Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAbout 1868
Place of BirthOntario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinJane (Jennie) Joe, wife, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingTrapper
Service Details
Regimental Number820771
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion141st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 30, 1916
Age at EnlistmentAbout 48
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 6, 1944
Age at DeathAbout 76
Buried AtWauzhushk Onigum (Rat Portage) First Nation Reserve, near Kenora, Ontario

Joe, Thomas

Private Thomas Joe enlisted in Kenora, Ontario on 30 May 1916, signing up with the 141st (Bull Moose) Battalion. The battalion had been organized in December 1915 and it was being recruited in the District of Rainy River. Thomas was from Rat Portage Reserve, on the outskirts of Kenora, and a number of other First Nations volunteers joined the same unit. On his attestation Thomas gave his birth date as 15 September and his age as 37, making his year of birth 1878, but based on other records he was most likely born around 1868. His occupation was trapper and next of kin was his wife Jennie Joe. He said his parents were both deceased and he had one child, James Joe.

In August 1916 the Kenora recruits were sent to Port Arthur to join the rest of the battalion. A huge crowd gathered at the train station that day to see the men off. The battalion trained in Port Arthur over the winter and early spring. In December Thomas was in the hospital for about a week, suffering from bronchitis. After recovering he trained with his unit for another three months. In March a medical board recommended that he be discharged from service due to being medically unfit (overage). The report recorded Joe’s apparent age as about 50. He was discharged on 30 March and provided with transportation to Kenora.

When the 1921 census was taken Thomas was living on Rat Portage Reserve, known now as Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation. He was a trapper, 52 years old and his wife Janey Dixon was 42 years old. They were both Ojibway and born in Ontario. The household included a lodger, Robert Taylor, age 19, who was also a trapper.

Thomas passed away on the reserve on 6 May 1944, at age 75 or 76. His death registration recorded his wife as Jane Dixon, his father as Kah Kee Kay Kah Bow and his mother as Pee Tan Some Mee. He was buried in the reserve cemetery on 7 May.

Thomas is commemorated on the Aboriginal Veterans Tribute Honour List.

By Becky Johnson

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