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[Please keep checking this space, additional material and photos will be added as they become available, additional tags will be added as dates are clarified. The last information and / or images added 20 May 2014]

Family history often a confused mixture of relationships; the story of the WATSON (including MUIR) – ACTON  families is no exception. The photo below was taken about 1938-39 in Saskatchewan at one of the many family picnic get-to-gethers of the WATSON-ACTON families. The location of the photo is likely beside the Qu’Appelle River, near Ellisboro, probably just beside the old bridge.

After Thomas WATSON and his wife Jane MUIR immigrated to Saskatchewan in 1910, their sons (James (#15 in the photo), William (#4), Alexander (deceased at the time of the photo), and daughter Helen (Nell) (#40) married members of the Acton family. The resulting combined and extended families led to a tangled web of relations and cousins. While Thomas (d. 1932) and Jane Watson (d. 1933) are not in this photo, many of their descendants are.

 ACTON1937-004a-names

Names of people in picnic of Watson – Acton families and their relationship to Thomas and Jane (Muir) Watson. Names of persons still living have been left blank(__).

1. Joseph (‘Joe’) Francis ACTON (1886-1972): husband of Nell (#40); father of Dick (#12) and Tom (#8); son-in-law of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR.

2. [Living son] WATSON: step-son of Bill (#4); brother of Janet (#23); grandson of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

3. Samuel (‘Sam’) Acton WATSON (1920-2002): son of Jim (#15) and Nancy (#38); brother of Doris (#29), Bill (#13), Muriel (#37), and __ (#28); grandson of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR.

4. William (‘Bill’) Muir WATSON (1892-1973): step-father of Bob (#2); brother of Nell (#40), Jim (#15) and John (#35); son of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR.

5. Jeff PARKER: husband of Edith (#20)

6. Robert WALKER (Sr.): nephew of Janet (#16); married to Lilly BAKER (not in photo), sister of Bill Sharpe’s wife Priscilla BAKER.

7. [Living son] ACTON: son of Dick (#21) and Annie (#27); brother of __ (#39), __ (#36), __ (#19), __ (#18), __ (#26) and __ (#22).

8. Thomas (‘Tom’) Watson ACTON (1917-1991): son of Joe (#1) and Nell (#40); brother of Dick (#12); grandson of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR.

9. William (‘Bill’) SHARPE: Husband of Priscilla BAKER (#25);

10. Robert WALKER (Jr.): son of Robert WALKER (Sr.) (#6)

11. Anne (Gompf) McKINNON: wife of Alex (#14); mother of Vi (#30)

12. Richard (‘Dick’) William ACTON (1916-1990): son of Joe (#1) and Nell (#40); brother of Tom (#8); grandson of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

13. Richard William (‘Bill’) WATSON (1916-2000): son of Jim (#15) and Nancy (#38); brother of Doris (#29), Muriel (#37), Sam (#3) and __ (28); grandson of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

14. Alexander ‘Alex’ McKINNON: husband of Anne (#11); father of Vi (#30); brother of Annie (#27)

15. James (‘Jim’) Muir WATSON (1888-1965): husband of Nancy (#38); father of Doris (#29), Bill (#13), Muriel (#37), Sam (#3) and __ (28); brother of Bill (#4), Nell (#40) and John (#35); son of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

16. Janet (Walker) ACTON (1859-1948): (widow of Samuel ACTON; Samuel died in 1927 therefore not shown in photo); mother of Nancy (#38), Dick (#21), Bob (#32) and Jenny (#17).

17. Janet (‘Jenny’) Ethel ACTON: daughter of Janet (#16); sister of Nancy (#38), Dick (#21), and Bob (#32).

18. [Living son] ACTON: son of Dick (#21) and Annie (#27); brother of __ (#39), __ (#7), __ (#36), __ (#19), __ (#26) and __ (#22).

19. [Living daughter] ACTON: daughter of Dick (#21) and Annie (#27); sister of __ (#39), __ (#7), __ (#36), __ (#18), __ (#26) and __ (#22).

20. Edith (Allen) PARKER: wife of Jeff (#5)

21. Richard (‘Dick’) Arthur ACTON (1894-1984): son of Janet (#16); husband of Annie (#27); father of __ (#39), __ (#7), __ (#36), __ (#19), __ (#18), __ (#26) and __ (#22); brother of Nancy (#38), Bob (#32) and Jenny (#17).

22. [Living son] ACTON (back of head): son of Dick (#21) and Annie (#27); brother of __ (#39), __ (#7), __ (#36), __ (#19), __ (#18), and __ (#26).

23. Janet Mae WATSON: step-daughter of Bill (#4); sister of Bob (#2); granddaughter of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

24. [Living daughter] ACTON: daughter of Bob (#32) and Sarah (#31); sister of __ (#34) and __ (#33).

