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Friday, March 24, 2006

My Grandfather got around by dogsled

Here is another family history post in my sporadic but continuing series.

This is about my Father's Father, Charles Elgin Wheeland.
He was born in Scotland Ontario, in 1890.
He grew up in Brantford, Ontario.
He joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force, in 1915 when he was 24. He fought for Canada in world war I, in the army corp of engineers. They are the ones that blow up bridges among other things.
He was wounded in the leg, plus got mustard gassed, in France.
He obviously survived, got married, and started a family.
He became a surveyor for Ontario Hydro. Or as they called themselves The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario.
That is where the dog sled comes in.

He surveyed many northern wilderness areas so that Ontario Hydro could build all that power grid. He also worked on the Niagara Falls project.
Interesting fact is he did all this survey work with a handicap. He was colour blind. How is that a handicap in surveyor work? The maps have a colour code. He used coloured pencils to draw the maps by going by the numbers on the pencils rather than by colour recognition.
His family lived in and around the Toronto area and saw him between projects.
I was only 4 when he passed away. I wish I had personal memories of him.

be curious about your own family before it's too late


Barbara Bruederlin said...

What a great story! You have such an interesting family history. And you are so right, that you have to find out about your family members before it is too late. I always regret not asking my dad more about himself.

Barbara said...

Well it was a colaborative effort but mostly my fathers enthusiasm that helped us get as far on our family research as we did. I will inherit the family history records. So it's good to keep in practice. I am sure we all will have questions left unasked and unanswered when a loved one goes.
I am sorry for your loss Barbara.
Make sure you keep records for your daughter.

Johnny Jazz said...

That was a great post. My great grandad and my grandad both fought in WW1, my grandad being the only one to survive. He was also gassed.

My father who is in his 70's is full of info about his side of the family. I think that with the advent of smaller families, fewer siblings etc we've lost something. Times may have been harder, but life seemed to more colourful.

Barbara said...

Thank you Johnny Jazz. I hope you have all that info from your father documented.

Jas Bhambra said...

I am lucky enough to have known both my paternal and maternal grandparents, as well as my mother's paternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather's uncles and aunts.

I lost my paternal grandfather when I was in grade 8 and my grandma in december of last year My maternal grandfather succumbed to brain cancer in January this year. My maternal grandma lives in Toronto. I always wish I could see her more often...

Barbara said...

I am sorry for your recent losses Jas. That must be hard for your family right now. It was wonderful you knew all of them though.
My Grandfather was the last grandparent I had and I don't remember him at all.

jw said...

What I remember about grandpa, is that he would sit in (the now) computer room, smoking and doing crosswords. Once in awhile he would ask me to post a letter for him and he would give me a nickel. He had a fondness for burnt almond bars. He died in the summer, cause I was at a movie at the westpark pool (remember they used to have movie nights) and dad came to pick us up and then told us the news.

Barbara said...

I remember movie nights at the pool.
The rest of it I can't recall. Thank you for sharing that Sis.