31 Days to Better Genealogy – Day 6: Interview a Relative

Amy Johnson Crow has been sharing on her Generations Cafe Facebook Group a prompt each day for May. They are based off of her book 31 Days to Better Genealogy that you can buy on Amazon (shown below).

Day 6 of 31 Days to Better Genealogy is: Interview a Relative. For this task, I messaged my Mom (Jan) and Aunt Linda to meet me on a Zoom to talk about the Johnson side of the family tree and they agreed!

We started talking about their grandfather Frank D. Johnson and neither Mom or Aunt Lin could recall what he did for work. My Mom remembered Grandma Carol telling her that Frank’s wife, Elizabeth McGinity Johnson, wasn’t happy about Ivo marrying Carol because Carol wasn’t Catholic and that you can see in the wedding photos that Elizabeth is not smiling (and wore a dark color).

Carol and Ivo’s Wedding 12 June 1948. Elizabeth McGinity Johnson under the red arrow.

Frank D. Johnson married for times and Aunt Linda only remembers Frank’s 4th wife, Ada. Aunt Linda said that she remembers Ada coming to stay with them when they lived on Nash Rd. and that she liked her very much. Mom doesn’t remember Ada at all.

Mom remembers when Ivo died that Aunt Helen said that there was an empty plot in the St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Randolph where Frank was supposed to be buried (next to Elizabeth) but his 4th wife (Ada) didn’t want to pay to ship his body home from Florida where he passed and be buried next to another woman, so she buried him in Florida.

Ivo in the background buried behind his parent’s stone – though only Elizabeth is buried there.
Frank D. Johnson’s Grave in Garden of Memories Cemetery – Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida
Back of picture. The writing in blue ink, I believe, is Ivo’s. The writing in pencil is Jan’s.

Frank’s Grave can be found on the Find A Grave website: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/55621437/f-john

In Frank’s marriage announcement to Wife #3, Elizabeth Smith Dickson, the article says that he purchased a home over a year ago in Tampa. Wife #2 Elizabeth passed away 15 May 1950 and he married Wife #3 Elizabeth on 6 Sep 1951. So it seems that he met Wife #3 while in Tampa maybe during the winter of 1950/51. There might be land records for his home purchase in Tampa around 1950.

I do not know what happened to Wife #3. He married Wife #4, Ada, on 6 Aug 1953 (just short of two years after his marriage to Wife #3). I wonder if Wife #3 passed away or if they divorced.

Ivo was very close to his mother. Mom remembers hearing that Elizabeth wanted all of her children to be teachers. Ivo was a 4th & 5th grade teacher and Helen was a music teacher.

Paul wrote sports columns for the newspaper when he was older. Aunt Lin isn’t sure what he did before then. She remembers that he particularly wrote about horse racing. Both Mom and Aunt Lin remember Uncle Paul taking them to the track once. Mom remembers hearing that Paul would send home money to Elizabeth.

We next started talking about how the Johnson family invested in the Ore Chimney (Gold) Mine in Kaladar, Ontario near Aragain Lodge when I showed them this picture:

L to R: William Silsby Barber, Edith Johnson Barber (Frank Johnson’s sister), Frank Johnson, and Elizabeth McGinity Johnson

Aunt Linda believes that William Silsby Barber is pictured next to either Bruce or Frank Johnson in the book The Oxen and The Axe by The Pioneers:

L to R: Johnny Bey, possibly Bruce or Frank Johnson, possibly William Silsby Barber.
The Pioneers, Gene Brown and Nadine Brumell ed., The Oxen and The Axe (Pembroke, Ontario: DFR Printing, 1996), 123.

Linda shared a picture that she inherited from the Ore Chimney Mine in 1915 where it said that Frank took the picture and Bruce Johnson along with Fred Myers was in it:

Ore Chimney Mine, Kaladar, Ontario, 1915.

So to set the family tree in place and try to identify who was possibly pictured in The Oxen and The Axe book: Nelson Johnson and Cornelia (Barber) Johnson had four known children:

  1. Bruce Orange Johnson 1863 – 1946
  2. Edith Johnson 1868 – 1933 that married William Silsby Barber
  3. Allen Titus Johnson 1871 – 1930
  4. Frank DeForest Johnson 1875 – 1956

There is a 12 year difference between Bruce and Frank. We also don’t have any known pictures of Allen. Looking at pictures of Frank and his first wife Nina Scudder (that married in 1899 and she passed away in 1910), we can see Frank at the age range of 23 – 35:

Nina Scudder Johnson and Frank Johnson at some point between 1899 – 1910.

If the family was involved with the Ore Chimney Mining Company in 1915, Frank seems to be too young to have been the person standing next to Johnny Bey in The Oxen and The Axe.

We do have a picture of Bruce Johnson from 1908. When I compare that picture to The Oxen and The Axe picture, I feel that Bruce is the more likely person in the photo.

I wish that we had a picture of Allen to compare as well. There was still an 8 year difference between Bruce and Allen so, even without a picture, my money is that the picture from The Oxen and The Axe is Bruce Johnson.

Linda thinks that someone in our family has a stock certificate in their home sources showing that our family was investors in the mine. Or perhaps she is just remembering from their mother, Carol, saying that the Johnson’s had invested in the Ore Chimney Mine.

Linda believes that our family didn’t work at the mine but they invested in it. That they lived/worked in NY and would occasionally visit the mine to check up on it.

Aunt Linda said that the tower at the remains of the Ore Chimney Mine was recently torn down – that she heard about it on the Lake Kashwakamak Facebook page. I found the post and picture that she was talking about:

Tower at Old Gold Mine on Harlowe Rd. 1972.

Mom said that she used to have a piece of the round ore that they used to drive in the pilings and also some actinolite (green stone). Linda said that they both either got it at the Ore Chimney Mine or at a different mine near Marble Lake.

Ore from shaft
Ore from shaft

Aunt Linda said that they would sink shafts down into the ore, pull them up, and analyze the pieces that were embedded in the shaft.

Actinolite – a green-colored mineral

Aunt Linda thinks it’s really cool that in the book The Oxen and The Axe on page 162 says: “Directors, officers of the Company, prospective investors from the large cities of the U.S.A. and Canada, sleighloads and wagon loads of perhaps 35 shareholders were brought in from time to time to see what progress was being made.” and that in the photographs that she received, she has a picture of the sleighs:

mining picture Callidar [sic] Canada
going into mine at Callidar [sic] Ont. 10 mi from station
Mining picture Callidar [sic] Canada
Kaladar Mines Can.

A picture that I found in the Johnson collection also seems likely to be from the Ore Chimney Mine:

Possible picture from the Ore Chimney Mine?

Mom remember about an old man that used to go to Aragain when they were young. He would tell them stories about logging on Lake Kashwakamak in the old days. After they were cut all along the lake, he said that they would float the logs down and then push them together in piles in the water (like with a barge). Then they would bundle them up and take them down the road towards Kaladar. He said that the roads were corduroy roads as they would lay the logs down in front of them to make a road for the horses to go on them. When he got very old, his daughter wouldn’t allow him to travel to Aragain anymore. He got up and left in the middle of the night without her permission. He was from NYC/NJ area.

I appreciated them spending an hour with me and sharing all of that information.