Thursday, April 12, 2012

Photo #8: Boxshall Family Portrait

This photo arrived via email from Cartwright, MB:

"Hello! I read about your book in in the Free Press and was sure I'd seen Foote on a family photo.

Started going through them and found this one (not the one I'd been thinking of) that says "Foote & James" on the embossed paper frame. This is a photo of my grandparents, George and Ruth Boxshall and children, in 1923.

George Edward Boxshall was born in Tunbridge Wells, England in 1885. In 1902 he came to Canada (at age 17) and worked for farmers in the Cartwright/Holmfield, Manitoba area. He was the only one of his family to make that trip. At the age of 21 he went back to England but decided to come back and make his home in Canada. He returned to the Cartwright area where he worked on farms until joining the Winnipeg Police in February 1910. In 1911 he was married to Ruth Cantlon, who he had met while working in Cartwright.

George was promoted to Patrol Sergeant on May 1, 1916 and then to full Sergeant on January 19, 1923. He was on the first motorcycle squad. (Incidentally, his photo is in the 2012 City of Winnipeg Archives calendar, with his police motorcycle.) He was in great demand as an entertainer at police balls and other functions, where he would do imitations, recitations, and songs (with wife Ruth accompanying on the piano). He sang a lot of English music-hall type songs.

They raised 8 children (5 others were stillborn or died as infants). George was forced to retired from the police force due to health reasons. He had 'sleeping sickness' in the late 1920s which weakened him. (I'm not sure, but this may have been polio.) He retired on May 1, 1931 with a police pension and the family decided that moving back to Cartwright would make the money stretch further. Their youngest child was just a year old then.

With George and Ruth Boxshall in the 1923 photo are children: Sylvia, George Jr., Jack on his father's knee, Enid (in front), Eileen, and Dorothea. This was before the arrival of Allan and Shirley.

My mother was Sylvia, the second-eldest (1916-2005). She and her sister Eileen married brothers and lived their lives in Cartwright after moving here when Mum was 15. They were the ones who looked after their parents, and ended up with a lot of the family photos. And then I looked after them...

While I am very interested in family history, other cousins are, too, and the photos are prized - no danger of them being unwanted! Thank goodness for the digital age which makes it so easy to copy and share."

- Vicki Wallace

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