Agnes (Nancy) Elizabeth ACTON (1892-1981), James MUIR (1843-1924), James Muir WATSON (1888-1965), Jane MUIR (1865-1933), Mount Oliphant Farm, Samuel ACTON (1857-1927), Thomas WATSON (1854-1932), Thomas WATSON (1887-1951), William Watson Muir WATSON (1892-1973)
(see ‘Thomas & Jane (MUIR) WATSON Family’ under heading ‘WATSON’ , for photograph of WATSON family see post 29 April 2012)
[this post last edited, new information and/or images added 12 March 2013. Unless otherwise indicated all photos are from the author’s collection]
[For more Watson family photos also check out Donald Slater’s family history Flickr account www.flickr.com/photos/palaeoecogeek]
James (Jim) Muir WATSON [left on 10 June 1914] was born on 20 November 1888 at Mount Oliphant Farm, Ayrshire, Scotland, second son and child to Thomas WATSON and his wife Jane (Jean) (MUIR) WATSON. James was named according to the Scottish ‘naming pattern’; as the second son he was named after his mother’s father James MUIR.
Unlike his older brother Tom [Thomas WATSON], Jim did follow in his father’s farming footsteps. He would have been expected to work on the farm as he grew up, helping with the work when not in school. As he grew up, Jim saw firsthand from his father’s experience as a tenant farmer that there was no future in Scotland. Land ownership was tied up with a few individuals and he could never hope to rise above a tenant. Canada was a different proposition. The Canadian West was being settled and the newspapers were filled with reports of free land, rosy conditions and healthy life style. Hardy agricultural workers in Scotland were wanted and immigration agents travelled throughout the country, distributing posters and pamphlets extolling the benefits of life in Canada.
Jim did not resist the lure and on the 19 June 1906 he arrived at the Port of Montreal on the ship ‘S. S. Corinthian’. He was not yet 18 years old. After his arrival in Winnipeg he worked for a local farmer as an agricutural labourer. It is likely that he saved what money he could to send home to his family, possibly first to help his brother Bill [William Watson Muir WATSON] immigrate, and to eventually bring the whole family.
Sometime after the Watson family arrived in Saskatchewan in 1910, Jim left his farm labouring job in Manitoba and moved to the Ellisboro / Rosewood area of Saskatchewan to be with his family. It was here that he met Agnes Elizabeth ACTON, always known as Nancy. Jim, 26, and 22 year old Nancy were married at her father Samuel ACTON’s farm on 10 June 1914 (photo below).
On Wednesday of last week one of the most popular young ladies in the district, Miss Nancy Acton, entered into the married estate, the happy bridegroom beng Mr. James Watson, second son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Watson who, since they came out from Scotland some four years ago, have been farming north of the valley. The wedding took place at the beautiful home of the bride’s father, Mr. S. Acton. A large company of friends and neighbors gathered on the verandah of the house which was gaily festooned with branches of trees, with the guests grouped around on the lawn.
Rev. D. B. Millard officiated, Mr. Thos Watson, of Winnipeg, brother of the bridegroom, acted as best man, Miss May Acton supported her sister as bridesmaid and Mrs. W. S. Oliver played the wedding march and accompanied the singing. The bride looked lovely in a gown of lace over white satin, with a prettily embroidered veil fastened to her hair with a wreath of white carnations, a bouquet of which she also carried in her hand. The bridesmaid was becomingly dressed in embroidered voile with a pink sash and pink carnations.
After the ceremony a sumptuous wedding breakfast was served on prettily decorated tables set out on the lawn under arches of trees and shade with foliage.
Many useful and handsome wedding presents were showered on the bride, including a gold watch and chain from the bridegroom and a cheque from Rosewood congregation, where for several years past she has acted as organist. The bridegroom’s present to the bridesmaid was a gold bracelet.
Amid a shower of rice and confetti the happy couple, the bride attired in a suit of Alice blue and a white hat, left by automobile for Wolseley en route for a short honeymoon in Regina.
The family wedding photograph [see photo in post Sunday 29 April 2012] shows the whole family reunited in Canada. Aside from documenting the happy occasion, I have always believed that this photograph illustrated to the Watson family the opportunities that could be gained by immigration. By 1914 Jim had acquired some land which he would eventually own, and his bride Nancy was the daughter of Samuel Acton, one of the original pioneers in the area, a major land holder and member of the Rosewood school board. The large and industrious Acton family figured prominently in the district. Jim could never have married the daughter of a land owner in Scotland, nor hoped to own his own land. Canada was indeed the land of opportunity.
After their marriage Jim and Nancy lived from 1914 until 1945 on their farm in the Qu’Appelle Valley. A rough lumber shack was their first home for about ten years until the ‘new house’ could be afforded.
In 1945 after their son Richard William (Bill) WATSON returned from WWII military service, Jim and Nancy moved to Vancouver Island where they bought a small farm in the Saanich Peninsula area north of Victoria. They lived there for several years before moving into Victoria. Their son Bill continued to farm ‘the home farm’ in Saskatchewan.
Nancy and Jim Watson, on their 50th wedding anniversary
10 June 1964, Victoria, British Columbia
Jim and Nancy both died in Victoria; Jim on 17 October 1965 as the result of a car accident, and Nancy on 19 August 1981. They are both buried in the Ellisboro Cemetery in the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan, close to where they lived and farmed for many years.