie arrived at William’s place of work, she found him lying on the floor in an insensible condition. She managed to get him into a cart, perhaps with some assistance from someone on the street and rushed him to the nearby Guy’s Hospital. Doctor Francis Jorden Coleman was on duty there and saw William at about ten past two. William was blue in the face and close to death. Shortly after he arrived at the hospital, William breathed his last. Jessie was a widow.
William Bond, a night watchman at some arches in Duke-street, near London Bridge, was found lying in an insensible condition, and died soon after reaching Guy’s hospital. His wife, who had traversed all the way from Cable-street with two little children to bring his dinner arrived to find him dying, and the poor woman was overcome with grief.Yesterday's Summary, Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 27 August 1893.
On 29 August, an inquest was held into William’s death in the parish of St. Saviours, Southwark. Samuel Frederick Langham Esquire, the coroner, along with eleven other jurors heard testimony from several witnesses. First to be heard was Fred Sreuett from St. Saviour’s Church whose statement from the previous day was read. He related that when Jessie went to bring William’s dinner, she had been told that he was “the worse for drink” and that she had found him “in a fit”. He told how William had been taken to Guy’s Hospital in a cart and that he had been pronounced dead by the surgeon at about 2 p.m. Mr. Sreuett also shared that William had “given way to drink for some years”.
Next to testify was Jessie herself. She related how she had arrived at his place of employment to find him dying. She told how he had been drinking heavily all the previous week and that he had been a heavy drinker all his life. Jessie told how William carried a vial of smelling salts in his blazer from his soldiering days and that after his death, when his affects were returned to her, she had discovered that the quart bottle was only three parts full.
William Richley, the owner of the business for which William worked, testified that William had been “full of drink” all day Friday, the day prior to his death.
Francis Coleman, the physician who had examined William at the hospital and who had subsequently preformed an autopsy, testified that William had died of corrosive poisoning and must have ingested the poison about two hours prior to his death.
After careful deliberation, the jury concluded that William’s death was an accident and that in his drunken state, he had accidentally consumed the corrosive poison.
Jessie must have been relieved that the inquest was over and that William could finally be laid to rest but perhaps she wondered, at least a little, if it was truly an accident that William, as unhappy as he had been, had drank the corrosive salts.
Jessie Bond the Widow
When Jessie became a widow, she was only thirty six years old. William had left her with four small children aged ten, eight, five and two.
Sometime between William’s death in August of 1893 and October of 1894, Jessie emigrated to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Her parents were still living on St. John’s Road in Ryde but for some reason, Jessie decided to emigrate instead of returning there. Perhaps she received assistance from one of the charitable societies that helped destitute women to emigrate. While her reasons for leaving England are not known, it seems likely that she first journeyed north to Preston, Lancashire where William’s sister Frances lived with her husband and three sons and where William’s parents were spending their last days in the Fullwood Workhouse. She may have been feeling overwhelmed with her responsibilities, but whatever the reason, she decided to leave her oldest daughter Laura behind under Frances’ watchful eye.
On 22 November 1894, Jessie gave birth to a son in Montreal, whom she named William Bond, perhaps after her dearly missed first child who had died in India. William’s father is unknown but perhaps whatever transpired had some bearing on Jessie’s rash decision to emigrate.
By 1901, Jessie was living with a man named Sullivan, an Irish groom. The 1901 Canadian Census shows his name as Thimothé Sullivan but the Lovell Montreal street directory shows the occupier of the St. Genevieve address to be Thomas Sullivan for two consecutive years so it is likely that the census name was in error. No record of a marriage for Jessie and Thomas (or Thimothé) has been found in England or in Canada but Thomas and Jessie lived together in the St. Antoine ward in Montreal. Laura Alice was still living back in Preston, England near her Aunt Fanny but the four younger children: Thomas, Frances, John and Willie were in Montreal with Jessie and were using the name Sullivan. But officially married or not, Jessie soon found herself a widow again. In the 1903 Montreal city directory she was listed as Sullivan, Mrs., wid J.H.
It may have been about this time when, in desperation, Jessie began to sell newspapers from the doorways of the major bank buildings to earn a living for herself and her children. As her business grew, she talked her way into being allowed to setup a small booth in the lobby of one such bank. Before long, she had booths in all the bank lobbies and was paying young men to sell the newspapers for her. Each day, she went around collecting the money and always carried a large bag of nickels.
After being separated from her family for nearly ten years, young Laura left Preston at the age of 20. Her ship arrived in Montreal on 2 May 1903 and no doubt Laura was excited to see her family once more but her visit was a short one and it was not long before she moved on to Seattle, Washington.
