Christina M Bevan was born in Forest, Ontario in 1888,
the youngest child of Angus McPherson and his second
wife, Mary (Livingston). Angus's first wife was Janet Miller,
and together they had a son, William.
My grandfather, John L McPherson, was one of Christina's
brothers, born 14 years earlier, in 1874. The other four children
of Mary and Angus were Harriet, Elizabeth, Duncan, and
Angus Sr, son of John and Elizabeth McPherson, was born in
1838 near Appin, Argyleshire. He and his family left Scotland
to come out to Canada in 1848, settling in Ontario.
In 1911 Christina and her sisters Elizabeth and Harriet moved away from Forest to Winnipeg, where Christina married Sydney James Bevan.
Sydney Bevan had been one of the Bernardo children, (1) who were sent out from England to a new life in Canada. Sydney had been born in Newbury, England on Jan 28, 1891, to William and Hannah Bevan. At the age of nine, he sailed to Canada, travelling with other Home children, having been hired out to work and live with William and Annie Scott, in Ontario. He eventually ended up in Winnipeg where he met Christina, and married her. Christina and Sydney Bevan had one child, a daughter, Harriet. In January, 1916, Sydney became a soldier in the Canadian Army (2), going to Europe to fight in WW I. He died at the age of 26 on
Christina and Sydney Bevan’s daughter Harriet grew up to marry R. M. Service, of Winnipeg (5).
Christina’s mother, Mary, died at age 46 on Aug 2, 1892. Angus McPherson, Christina’s father, spent the last three years of his life in Winnipeg, at 335 Vaughan St, with his daughters, until his death on Dec 21, 1920, age 84.
Christina Bevan’s sister Hattie McPherson died April 28, 1932, age 60; Elizabeth McPherson died Oct 22, 1935, age 58. Christina Bevan died Sept 24, 1967, age 79. All three died in Winnipeg (5). Westminster United Church in Winnipeg appears to have been the family church. Brookside Cemetery was usually mentioned as the burial place of the family members.
The year before my great-aunt Christina died, in 1966, I had been living in Winnipeg so visited her and her daughter Harriet, though do not recall meeting other family members, such as her granddaughter. Christina gave me some precious items that she had saved, that had been given to her by my grandfather John L McPherson (6) on one of his trips back home to Forest, Ontario, from Hong Kong, sometime between 1905 and 1911, when she moved to Winnipeg. There were several silver charms, among them replicas of a traditional Chinese counter, and a rickshaw. There were two 2" diameter jewellery pendants, one a mother-of-pearl, heart-shaped, natural shell-like pinkish colour; the other milky green jade with dragon figures carved into it. These I gave to my daughter Christine Herd for safekeeping before I went to England in 1996. And finally, there was a white bridge table cover, that had been given to Christina by John L McPherson and passed down to me, which I also saved but lost track of its whereabouts, presumably now with someone in the Fulham family.
I was still a teenager when I visited my great aunt in Winnipeg, and probably didn’t know much, if anything, about her life and that of her husband, Sydney, who had experienced such immense life-changing events, and of such historical significance – being one of the British Home children and a soldier at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in WWI. Although Christina lived for many years longer after he died, her father died, and her sisters, I know very little about her life, how she managed, as a widow, and her life as a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. Her brother, who was my grandfather, John L McPherson, had died when I was 5 months old so I have no recollection of him or of my grandmother on that side, who died a year later, in 1948. There are other family connections in Canada, including those from Angus McPherson’s third marriage to Elizabeth Grant, several of whom are known to have been living in Forest, Ontario in the 1960s, not to mention extended family, Clarabelle for one, who ended up in Detroit. But I am glad that I got to meet great aunt Christina, sister of my grandfather.
List of resources
1. Canadian British Home Children in Canada. Sydney James Bevan
introduced by Norah Dennis. Retrieved Mar 5, 2014.
2. Canada at War. Sydney Bevan
Retrieved Mar 2, 2014
3. The Battle of Vimy Ridge, 9-12 April 1917, by Tim Cook. War Museum.ca.
Retr Feb 28, 2014.
4. See original story of Sydney Bevan and more on the Canadians at Vimy Ridge at ‘Geocaching’:
5. Fulham family records, by Michael Fulham, approx 1996.
6. J. L. McPherson, Hong Kong YMCA: General Secretary 1905-1935
By Sue McPherson, 2006