A Brief History of the Harris &
Related Families History Project
The information offered in the following paragraphs has not necessarily been proven as factual - general supposition & educated assumptions have been utilized. The following information is accurate to the best of the author's current knowledge & ability.
If you see any errors or you disagree with any of the information offered, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
By early 1891 Jane's husband of 28 years, James Harris (b. 1827 - d. 1883) had been deceased for over 7 years. Their first born child, Richard, had immigrated to Australia and her other three sons (William, James, and John) had immigrated to Canada - now all married with their own families. By early 1891 Jane's life must have been a lonely place. In 1868 her estranged daughter Mary (Harris) Wells had married and was living her life in the far off city of London. Her other two daughters, Louisa (Harris) Tipler and Caroline Barnard (Harris) Parker had each died tragically of complications due to childbirth. Louisa died in the spring of 1875, at the age of 23 . Caroline died in the winter of 1890, at the age of 28. The latest date used in Jane's family history is the death of Caroline Barnard (Harris) Parker, in the November of 1890.
Jane was the 8th of 11 children born to William Barnard & Caroline (Ellingham) Barnard of Cranfield, Bedfordshire. By the time she wrote this document at the not very old age of 62 or 63, she was one of only 2 of the original 11 Barnard children that were still alive (based on current knowledge & information attained by this writer as of Oct. 23, 2007). At this point it would be safe to say that Jane would be experiencing a fairly high degree of emotional pain & depression brought on by a decade of death & family losses - and she was faring it pretty much on her own. When one considers the many personal losses that Jane endured from 1880 to 1890, one can easily read between the lines of this document & begin to comprehend & empathize with her overall situation & general reality. It becomes very understandable to see why she spent so much time on integral little details, yet other times she simply "omitted" or seemed ill informed regarding several other pieces of important information that most would consider to be of great importance when preparing a document such as this one. A prime example to demonstrate the previous statement is her apparent confusion or possible ignorance (towards the end of page #2) regarding the names of some of her grandchildren (i.e. Richard Donell Harris was actually Donald Richard Harris), & their dates of birth. Many times she is not exactly sure about which one of her seven children had bore/sired many of her grandchildren.
You will see that Jane took the time to document intricate details, such as the time of day that a person was born and even the exact times that a loved one had passed away. Also included in this document are details regarding the exact dates that her children married and the details of their emigration - right down to the days they left, where they departed from and the exact dates and places they arrived at their destinations.....she even documented the dates they returned home to visit. All of this prior information leads many to believe that she maintained some type of journal/diary - one that noted all of these intricate details as they occurred. To my knowledge, (based on rumour) this journal/diary is still in existence in a box somewhere....but, to date, it has remained either unfound or very well hidden.
** ON A FINAL NOTE **
Jane's youngest sister, Caroline (Barnard) Lines passed away on January 21, 1895 in Lidlington, Bedfordshire at the age of 57.
Then, on January 24, 1895, a mere three days following the death of Caroline, Jane's eldest child, Richard Mortayne Harris, was accidentally killed in Australia while clearing trees from his land. Richard was 48 years old.
Jane herself passed away at the age of 67 on February 5, 1895 - roughly about the same time (or shortly thereafter) that she would have received the news of her son Richard's death (it was recently suggested to me that Jane could very well have received a telegraph containing this tragic news).
It is needless to say that the combination of the death of Jane's youngest and only (known) living sibling and the passing of her first born child - both occurring within the span of a few days time - more than likely contributed directly to Jane's demise just 12 days after the death of her eldest son.
To view/save the original three pages of the document that Jane (Barnard) Harris prepared, just click on the links below:
After Jane Harris' death in 1895 it doesn't appear that any one particular/designated family member carried on her tradition of family documentation. It is known that several family members, from the Harris family and various other related families, did maintain some types of detailed documentation on various families and family lines. The following individuals are a few that stand out between the years of 1895 & 1999 (based on the research of this writer at least).
