This blog post is an update to previous posts about the impact of this explosion on our ancestors:
- My grandmother Dorothy Moreland was only seven years old and was living with her sister Florence at a foster home because her father John Miller Moreland was overseas fighting in WWI. The foster home at 500 Gottingen was destroyed.
- My 2nd great-uncle Francis Clifford Tomlin was a tinsmith at the Hillis & Sons Foundry and searched day and night through the ruins of north end Halifax and the next day's blizzard looking for the bodies of his daughter, mother-in-law, 4 sisters-in-law and their families; 3 brothers-in-law; all those who worked with him at the Foundry. He died of meningitis on March 21, 1918 and when the Halifax Relief commission refused to give his widow, Maggie a survivor's pension, she was angry and made a point of carving into her husband's headstone that he was a victim, putting the date of the explosion before the date of death. This post is the story about his family that survived.
The address of my grandmother Dorothy's foster home was written on her father John Moreland's Attestation Papers : 500 Gottingen St., Halifax, Nova Scotia
|Source: The MacLaughlan Images|
Gottingen St. felt the full force of the explosion (as shown in the map below) and the first photographs of the city the "fire department at work extinguishing the many fires that broke out on Gottingen Street, half a mile west, after the explosion"
|Source: Calgary Herald Calgary, Alberta, Canada Fri, Dec 14, 1917 · Page 1|
|Source: The Ottawa Citizen Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Sat, Dec 08, 1917 · Page 1|
|Source: The Windsor Star Windsor, Ontario, Canada 07 Dec 1917, Fri • Page 1|
In 2009, Carolyn Tomlin, (the grand daughter of Frank C. Tomlin (1882-1918)) shared a lot of information about our Tomlin-Nickerson Nova Scotian roots and I was able to tell the incredible story of Francis Clifford Tomlin and his wife Maggie here: https://moynahangenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-tomlins-and-nickersons-of-nova.html
Neither one of us had seen the two obituaries that I received in the mail in November, 2019 from Information and Readers' Services at the Halifax Central Library (5440 Spring Garden Road Halifax, NS)
|Source: Halifax Herald - 23 March 1918 p. 2;|
|Source: Halifax Herald - 29 April 1918|
"Yes, my aunties never married, and they did work at Moir’s chocolate factory. They met a woman named Ida Pike there, working on the humbug line. They set her up with their brother Frank, and here I am!"
|Moirs Limited of Halifax: Source: National Post Toronto, Ontario, Canada Thu, Nov 28, 1929 · Page 43|
"Winnifred was known as "Vic", having been born on Victoria Day. Dorothy was diagnosed as Type 1 Diabetic at a young age, and when she died she still had all her organ function and her limbs. And believe me, she loved the chocolate line!"
|1955 Moirs Chocolates original vintage advertisement|
" Another Aunt, Margaret died in 1960 of ovarian cancer. The three of them lived with my grandmother ("Nan"), Margaret (Maggie) Theresa (Guess Tomlin) Crozsman. Nan had severe arthritis which put her in a wheelchair when she was 40. Her daughters faithfully cared for her till she died in the 1960’s. Another Aunt, Emily Tomlin Clarke lived with her family in the house. I think her husband Walter owned it."
|Top left, Vic & Margaret|
Right, Nan, Margaret Guess Tomlin Crozsman
Bottom left, no idea. Twins?
Centre left, Winnifred (aka "Vic"), family friend Marge Higgins, Margaret, Dorothy
|Carolyn's father Francis William Tomlin (1916-1984) in WWII|
I was delighted to receive these photos of the Tomlin family and getting to see the faces of those who survived the Halifax Explosion after having lost their father and sister Veronica
|Maggie had severe arthritis which put her in a wheelchair when she was 40.|
|Margaret Tomlin (1910-1960)|
|Winnifred M. ("Vic") and her sister Dorothy F Tomlin buried together|
|Francis William and Ida (Pike) Tomlin|
|Emily ("Em" Tomlin) and Walter Clark https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/203682832/emily-lillian-clark|
- That the fact that any of us exist is a miracle given all of the challenges, dangers and life-changing events in our ancestors times.
- That families can survive terrible things and find the strength to carry on and the Tomlins are an example of that steadfast resolve.
- That the best genealogical records are the ones that live in the memories and hearts of people like my cousin Carolyn who has brought this family to life again.