Wednesday, 6 July 2016

An intrepid and brave young woman

My maternal grandmother, Dorothy Young (1889-1967), set out from Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, England on her own, bound for Canada as an 19-year old girl looking for adventure in September 1908.
Dorothy aged about 30

Dorothy was the second eldest daughter of Robert Alexander Young (1854-1915) and Isabella Knox (1862-1937). The Youngs and Knoxes go back generations in Berwick. She originally went to Canada for a nanny position in Brockville, Ontario, but quickly grew bored with that and for a time worked as a cook in an Ontario lumber camp (!!) where she was the only woman, before settling in Montreal by 1911,where she found work as a servant. In Montreal, Dorothy became part of a circle of other Berwick immigrants, as I’ve found in news items in old issues of the Berwick Advertiser. She attended socials with her circle of friends and attended weddings and other events as far away as Toronto with her friends. At some point in Montreal, she and my grandfather John Matheson met. 

Dorothy returned to England in August 1915 to marry John in London, while he was on a short leave from the Canadian Expeditionary Force. She remained in Berwick throughout the First World War, seeing John when he had leave. My mother, Isobel Young Matheson, was born in Berwick in May 1919. 

In August of that year, Dorothy and my infant mother sailed for Montreal. Dorothy never returned to Berwick, but exchanged many letters with her mother and sisters. Two of her sisters visited Montreal through the years, and one also joined her there, marrying and having a family. The never ending story continues....

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