Jane (Barnard) Harris
March 13, 1827 - February 5, 1895
May Duckworth , known to those who knew and loved her simply as "Duckie" most definitely kept specific, yet sporadic records regarding her ancestors and who were, at the time, her current family members. Duckie was descent of the Hoskin family of Blackburn, Lancashire, England. The Hoskin family was a very large family; one of the largest in the current archive. Her information, of course, was primarily regarding the Hoskin family and also the Dickinson family of Scotland & Lancashire. Most of May's documentation was contained primarily in what her family would refer to as a "Birthday Book". When her first cousin, Margaret Dickinson (1883-1921), married Frank George Harris (1882-1941) on March 21, 1906 she also began to document information on the Harris family. May did not just document information about Margaret, Frank and their children...she would eventually detail information on almost all nine of Frank G. Harris' siblings and later on, some of their families as well.
May's records begin around 1901. Her method of record keeping was very simple and the impact of the entirety of her documentation was not really measurable until she had been doing it for years. As events occurred she just added information about the event to her birthday book. May used the same book from 1901 until her death in 1981. By the time she passed away her birthday book was a living first hand account of the last 70 - 80 years of family life with the Harris, Hoskin & Dickinson families. Her birthday book is a veritable haven of dates and information.
In order to fully understand May Duckworth's motives for her great interest in the Hoskin, Dickinson & Harris families it is important to know exactly who Duckie was, and what she was about. One must remember that Duckie never married into the Harris or Dickinson families - in fact, Duckie never married at all. It was her first cousin Margaret Dickinson who married into the Harris family and it was Margaret Dickinson's Mother, Duckie's Aunt, Mary Grace Harwood Hoskin (1858-1914) that married into the Dickinson family via John Dickinson (1845 - 1931).
It is difficult to fully describe what an integral part of many family tapestries she was throughout her 89 year lifetime. It is an even larger task to ponder and attempt to calculate just how revered her roles within these families were considered to be. Duckie directly affected dozens of her "family" with her gift of genuine affection and caring.
Duckie was born May Duckworth on February 2, 1892. Her mother was Jane Hoskin and her father was Thomas Henry Duckworth. Duckie's mother, Jane (Hoskin) Duckworth and Mary Grace (Hoskin)Dickinson were sisters.
When Jane (Hoskin) Duckworth (1864-1899) died her father Thomas Duckworth (1855- 1914) was unable to care for Duckie properly. In 1900 Mary Grace (Hoskin) Dickinson was on one of her many trips back to England and she went to Blackburn, Lancashire, and scooped up Duckie and brought her back here. She was raised pretty much as a younger child of the family. I saw her named as May Dickinson on a 1902 photo with my grandmother Margaret Anne Dickinson. However, Mary Grace ran a boarding house and needed lots of hands to help with the work, so Duckie was also treated more or less like a maid. She had a job at Simpsons but continued to live with "Auntie" and "Uncle" until Auntie died in August 1914. At that point she and "Uncle" (John Dickinson) moved in with my grandparents (Frank & Margaret Harris) at Bain Avenue and then later she went with them when they moved to Hillhurst around 1917.
Duckie continued to live with various family members, including your grandparents, John Dickinson Harris (1906-1939) & Mae Isobel Granger (1908-1947) when your Dad (Frank Granger Harris 1928-2007) was young, and finally she went to live with another Hoskin cousin named Arthur Perkin (1876-1954) in 1934. They lived on Cameron Avenue near Sheppard and Yonge, which was pretty far out in those days. Arthur was a widower (his wife was Emily Twitcher 1878?-1934) with a handicapped and mentally challenged daughter (Dorothy May Perkin 1927-??). He had a tiny house and also lived with his brother Dick (Richard Hoskin Perkin 1878-1970). Duckie looked after Dorothy until she got too big for Duckie to manage (Duckie was only 4'11") Dorothy was then sent to live in a facility in Orillia. Duckie continued to stay afterwards and she "kept house" for Arthur and Dick. Arthur died in 1954 at age 79. Duckie & Dick remained in the house for years to come. Dick went into a nursing home when he was about 90 yrs. old (around 1968/69). Dick died at 92yrs. of age in 1970. Duckie stayed at Cameron Avenue until about 1978 and then moved to Bendale Acres. She died in May 1981 at age 89.