|Date of Birth||June 22, 1885|
|Place of Birth||Fulham, London|
|Next of Kin||Mrs S. Chittick adopted mother, Dunblane, Saskatchewan|
|Trade / Calling||Locomotive Engineer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Elbow, Saskatchewan|
|Address at Enlistment||Dunblane, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||February 15, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||30|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 18, 1973|
|Age at Death||88|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
The son of Frances Emily Browne, John Brown was born on 22 June 1885 in Fulham, (London), Middlesex, England. Frances, born in Dublin, Ireland, was the daughter of Charles Henry and Jane Matilda (née Smith) Browne who had married in 1856 in Islington, London.
The 1891 England census for Fulham found John living with his widowed grandmother Jane, his mother Frances, and a great aunt, Jessie Sarah Summer. With the death of his grandmother in March of 1895, Frances’ brother decided that John should go into the care of the Dr Barnardo agency that June. With a party of Barnardo children, John was found on the passenger list of the Sardinian that arrived in Quebec on 15 September 1895. The group of 298 children were headed for Toronto for dispersal. Both the 1901 and 1911 England censuses found his mother Frances living with her brother Fred and family in Brighton.
By the 1901 Canada census John was living with the Samuel and Jennie (née Shaver) Chittick family in the RM of Stanley in western Manitoba. The Chitticks had a farm and John was listed as a farm labourer. However when the family moved to Moose Jaw John also went with them, listed as a roomer in the 1906 census. The Chitticks had three children: Dale, Annie Lula, and Lottie Pearl.
John was living in Dublane, Saskatchewan and working as a locomotive engineer when he signed his attestation papers on 15 February 1916. With marital status given as single, he gave Mrs S (Jennie) Chittick, adopted mother, of Dublane as next of kin and later listed her as beneficiary in his military will of 20 October 1916. He completed his medical examination in nearby Elbow, Saskatchewan.
The 229th (South Saskatchewan) Battalion, based in Moose Jaw, had begun recruiting in early 1916 in southern Saskatchewan. By late October of 1916 Private John Brown had arrived in Moose Jaw for training. In mid March he was admitted to a hospital for close to two weeks with the diagnosis of diphtheria. However training did not go well for John and he was unable to stand the physical drill or guard duty due to back and leg problems. He had been previously injured during a fall from a locomotive into an ash pit while working in the CPR shops in Moose Jaw. He was transferred to Special Service Company No 12 but was discharged from service as category E on 8 July 1917 in Regina, termed as ‘irregular enlistment’ due to his preexisting medical condition.
At some point during his service John married Nellie Beatrice Blaine of Elbow. The daughter of Clarence Allen and Mary Catherine (neé Wilson) Blaine, Nellie was born in Foreston, Minnesota. Her family had moved back to Canada in 1909 and were found in the 1911 Canada census farming near Moose Jaw. By the 1916 census they were living in Elbow where Clarence was doing livery work and Nellie was listed as a domestic.
While in Saskatchewan, John and Nellie gave birth to three children, Dale (1917-1977), Lottie (1919-2010), and Lila (1921-2008). In 1922 the family moved to the Kenora, Ontario area where John found employment with the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company as a grinderman and wiper, working for the company until his retirement in 1954. Once in Kenora they gave birth to two more daughters, Jennie (1923-1993) and Ruby (1931). John was a member of St Alban’s Pro Cathedral and the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion.
John died on 18 April 1973 in the Pinecrest Home for the Aged in Kenora where he had been a resident since late October of the previous year. He was predeceased by his wife Nellie in 1970, and his adoptive parents Jennie in 1946 and Samuel in 1957, both in Langley, British Columbia. It appears that his mother Frances died in Brighton, England in 1922. At the time of his death he was survived by his son Dale of Kenora, and his four daughters, Lottie (Alex) Lapworth of Kenora, Lila (Vin) Edwards of Emo, Ontario, Jennie (Wallace) Muttard of Prince Edward Island, and Ruby (Tom) Francis of Kenora. Also surviving were sixteen grandchildren and twenty-six great grandchildren. John and Nellie are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.
John is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.
by Judy Stockham
photos and information about John: courtesy of John’s family
obituary: Kenora Miner and News 18 April 1973