25. Priscilla (Baker) SHARPE: wife of (Bill (#9)

26. [Living son] ACTON: son of Dick (#21) and Annie (#27); brother of __ (#39), __ (#7), __ (#36), __ (#19), __ (#18), and __ (#22).

27. Annie (McKinnon) ACTON: wife of Dick (#21); mother of __ (#39), __ (#7), __ (#36), __ (#19), __ (#18), __ (#26) and __ (#22); sister of Alex (#14)

28. [Living daughter] WATSON: daughter of Jim (#15) and Nancy (#38); sister of Doris (#29), Bill (#13), Muriel (#37), and Sam (#3); granddaughter of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

29. Doris (‘Doris’) Janet WATSON (1915-ca 1985): daughter of Jim (#15) and Nancy (#38); sister of Bill (#13), Muriel (#37), Sam (#3) and __ (28); granddaughter of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

30. Viola (‘Vi’) MCKINNON: daughter of Anne (#11) and Alex (#14); niece of Annie (#27)

31. Sarah Hastings (Johnston) ACTON (1896-1986): wife of Bob (#32); mother of __ (#34), __ (#24) and __ (#33), sister of Mary (#41)

32. Robert ‘Bob’ Walker ACTON (1896-1966): son of Janet (#16); husband of Sarah (#31) father of __ (#34), __ (#24) and __ (#33); brother of Nancy (#38), Dick (#21), and Jenny (#17).

33. [Living daughter] ACTON: daughter of Bob (#32) and Sarah (#31); sister of __ (#34), and __ (#24).

34. [Living daughter] ACTON: daughter of Bob (#32) and Sarah (#31); sister of __ (#24) and __ (#33).

35. John (‘John’) McConnell Muir WATSON (1903-1994): brother of Bill (#4), Jim (#15) and Nell (#40); son of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

36. [Living daughter] ACTON: daughter of Dick (#21) and Annie (#27); sister of __ (#39), __ (#7), __ (#19), __ (#18), __ (#26) and __ (#22).

37. Muriel Mae WATSON (1919-2000): daughter of Jim (#15) and Nancy (#38); sister of Doris (#29), Bill (#13), Sam (#3) and __ (28); granddaughter of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

38. Agnes ‘Nancy’ Elizabeth (Acton) WATSON (1892-1981): daughter of Janet (#16); wife of Jim( #15); mother of Doris (#29), Bill (#13), Muriel (#37), Sam (#3) and __ (28); sister of Dick (#21), Bob (#32) and Jenny (#17); daughter-in-law of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

39. [Living daughter] ACTON: daughter of Dick (#21) and Annie (#27); sister of __ (#7), __ (#36), __ (#19), __ (#18), __ (#26) and __ (#22).

40. Helen (‘Nell’) McNab (Watson) ACTON: wife of Joe (#1); mother of Dick (#12) and Tom (#8); sister of Bill (#4), Jim (#15) and John (#35); daughter of Thomas WATSON and Jane MUIR

41. Mary JOHNSTON: sister of Sarah (#31)

The picnic was likely held on a Sunday afternoon, after the 11 AM church service in the rural Rosewood United Church. After attending church, the families would briefly return to their farm homes. All family members remained dressed in their Sunday best; they would not change after attending church. Quickly tying on an apron, the women would pack food that had been prepared the day before. The men would conduct a last minute check of any farm animals that might require food and / or water before evening; if this necessitated a change into ‘chore clothes’ the white shirts, ties and dark suit trousers would be put on again before leaving for the picnic. Cars were quickly packed with excited children and delicious and plentiful home cooked food.

ACTON1938-052ACTON1938-051Each housewife would pack more than enough for her own family, but once at the picnic site, all food would be placed on picnic tables or blankets for a large ‘pot-luck’ feast including jellied salads, potato salad, canned chicken, hams, sandwiches (canned salmon, roast beef and pork, chicken, ham), pickles (dill, mustard, sweet, bread-and-butter), homemade buns and bread, cakes, ‘squares’, pies and cookies. Large jars of homemade lemonade would be available for the children, multiple thermos of hot tea would be provided for the adults. Several families would also bring a ‘cream can’ of cool drinking water.

The afternoon’s entertainment was informal: the woman would gather and discuss children, gardens, recipes.

The men would discuss cattle, crops, weather, the price of grain, the lack of railway cars to ship the grain, the cost of farm machinery, the state of the roads, and the other constant challenges of farm life. The young children would dash amongst the trees involved in their own games of tag, or games of, the now politically incorrect, ‘war’ with pretend guns made from tree branches.ACTON1938-054

 

 

 

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