A Family of Many Blessings and Gifts
20th Century Histories
WEB PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Ernest Leslie McLellan 1892-1953 and Mary Veronica Williamson 1885-1976
Ernest Leslie (aka Lal) McLellan was born March 15, 1892 at Brandon Manitoba Canada. He was the 5th of 8 children of John McLellan and Mary Ann Wiggins. John and Mary Ann moved the family to Okanagan Falls in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia about 1900. In the early days of this area of British Columbia, the major employer was "the Okanagan Land Company", who prior to the introduction of the fruit orchard industry invested in land and cattle ranching. "Lal", as Leslie was called, worked for the company as a cowhand during his early adult years.
The southern Okanagan Valley at the turn of the 20th
century (ca 1900) was a dry semi-desert area complete with scrub bush, tumbleweed
and rattle snakes --- sort of great cattle country you might see in a modern
western movie. Lal McLellan took part in cattle drives eastward over the
mountains via Bridesville (a notorious bandit hideout) to deliver beef cattle to
the prospering mining communities at Greenwood and Grand Forks, British
Columbia. Also, as there was a poor road north, Lal and Mary would ride
horseback overland to Penticton to visit her Dad and Mother. Mary's father
John would note it in the Herald newspaper visitors section.
Mary Veronica Williamson was the eldest child of John and
Ellen Williamson (nee Farrell) was born March 23, 1885 in Widnes, Lancashire,
UK. Her father John immigrated to Vancouver, Canada in 1910. Mary
taught school in England and also took examinations at the Vancouver Normal
Teaching School and was soon teaching after arriving with her
family in British Columbia. As a newspaper journalist and editor in
Canada, her father was made editor of the Penticton Herald in 1911.
As with many patriotic Canadian men, whose loyalty to King
and country ranked high, Leslie chose to defend freedom and joined the Army.
Once again his ability with horses was key and made him a prime candidate for an
artillery battalion whose guns, in those days, were transported by horses and
gun carriages. Leslie (Lal) spent several years in the horror of the
French and Belgium war torn country side. As with many war veterans, he
would not talk about the action he saw and participated in. Although one
of Mary's siblings recalled learning of one action where Lal was moving some big
guns to the front one night and was caught in a German heavy shelling barrage at
a key crossroad in France and were some men and horses were killed and wounded.
Fortunately, he was not harmed. He was returned to Vancouver after
the armistice of November 11, 1918.
Lal was a gifted 'handy man' who could build or repair anything especially around the house. It did not take long for his sister-in-laws to learn this. This author can remember times when mother telephoned sister Mary for Lal's help with a plumbing stoppage as my father was not seemingly helpful in these matters. Our residence at Quebec street, a 3 storey structure, needed a new roof and Lal, while coaching my father as a helper, re-roofed the large areas and levels of cedar shingles over a 3 day weekend. Lal had my brothers and I store the old scrap wooden shingles as a source of "kindling" to start a fire in our wood and coal stoves (cookers) and house furnace heaters.
Mary was respected as the older sister among the Williamson women. She had a loving wise heart and a pragmatic business sense which was of benefit to her brothers and sisters . The great depression of the 1930's were hard times --- money was scarce and some of the men were out of work. As the growing Williamson families children needed clothes, Mary would offer or re-size her children's clothes for the needs of her sibling's children. The author wore many re-sized clothes previously belonging to cousin "Bert" as did his sisters with hand-me-downs from the McLellan girls. The family sewing machines were often very busy!
A Look at the Okanagan Valley McLellan Family
The McLellan family were well known and respected pioneers
in the southern Okanagan valley. The family's presence and history is
documented in the Okanagan Historical Society's extensive archives. A
mountain just west of their home at Okanagan Falls was dedicated
to the family by the Provincial Government and is called "Mount McLellan".
Many of Lal's seven brothers and sisters married into local families from both
"the Falls" and from "Penticton". Of interest, Lal's sister "Charlie", a
very attractive beauty, was selected for a dance with the "Prince of Wales"
(Edward VIII) when he visited and attended a reception and ball at Penticton in
1919. One of Lal's cousin's sons "Kenny McLean" was a world famous
champion rodeo bronco rider during the 1950's and 60's. A memorial statue
of Kenny on horse-back was erected in Okanagan Falls Centennial Park in 2010.
In addition to Ernest Leslie, John and Mary Ann McLellan
brought 7 other children in the world as
Margaret (Maggie), March 8, 1884 - married Dick Basset
There are 4 generations following those above, and without available dates and other information for publishing needs further research and development by the current McLellan families.
Here are a few available photos of the McLellan family members!
The McLellan Family Children
John Dawson and Vera McLellan and Family
Mary Veronica McLellan was born on August 25, 1915 at
Vancouver B.C. Vera, as she is called, was the first child of Les and Mary
McLellan. John (AKA Johnny) Dawson, as he was called born on July 13, 1911
in Scotland. They were married October 2, 1937 in Vancouver B.C.
Vera was educated in Vancouver at various schools including St Patrick's High
School when the family lived at the Williamson family home at 2905 Quebec Street
in the Mount Pleasant area of Vancouver B.C. She also worked for and was
in-charge of downtown Woolworth's china department for some years. Vera recently turned 95 years old, and
although hospitalized with an ongoing illness, returned to her home and is now
enjoying her life to the fullness possible.