Out of Our Past

Who Was Grandpa Hoyle?

Here is an old Real Photo Postcard with the label “Mac Hoyle, a chum and Old Nero”. The back side of the post card has a short message and is simply addressed “To Grandpa Hoyle, Gelert”.

About the Hamlet of Gelert

This once growing community today has become a ghost town. It started out as a sawmill town in Haliburton County. Located about 7 miles from the town of Minden, it was first settled in 1860. For a time it was known as Snowdonville. Gelert was also called Minden Station for a few years. In 1879, when a local businessman, William Ritchie, opened a Post Office in his General Store, it became Gelert (pronounced Gillirt).

Mac Hoyle’s Real Photo Post Card

As there is no postal canceller on this postcard, we cannot say exactly when it was mailed. However, it is possible to give a time frame to the picture. To begin with, Real Photo Postcards first came into existence when Kodak introduced them in 1903. A unique way to communicate with friends and family, postcard pictures continued in use until around 1930.

On the backside, these postcards like all others, included a marked spot where postage was to be affixed. Every few years, these markings were changed in small ways.

The place allocated for affixing a postage stamp on the back of this card had the word “Velox” with diamonds in the four corners. From a dating guideline, this particular postcard was first available in 1907 and continued in use until 1914.

At a guess, the young lads in the photo appear to be around six to eight years of age. The dog “Nero” comes almost to waist height beside the boys. Using this as a guideline, then perhaps Mac Hoyle was born between 1901 and 1907.

A search for a child named Mac Hoyle during the opening decade of the 1900s, did not produce any results. However, an overall search for Hoyle children born during these years, did produce a possibility. Oliver Malcolm Hoyle was born in October 1906 in Snowdon Township, Haliburton County.

Oliver was the son of Joseph Waller Hoyle and Mary Etta Jane Wruth. They were married in Snowdon Township on
1 October 1888. Mary Etta Wruth was born in Snowdon Township, in 1866, a daughter of John and Louisa Wruth. More will shortly be said of Oliver.

Joseph Waller Hoyle was born 20 June 1862 in Yorkshire, England. He was the second son of Thomas Hoyle and Alice Smith.

About Thomas and Alice, Parents of Joseph

Thomas Hoyle was born 8 December 1831. He was a son of John Hoyle and Janet Haythornthwaite.

Alice, born 10 July 1836 in Ingleton, Yorkshire, England, was the daughter of Joseph Waller Smith and Betty Wilkinson. She married Thomas Hoyle around 1858 in England and they had a family of six children: John, born 1859; Janet born 1860; Joseph born 1862; Betty born 1864; Anna born 1866 and Thomas born 1868.

Alice (Smith) Hoyle’s untimely death took place on 31 January 1870 at Scotforth, Lancashire, England.

Thomas Remarries

At the parish church in Lancaster, Lancashire, England, Thomas Hoyle married his second wife on 30 January 1872. As life would have it, Thomas’ second wife was also named Alice. She was widow Sharples, otherwise known as Alice Tirzah Parrington, daughter of Thomas Nelson and Annis Parrington. Her first husband was Richard Sharples, born in Lancashire, England about 1838 who died around 1869 or 1870. Richard and Alice had four children.

Within a short time of widow Sharples’ marriage to Thomas, but still within the year 1872, the newly wed couple with most of their children, immigrated to Canada. They settled in Snowdon Township. In this small rural community, Thomas and Alice spent the rest of their lifetime. Their home was located near the village of Gelert.  In Canada four children were born to Thomas and Alice, bringing their total number of children to fifteen. The children of each family group were as follows:

                          Thomas Hoyle and Alice Smith had: John 1859; Janet 1860; Joseph 1862;
                             Betty 1864; Anna 1866 and Thomas 1868

                           Richard Sharples and Alice Parrington had: Bryan 1860; Edward 1864; Annie 1865 and Margaret 1869

                          Thomas Hoyle and Alice Parrington had: Albert 1873; William 1876; Alfred 1878;
                             Leonard 1880 and Jannet 1883.

Alice (Parrington) Hoyle died on 1 November 1912. Her earthly remains were laid to rest in the Cemetery at Gelert. Thomas Hoyle died a few years later on,
2 November 1916. He was laid to rest beside his wife in the Gelert Cemetery.

