Charles McKeown was born 7 August 1879, in Brickton, near Lawrencetown, Annapolis county, Nova Scotia. He was the third and last child of William B McKeown and Rebecca Lavinia Hodges. He had two older sisters, Minnie Blanche (1866-1926) and Hattie Ann (1868-1936).
Charles grew up in the Clarence and Lawrencetown area. These are two small towns only 6 miles apart. Although some records say Clarence and some say Lawrencetown, it is possible that the family did not move, as an article about the 50th wedding anniversary of his parents says that they lived most of the time in one place. The 1881 census lists the family in Clarence, describing them as Baptists, of Irish descent. By the time of the 1891 census, Charles’ two sisters have married and moved out, but the household includes his cousin Nellie Ewing, daughter of Rebecca’s deceased sister, Tamsen. In 1901, Charles was still living with his parents, and his now divorced sister Minnie was in the household as well. Charles’ father was probably relatively prosperous, as each of these census records had what appears to be hired help counted with the family.
On 25 October, 1905, in Bear River, Charles married Annie Florence Hardwick, daughter of George Hardwick and Elizabeth McNeil. The Bear River Telephone reported on Friday, October 27, 1905, that ” A very pretty house wedding took place at the residence of George Hardwick on Wednesday, when his only daughter Annie Florence married Charles North McKeown of Lawrencetown. Reverend Hemmeon officiated. The couple will live at Lawrencetown.” Although a later delayed birth registration lists her as born 12 September 1889, the 1891 census lists her as age 7, so she was most likely born in 1884. She was from Lequille, just outside Annapolis Royal, and her father was a farm laborer who later had his own farm.
The 1911 census lists Charles now as the head of the household, with his wife Florence, and his parents living with him. Charles was a farmer. Charles and Florence had at least one son, George William McKeown, born 1 Dec 1911 in Brickton, in Annapolis county. Brickton is another small community by Lawrencetown.
On 10 April, 1916, Charles enlisted in the Canadian armed forces. His occupation at that time was railway section man. His attestation papers say that he had served in the Kings County Hussars. He was 36 years old, 5’7”, 150 pounds, fair complexion, with blue eyes and gray hair. Charles served in the Canadian Forestry Corps, 54th District, and Canadian Infantry 219th Battalion. The 219th was a unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. The Forestry Corps was created when it was discovered that huge amounts of wood were needed for the war effort. The British recognized that Canadians were the most qualified in the British Empire for harvesting timber, and they were brought to Europe to cut forests in England, Scotland, and France. Although they were not usually in combat, many were killed or injured when working around power saws, in mills, and during transport.
Charles died on 30 May 1918, of accidental injuries in a mill. Charles died at the Chichester War Hospital, and he was buried at Chichester Cemetery in Sussex, England. He was commemorated on the Bridgetown, Nova Scotia war memorial.
Florence continued to live in the area, but travelled to the US. Records show her arriving in Boston, from Yarmouth, on 15 September 1935, on the Evangeline. On 12 November, 1935, she married widower Almon Leonard Stinson, in Yarmouth. The next day, she and Almon were recorded as crossing the border from Canada into the US at Calais, Maine. Her delayed record of birth was filed on 4 November – perhaps she needed a birth record for her second marriage, or as identification for traveling across the border.
In 1940, Florence and Almon lived in Lynn, MA, and the record indicates that they were in the same house in 1935. Almon was a captain for the fire department. Border crossing records indicate that Florence continued to travel back and forth between Lynn and Nova Scotia.
Florence and Almon lived at #2 Wentworth Place in Lynn, in a duplex built in 1930. The 1947 Lynn city directory says that they moved to Royal (Annapolis Royal) Nova Scotia. Florence died 29 January 1956 in Clemensport, of a cerebral hemorrhage, and is buried at the United Church cemetery. Almon died in June, 1961, and is buried with his first wife, at Pine Grove cemetery in Lynn, MA.
Charles and Florence’s son George married Muriel H Dukeshire on 21 November 1934. They eventually moved to Hamilton, Ontario, at the west end of Lake Ontario. George was an engineer, and Muriel worked as a stenographer and bookkeeper. They lived at 74 Lorne, a small two-story house. An on-line family tree says that George died in 1990. Murial was listed in voter records as late as 1972, but I have no further information for them.