|Date of Birth||January 16, 1874|
|Place of Birth||Auchterless, Aberdeenshire|
|Next of Kin||wife, Sarah Ann Stuart, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||June 12, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||42|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||May 18, 1955|
|Age at Death||81|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
The son of Jessie Garden, Alexander Garden was born on 16 January 1874 in Auchterless, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. At the time of his birth Jessie, also born in Auchterless, was working as a domestic servant. The next year Jessie married Robert Stewart, farm servant, of nearby Kennethmont and by the 1881 Scotland census Alexander had assumed the surname of Stewart. Jessie and Robert went on to have a number of children, Helen Jane, Maggie, Jessie Ann, Isabella, Elizabeth, George Burnet, and Annie. By the 1891 census Alexander was working as a farm servant at Yonderton of Auchlyne, Clatt.
On 1 February 1896 in Port Erroll, Cruden Bay in Aberdeenshire, Alexander married Sarah Ann Davidson. Their first born child, Sarah was the daughter of James and Ann (née Lawson) Davidson of Cruden. James’ occupation was often listed as sailor although in later years he became a corn agent. At the time of the marriage Alexander was working as a railway labourer in Cushie and Sarah as a domestic servant in Port Erroll. By the end of the year Alexander and Sarah had given birth to a daughter, Maggie Helen.
Alexander was found on the passenger list of the Sardinian that arrived in Montreal, Quebec in early May of 1904. Sarah and Maggie arrived in Montreal that November aboard the Sicilian, on their way to Rat Portage, Ontario (later renamed Kenora) to join Alexander. The 1911 Canada census listed the family as living on Railway Street, with Alexander working as a night watchman. They also took in four lodgers.
With occupation given as labourer, his wife Sarah as next of kin, and year of birth as 1875, Alexander signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 12 June 1916. A Kenora newspaper article of June 14th that noted his enlistment stated that he was a farmer from nearby Jaffray Township. Organized in December of 1915 with recruitment throughout the Rainy River District, the 141st Battalion was mobilized at Fort Frances in northwestern Ontario. In early August of 1916 a large crowd gathered at the Kenora Railway station as a number of Kenora and Keewatin men, including Alexander, left for the battalion’s headquarters in Port Arthur. After training for some months, the following April the unit left for the east to begin their journey to the front. With the 141st Battalion, Private Alexander Stuart embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 29 April 1917.
Once in England Alexander was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion at Shorncliffe until later in June when he was struck off strength to the 44th Battalion. Once in France he spent time with the 4th Entrenching Battalion before joining the 44th in the field in early September.
By December of 1917 Alexander was very ill, suffering from albuminuria/nephritis (kidney dysfunction). It was also noted that he had impaired vision, strabismus of the left eye (eyes not aligned). After spending close to two weeks at the No 13 Field Ambulance, No 23 Casualty Clearing Station, and No 26 General Hospital in Etaples, Alexander was invalided to the Lord Derby War Hospital in Warrington in mid December and then on to the King’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital Bushy Park. Discharged in March of 1918, Alexander was medically classified as category C and embarked for Canada on 23 May 1918. His official discharge, as medically unfit, was the 19th of September in Winnipeg.
Once back in Kenora tragedy soon befell the family as their daughter Maggie died of influenza just months later in early December.
Over his lifetime in Canada, Alexander farmed in the area, worked at the Sultana Gold Mine on Lake of the Woods as pumpman and hoister, for the town of Kenora as a rock driller, for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a fireman, was caretaker of the Clougher Block, and had a contract with the Post Office for mail delivery. He was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion and the Presbyterian Church.
Predeceased by his wife Sarah in January of 1954, Alexander died on 18 May 1955 in Kenora following a lengthy illness. Along with his daughter Maggie and wife Sarah he is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. In existence still today is the Stuart Trust Fund, a bequest made by Alexander to the Kenora-Patricia Child and Family Services. Under the provision of the trust agreement the investment income from the fund is utilized each year to provide educational opportunities for children who are in care of the Agency.
Alexander’s brother George Stewart served during the war with the 1st Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders and died of his wounds on 25 August 1914.
by Judy Stockham
Research notes: On Scotland marriage and census records, passenger lists to Canada, and Canadian censuses, the surname was spelled Stewart. On Alexander’s service record, Kenora newspaper articles and obituaries, and the family gravemarker the surname was spelled Stuart.