The headstone for Thomas and Alice reads:

In memory of Thomas Hoyle, born Dec. 8, 1832 – Died Nov. 29, 1916
His wife, Tirzah Parrington, Born Nov. 6, 1840 – Died Nov. 1, 1912

Kind angels watch their sleeping dust
Till Jesus comes to raise the just
Then may they wake in sweet surprise
And in their Saviour’s image rise

More About Mac’s Post Card

Thus, if the young boy identified as “Mac” in the Real Photo Postcard, was in fact Oliver Malcolm Hoyle, born in 1906, son of Joseph Waller Hoyle and Mary Etta Wruth, that would make him the grandson of Thomas Hoyle. That being the case, then Thomas was the “Grandpa Hoyle, Gelert” to whom the little letter was directed:

Hoyle, Mac, a friend and dog-Nero -w2

Mac, his older sister and parents moved from Snowdon Township to the Assiniboia area of Saskatchewan between 1906 and 1911. They were present in Assiniboia for the 1911 census and again when the census was taken in 1921. Therein would be the reason why young Mac would write a card to his Grandpa Hoyle – to tell him how he is growing since the family moved out west.

Other Children in the Blended Family of Thomas and Alice

John, son of Thomas and Alice (Smith) Hoyle, was born in Lancashire, England in February 1859. He married Annie Teresa Sharples on 21 May 1886 in the village of Haliburton, Ontario. Annie was also born in Lancashire, England. Her birth took place on 21 August 1865. She was a daughter of Richard and Alice (Parrington) Sharples. The connection here is that Annie’s mother, Alice married John’s father, Thomas. For both Thomas and Alice, it was a second marriage, so there is no blood relationship between John and Annie. John and Annie had a family of ten children.

Janet, daughter of Thomas and Alice (Smith) Hoyle, was born in England about 1860 and died at the age of five years in 1865.

Bettie, daughter of Thomas and Alice (Smith) Hoyle, was born in England in February 1864. She married John Milburn who was born in March 1855.

They had a family of five children.  Their second boy, William, known as Willie, died at the age of 11 months. He is buried in the little family plot near their home and now called the Milburn Cemetery. John Milburn died 29 March 1941. Bettie (Hoyle) Milburn died 23 August 1945. They are interred in the Gelert Cemetery.

Anna, daughter of Thomas and Alice (Smith) Hoyle, was born in England in 1866.

Thomas, son of Thomas and Alice (Smith) Hoyle, was born in Lancashire, England in 1868. He married Emma Genereaux and they had four children.

Bryan, son of Richard and Alice (Parrington) Sharples, was born in England in 1861.

Edward, son of Richard and Alice (Parrington) Sharples, was born in England in 1864.

Annie, daughter of Richard and Alice (Parrington) Sharples, was born in England in August 1865. She married Thomas and Alice (Smith) Hoyle’s son, John (as noted earlier, under John).

Margaret, daughter of Richard and Alice (Parrington) Sharples, was born in Ontario in 1870. She married William Robert Jackson and they lived in Owen Sound, Ontario. Margaret died in June 1928.

Albert, son of Thomas and Alice (Parrington) Hoyle, was born in Ontario in April 1873. He married Margaret Newell and they had a family of five children.

William, son of Thomas and Alice (Parrington) Hoyle, was born in Ontario in January 1876.

Alfred M. Richard, son of Thomas and Alice (Parrington) Hoyle, was born in Ontario in April 1878 and died in January 1887. He rests in the Milburn family cemetery in Haliburton County.

Leonard, son of Thomas and Alice (Parrington) Hoyle, was born in Ontario in 1880. He married Mabel Sedgwick at Davisville, Toronto on 26 December 1910. They had a son, Albert Lawrence born in 1913 and a daughter Elizabeth Alice born in 1915.

Jannet, daughter of Thomas and Alice (Parrington) Hoyle, was born in Ontario in July 1884. She married Robert Francis Hamilton on 28 December 1907 in Fenelon Township. Robert was born in Snowden Township, a son of James Hamilton and Mary Cline. They had a family of five children. Jannet died in August 1940. Robert died in June 1966. They rest in the Gelert Cemetery.

Looking for more about this area?
Early Days in Haliburton

Out of Our Past