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The Walter Bowles Family

Back to The Robert Bowles Family
The 1881 to 1901 censuses show Walter farming at Tiny township and then just outside Midland in 1911.  By the 1921 census he had retired and settled in Plympton townland on farm land adjacent to his daughter Ella and her second husband David Wilson.  Unusual for a 78 year old retiree, in his retirement he was accompanied by his wife Margaret and two spinster daughters Mable and Gertrude.
Walter's Children
I have not yet researched his daughters Lizzie, Mabel and Gertrude.
Wilson Theodore Bowles
Walter's son Wilson married and settled in Wyoming twp where he died childless in 1958 bringing an end to the Walter Bowles male line.
Ella Etta May Bowles
It's hard to know how this came about but in August 1901 Walter's daughter Ella May married Robert Phair of Toronto.  The name Robert Phair (1837-1931) is known to history, as noted by the Manitoba Historical Society's article, as a prominent Catholic missionary to the Sioux tribes of northern Manitoba and later the Superintendant of Indian Missions for the Diocese of Rupert's Land.  Robert Phair of Toronto (1872-1902), the son of Jason Phair and Sarah Davis, was also a missionary although one that had only a short role to play in likely his first assignment for the Wesleyan Methodist Church.
In 1901 another Methodist missionary, George R. Witte, working in the interior of Brazil, had stopped communicating with the outside world and Robert Phair of Toronto was sent to try to reach him.  Witte later wrote in his The Indians of Central and Northern Brazil that at one point his entire mission in Brazil had been struck down with fever until he was left alone so half dead he started down the Amazon to head to Europe.  He wrote 'A Canadian friend, Mr Robert Phair, of Toronto, who, with his wife, was coming to our aid, landed in Georgetown (Demarara, British Guinea) on the same day when the others died.  Robert bravely tried, when he found no news from us, to make his way with Indian guides to our station, only to find us gone, and he perished in the cataracts of the Essequibo on his way back.'

Ella was a professional nurse which might explain her accompanying her husband on a rescue mission. She  would have experienced something like this illustration from an adventurer's trip on the Essequibo in the 1920's.  Fortunately, Ella May survived the trip as on Sept. 27, 1902 she delivered her son, Robert Alexander Phair, at her father's house in Simcoe county.  Another unusual aspect is that his birth was not registered at the time.  Forty five years later Ella's brother Wilson made a declaration of the boy's birth for the Ontario Birth Registry giving the father's name as Robert Alexander Phair, deceased, and his occupation as Missionary. 
After Robert's death she worked as the matron of the Methodist boys' home in Port Simpson in 1907.  In 1918 she married a David Wilson, son of Thomas Wilson and Elizabeth Cammick of Plympton, and settled on his farm at Lot 3 in Conc. 4 in Plympton, Ont.  Their marriage registration confirms that Ella was a professional nurse.
Robert Alexander Phair Jr., moved to Detroit in 1919 and then on to Oakland, Calif by 1922 where he served as a motor machinist/fireman for the US Coast Guard.  In 1925 he became a naturalized citizen of the U.S.  He married Mellner Enid Peak of San Jose in Oakland in 1927.  Their marriage registry shows that he was currently stationed on the USCGC Tingard based in Oakland, Calif.  They returned to Plympton, Ont. in 1928 to farm with his mother and step-father.  Despite having returned to Canada to live, Robert was still a naturalized US citizen and crossed the river to Port Huron, Michigan in 1942 to register for the draft during the Second World War.  I haven't found yet whether he served or not but he seems to have remained in Plympton.
Ella died on the farm in 1945 of Myocarditis complicated with influenza and was buried in the Wyoming cemetery.   In 1946 Robert Jr and his wife left Plympton and moved back to the US.  Their border crossing record shows that they intended to resume their residence in the US. In 1955  they were living in Sacramento where he worked as a serviceman for Buford Electric.  He died in California in 1971.
My thanks to Dave Rutherford for all of his help with this page.

This site was last updated 01/08/21