Rebecca Lavina Hodges b 31 January 1840

Rebecca Hodges was born 31 January 1840, in Aylesford township of Nova Scotia, the fifth of nine children of Jonathan and Ruth (Taylor) Hodges.  Her father was a farmer and shoemaker.  She married William B McKeown on 12 December 1865 at Berwick.  He was from nearby Lawrencetown, and this was the first marriage for both.  Witnesses at the wedding were neighbor Albert G Roland and Rebecca’s younger brother Stephen Hodges. 

In 1871, Rebecca and William lived with their first two children, Minnie and Hattie, in Clarence.  Son Charles was born a few years later.  Rebecca and her family were in the 1881 census, living at Clarence NS.  William was listed as a farmer, and all reported they were ethnically Irish.  (McKeowns were from northern Ireland.)  Besides farming, William served as Deacon at the Baptist church.

In 1891, the household consisted of William, Rebecca, their son Charles, a domestic (servant) named James Sanderson, and Rebecca’s niece Nellie Ewing (daughter of Tamson Hodges Ewing.)

In 1901, Rebecca and William lived with their daughter Minnie and her husband Charles Clearn, in Clarence.  The Bridgetown Monitor reported on Bridgetown Monitor:  2 Feb 1910:  Lawrencetown. Mr and Mrs C. B. McKeown entertained their friends very pleasantly Monday evening, it being the seventieth birthday of Mrs Wm. McKeown.

By the time of the 1911 census, Rebecca and William were living in the household of their son Charles, and his wife Florence, in Brickton. 

Rebecca’s grandson William Balcom (Hattie’s son) served in World War 1 as a member of the Canadian Railway Troops.  This organization built railroads in Europe to facilitate the movement of war supplies, after it became evident that road and animal transport could not move the massive quantities needed to support the military.  Return trains evacuated casualties. Railway men were killed due to accidents, shelling, aerial bombing, and machine gun and rifle fire.  While the troops had the protection of their trenches, the railway troops were more often out in the open, moving supplies forward or repairing rail lines.  William Balcom died in France on 24 April 1918, and is buried at St-Hilaire near the town of Frevent in France.  Rebecca’s son Charles served overseas in the Canadian Forestry Corps. The roll of this battalion was to undertake lumbering operations in Europe in support of England in the war and included building landing fields.  He died of accidental injuries just five weeks after his nephew William, on 30 May 1918, and is buried in Chichester Cemetery in England. 

Rebecca died 23 May 1927.  Her husband died 1 May 1936.  They are buried at Pine Grove Cemetery at Middleton NS.

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