Born in St Eleanors, PEI Canada on 6 Apr 1886, Henry Melbourne RICHARDSON was the eldest child of Sydney RICHARDSON and Isabella Harriett "Ella" COMPTON. His first name Henry was likely in honour of his paternal grandfather Henry Proctor RICHARDSON; he was usually known by his middle name of Melbourne or Mel, which doesn't seem to be associated with other family members at all.
In a story he wrote about his younger years, Melbourne talks about growing up on a farm, helping and learning the ways of farming from his father and maternal grandfather George Compton. He lists crops, animals, tools and equipment used to make a living off the land. There were always morning and afternoon chores, and between them he attended the Sherbrook 1-room schoolhouse one mile to the east.
Other than these few sentences, which I have not yet fully confirmed from records, this period of Melbourne's life still contains mystery. Details about his time in Winnipeg are still unknown, and I have found only 2 records that mention Victoria. A sighting in the 1912 Victoria city directory shows a H M Richardson renting rooms at the YMCA. This might be him. In 1909 Melbourne shows up on a border crossing document with a relative Walter Bruce COMPTON, both in transit from Winnipeg to Seattle via the Port of Victoria. This might have been a quick trip across the border for both of them because later that same year Walter was back in Canada living in Calgary where he set up his own business. I think that both young men were out trying to find the best work opportunities, perhaps while enjoying a bit of a holiday in new parts of the world.
Again in Seattle on 28 Mar 1913, Henry M Richardson married Marion H Smith in the Manse, Seattle, Washington. He must have been working in the States in order to have met and married Marion in 1913, yet he retained a residence in Victoria until officially immigrating in 1915. On his 1916 US naturalization papers he says that he left Victoria aboard the Princess Charlotte and arrived in Seattle on 12 January 1915. Somehow in the process of border hopping, he avoided both the 1910 US census and the 1911 Canad census, or at least I haven't found them yet in this crucial period.
Other later jobs included working for Mr Massy the town clerk in Summerside where he learned bookkeeping and sometimes acted as recording clerk for the Police Court trials. Another time he worked as delivery boy for Mr Lidstone's general store and grocery. He also tried Oyster fishing in season with a friend.
Even recreation was hard work. In order to play hockey (with skates that screwed onto their shoes), they first had to clear off a level piece of ground, then flood it with many bucket loads of water that first had to be hand pumped. If they were lucky they'd get a couple of days practice before more snow had to be cleared away. The team in Summerside had a covered rink, which may have given them the edge, with better practice conditions and home team advantage. Melbourne's team lost by a large margin.
In 1946 Mel and Marion decided to go on a cross Canada trip, from Vancouver Island BC in the west (just north of Seattle) to Prince Edward Island in the east, visiting their remaining relatives in both locations. In Westholme on Vancouver Island they visited his brother-in-law Harry ANDREW and part of his family, along with some COMPTON relatives. In St Eleanors PEI they visited Melbourne's father and ailing mother and his sister Nell who was nursing their mother. Two of Nell's daughters were also nearby. They also visited COMPTON relatives in Charlottetown PEI.
Between 1914 and 1930, Melbourne and Marion RICHARDSON had four sons (Roy Compton, Sydney William, John Bruce and Ralph Hunter) and one daughter now living in Washington State. In the summer of 1928, Melbourne's mother Ella made the long journey to Seattle from her home in PEI to visit him and his family and get to know her grandchildren. They enjoyed some family outings including camping and swimming at nearby Lake Sammamish. Wonderful pictures were taken. Swimming "costumes" have certainly evolved since then!
"52 Ancestors" is a reference to the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge I am participating in.
Reference the No Story Too Small blog by genealogist Amy Johnson Crow for more details.
It is giving me the much needed incentive to write and publish my family stories.