Jessie’s son Thomas and her daughter Frances were also more than ready to leave home, (possibly to escape the drudgery of helping Jessie with her newspaper business), and in about 1906, they set off west for Winnipeg, Manitoba. In March of 1907 the news came that Frances had married a young Scotsman named James Downie in Winnipeg and the following year Jessie received word that Frances had given birth to a baby boy who they named Leonard. Jessie was fifty years old and had just become a grandmother.
That same year, Jessie heard from Seattle that Laura had married Eugene Lawrence, a young man originally from Baltimore, and a year after that she became a grandmother for a second time with the birth of Laura and Eugene’s child who they named Josephine Elizabeth Lawrence.
By the time of the 1911 census, Jessie was living at 267 Charles Borromee in Montreal with Donald Williams, an Ontario native. Again, no record of a marriage between Donald and Jessie has been found but Jessie’s two youngest sons, John and William, were living with them and were using the last name of Williams. John was working as a theatre electrician and William was still attending school.
Donald and Jessie were likely kept busy with their expanding newspaper sales business, constantly on the lookout for reliable boys to sell their papers. They would no doubt have received letters from Laura in Seattle and Frances Josephine in Winnipeg keeping them up to date on their young families. In 1912, Laura would have written of the birth of baby Edward Thomas in Seattle and Frances may have written, telling of her new husband Frederick Miller. The following year, Jessie would have learned of the birth of Frances Josephine’s son Allen, followed quickly by a daughter Ruth Elizabeth. Perhaps on 15 May 1914, when Thomas sustained a serious head injury at work, Frances Josephine may have urged her telegraph operator husband to send a message to let Jessie know of the situation, writing later with details of his recovery.
Wheel Axle breaks, Man Badly Hurt; Thomas Bond, 461 Carlaw Avenue, is lying in the General Hospital with a fractured skull as the result of an accident which occurred in the Cummings Brass company’s plant, 277 Huntley Street, yesterday morning. Bond is reported to be seriously injured. The accident occurred when Bond was polishing brass with an emery wheel. The wheel was revolving at 2,400 revolutions a minute, when the axle broke. The wheel shot up, striking Bond on the head. He was rendered unconscious and was taken to the General Hospital in a taxicab. At an early hour this morning his condition was slightly improved.Manitoba Free Press, 15 May 1914
Then a few months later, on 11 November 1914 at 2 p.m., Donald Williams died in the Montreal General Hospital and Jessie was a widow yet again at the age of fifty seven. She had the newspaper business to support her this time and soon after Donald’s death, Jessie and her two boys, John and William, moved to 121 Dalhousie Street.
Only a few months before Donald died, England had declared war on Germany and the situation in Europe was intensifying. As 1916 began, Jessie’s boys could be held back no longer and first John joined the forces on 26 January 1916 in Toronto where he had been working and then William, not to be left behind, joined up on 10 February in Montreal.
When John enlisted, he said that his mother was Jessie Williams, a widow, and that he, John, was her sole means of support since all his other siblings were married. This entitled Jessie to receive a separation allowance from the army. When William enlisted just over a week later, he said his mother was Jessie Bond, a widow and that he, William, was her sole means of support. For the duration of WW1, Jessie was to receive money from the Army for her boys, compliments of their deception.
Just two weeks after enlisting, William was already in trouble with the army. He was docked four days pay and received a sentence of twenty eight days detention for being absent without leave. He began his detention, but after two weeks of being in the brig, William’s throat became sore and he was diagnosed with tonsillitis. He was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal for a tonsillectomy and was discharged after nineteen days. By the following month, William had disappeared once again and was given a further ten days detention and was again docked a days pay. He managed to follow the rules after that for some months but in August he went absent without leave and was tossed in the brig for seven days and forfeited seven days pay.
In fall 1916, young William finally got his orders. He was to leave for Europe on 27 September aboard the SS Laconia and would arrive in England on 6 October. Immediately after Jessie heard that her youngest had arrived overseas, she heard from John that he was also being sent off to the front. John left on 25 October aboard the SS Corsican and arrived in England 5 November.
By Christmas 1916, William was at the front in France with the 24th Battalion and on 30 December he was wounded at Bully Grenay with a gun shot wound to his right thigh that fractured his leg. He was sent to the hospital at Camiers but was judged well enough to return to the front on 11 January. No sooner had William taken up position than he was again shot in the same leg although this time the wound was minor.
In April of 1917, William was wounded again near Neuville St. Vaast with a gun shot wound to the scalp and received a concussion.
