The Mystery of Charles Edward Bullock, My Great Grandfather

Photo of Charles Edward Bullock and Three Generations

While going through some old photos recently, I discovered a photo of Charles Edward Bullock which I never knew I had. In one of my father's old albums, I found a photo of three generations: Charles Edward Bullock (my great-grandfather), his wife, Ada Louise Boyd (my great-grandmother), their son, Hubert Leigh Bullock (my grandfather) and Hubert George Bullock (my father). This is the only photo we have of Charles Edward Bullock.

Charles Edward

Charles Edward Bullock with his Wife, Son & Grandson
Front row seated (l-r): Charles Edward Bullock (my great-grandfather), Ada Louise Boyd (his wife and my great-grandmother).
Standing (l-r): Hubert George Bullock (their grandson and my father), Hubert Leigh Bullock (their son and my grandfather).
Photo probably taken in the late 1910s or early 1920s. This is the only photo we have of Charles Edward Bullock.

Tracing Charles Edward Bullock

It has often been said in our family that my Grandpa, Hubert Leigh Bullock, had to go out to work at a very early age to help raise his siblings because his father, Charles Edward Bullock, had left the family to "go out West." Charles had married Ada Louise Boyd on February 22, 1888 in Magog, QC. They had a total of seven children. The 1901 Canada census shows Charles Bullock living with his wife, Ada, and five children in Montreal in 1901. In examining the church records from West End Methodist, the church in Montreal where Grandpa and all his siblings were baptized, his father, Charles', signature was on the baptismal records for all the children up to the last, the baptism record of Clarence, in 1907. There was no other record of Charles Edward Bullock that I had so far found in the Quebec Archives or elsewhere. It was quite probable, therefore, that Grandpa's father left the family around or just before 1907 when Grandpa was 18 years of age. Grandpa would have helped to support his younger siblings, one of whom, Clarence, had just recently been born.

It was difficult to trace what happened to Charles Edward Bullock, my great-grandfather. "Out West" is a very vague term. In the early 1900s it might even have meant somewhere in Ontario or Manitoba as well as any of the western provinces. Tracing Charles was a puzzle which appeared to be insolvable

The Puzzle Solved

After years of fruitless searching, persistence was rewarded when, one day, an internet search pointed further research in the right direction. A source indicated that a Charles Bullock had passed away in 1940 in Port Arthur, Ontario, which is now part of Thunder Bay. A search of the newspaper records at the National Library and Archives in Ottawa produced the two announcements from the Port Arthur News-Chronicle which appear on this page. They show that Charles Edward Bullock passed away on March 23, 1940. They also indicate that Charles arrived in Port Arthur in 1907 which accounts for the fact that his signature did not appear on the baptism record for his last child, Clarence, who was born in April of 1907 in Montreal, QC.

Continued in column 2...

The Obituaries

Charles Edward Obit
Charles Edward Obit

These obituaries also tells us:

  1. The name of Charles' sixth child, Ada Boyd, Mrs. E. Clark of Montreal. This information enabled me to discover more about Ada including, the birth of a child and a second marriage.

  2. The probable reason that Charles' daughter, Elsie Maud, was living in Port Arthur, Ontario. This is an intriguing question. Based on her age of fourteen in 1907, it is likely that she knew where her father had gone and followed him to Port Arthur at some later point in her life.

After so many years of searching, it was very gratifying to find this obituary. It provides us with important information about my great-grandfather, Charles Edward Bullock, who, for a long time, appeared to be lost to us without much hope of finding out what had happened to him. It also provides us with clues to discover new relations close to our immediate families

Photo of Charles Edward Bullock's Siblings

Charles Edward Siblings

The Siblings of Charles Edward Bullock
Front row (l-r): Winnifred May, Mable Irene, Harriet Amelia (with one of her children in her arms), Ina Viola and Wilber
The only persons missing from this picture are William Elmer and Charles Edward Bullock.
Thanks to the late Ken Pratt for this photo.