John would have written to say that he was also stationed at the front in France, not very far from William’s unit and that he had been involved in shoring up trenches near Vimy Ridge. Conditions were terrible. Many soldiers had perpetually wet boots and suffered from what they called trench foot. The ground was wet, especially in the trenches, and mud was everywhere, even in the soldiers’ rifles, if they weren’t kept covered with the squares of canvas issued for that purpose.
William continued to flout authority in any way he could and on 29 August 1917, he was sentenced to 14 days for insolence to an NCO and two months later on 24 October he was sentenced to 14 days for neglect of duty. Then on 10 November he was wounded at Passchendalle, receiving shrapnel in his right forearm and another concussion and was sent to the 16th field unit to be patched up.
John was of a much different temperament than William and followed orders as best he could. On 31 January 1918, John received a Good Conduct Badge for two years of good service. The two brothers continued the war in France in much the same fashion. John tried to make the best of things and did his duty while William was constantly absent without leave and spent much of his time in field punishment and forfeited many days pay over the next year.
William sailed home aboard the HMT Aquitania, leaving Liverpool and arriving back in Halifax on 24 January 1919. Even back home, William continued to make matters difficult for himself with the army. On 9 April 1919 he was declared illegally absent and was apprehended as a deserter on 25 April. On 22 May, he was again charged with desertion and received fourteen days detention and forfeited thirty five days pay. While William served this detention, his brother John arrived quietly back in Halifax aboard the H.M.S. Cedric on 27 May 1919. He took the train to Ottawa where he was discharged on 29 May 1919 and then carried on his journey back to Toronto where he was to stay at the home of his fiance’s parents on Roncesvalles Avenue.
Finally, William’s detentions were served and he was discharged from the army at Montreal, Quebec on 4 June 1919. Although William had come home to stay after the war, Jessie was not to have her son back for long. On the 24th of July 1922, William died in Ste. Anne’s Hospital in Montreal of tuberculosis that he contracted during the war. He was buried in Soldiers Cemetery section of Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal.
Not long after William’s death, Jessie moved from Dalhousie Street to Boyer Street, eventually settling in a row house at 4813 Boyer. Although she did well with her newspaper sales perhaps she was lonely and with the extra rooms available she decided to take in a boarder. Frank Hayes moved into the house and as Jessie got older he became a valued friend and companion.
On the 29th of December in 1941, Jessie passed away at the age of 84 at 4813 Boyer Street in Montreal. The Montreal Star carried her obituary which read:
On December 29th 1941 at her late residence 4812 Boyer Street, Jessie Williams, wife of the late Donald Williams, age 78 years. Funeral from the Chapel of Jos C Wray and Brothers at 1234 Mountain Street, Funeral from the Church Home at 9:45 AM Friday, January 2nd. Internment in St. John’s sur Richelieu – Count of St. Jean. Montreal Star
Despite what the obituary said, Jessie was buried in the Mount Royal cemetery in section G 2227-E.
In the next chapter of the Bond Family Chronicles, the Social Historian will step back yet one more generation to tell the story of William Bond senior’s parents. We’ll travel to Preston, Lancashire where we will uncover the Bond family’s Catholic roots and share the heartbreak of a family who lost three babies in infancy and another child who was barely ten-years-old. Don’t miss the next exciting chapter in the Bond Family Chronicles! The Social Historian
St. Michael’s Parish Church of Kirkham (Kirkham, Lancashire, England), “Bishop’s transcripts for Kirkham, 1679-1932”, Baptisms 1843, item #3791, William Bond baptism 18 April 1843; FHL microfilm 1,502,435; citing Lancashire Record Office, DRB 2/102-118.
Roger E Nixon, Military & Historical Searches, London, England, to Barbara Jean Starmans, letter, 18 November 2009, “William George Bond: Baptism and Burial in Delhi, India,” including copies of pages, not numbered, from parish register, St. James Church, Delhi, India 1880; privately held by Starmans, Richmond Hill, ON, 2009; parish records copied at British Library, London, England.
1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, population schedule, Year: 1916, Census Place: Manitoba Winnipeg North, 16: Roll: T-21933, Page: 76, and Family No: 762, Fred Miller household; digital image, Ancestry.ca (www.ancestry.ca : downloaded image 28 September 2009), citing Library and Archives Canada RG 31-C-1, microfilm roll T-21933.
“Saint Peter (London Docks), Baptisms,” digital images, Ancestry.co.uk (http://www.ancestry.co.uk: downloaded image 19 September 2009), baptism of John Arthur Bond, 5 May 1891; citing London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Peter, London Docks, Register of Baptisms, P93/PET2, item 005.