Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 28, 1896
Place of BirthHuntsville, Muskoka District, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs H Farnsworth, mother, Huntsville, Ontario
Trade / CallingMiller
Service Details
Regimental Number2293319
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Cavalry Brigade, Machine Gun Squadron
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Machine Gun Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentLSH (RC)
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 10, 1917
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 1, 1974
Age at Death77

Farnsworth, Emerson

Emerson Farnsworth was born on 28 December 1896 in the Township of Brunel, Muskoka, Ontario. Brunel has since amalgamated with Huntsville. His father Henry Farnsworth was from the West Zorra area of Oxford, Ontario while his mother Ellen Young was baptized in the Hounslow district of London, England. Henry and Ellen married on 27 September 1879 in Brunel where the family was to farm. Emerson was the youngest child, having older siblings Katie Marilla (1880-1979), Henry (1884-1954), William (1887-1967), Edwin (1889-1910), and Hannah Mabel (1890-1977). At some point after the 1911 census Emerson moved to northwestern Ontario, finding work at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in Keewatin, a small town about 5 kilometres from Kenora.

Emerson signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) on 10 February 1917. His place of birth was given as Huntsville, his occupation as miller, and his mother Ellen in Huntsville as next of kin. Just 7 days later, on 17 February 1917, in Winnipeg, Emerson married Ruby Rose Cossey. Born in 1895 in Greater Yarmouth, Norfolk in England, Ruby was the daughter of Herbert and Rose Ann (née Lake) Cossey. Along with her parents and siblings, Ruby had immigrated to Canada in 1903, arriving in Montreal aboard the SS Bavarian on June 6th. The family lived for a couple of years in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan before moving to Keewatin around 1905. Herbert was a boat builder by trade.

As a Private with the 6th draft of Lord Strathcona’s Horse, Emerson arrived in England aboard the SS Missanabie on 7 April 1917. In June he was posted to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot at Crowborough and then was on command to Marsfield in mid July. Emerson was out of service from early October until mid December of 1917. In late December he was posted to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron, formed from machine gun sections of Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona Horse and Fort Garry Horse, joining the unit in the field on 20 January 1918. Emerson was granted a fourteen day leave in late December of 1918, rejoining the unit on 15 January 1919. By mid April Emerson was back in England and embarked from Liverpool for Canada on May 21st. He was discharged from service on June 2nd in Winnipeg.

Emerson and Ruby returned to the Brunel area in the Muskoka after the war. The couple gave birth to three children, sons Donald and Lorne, and daughter Dorothy. Emerson operated a general farming operation up until the 1930’s before switching to the dairy field. He was active with the Ontario Milk Producers League and the Ontario Milk Marketing Board. Emerson served on he Chaffey Council for ten years, two of them as Reeve.

Emerson died on 1 April 1974 as reported in the Huntsville Forester newspaper on April 11th. He was predeceased by his brother Edwin in 1910, his mother Ellen in 1936 and his father in 1946, brother William in 1967, all interred in the Locks Cemetery on Brunel Road, and his brother Henry in 1954 who is interred in the Hutcheson Cemetery in Huntsville. Emerson was also predeceased by his first wife Ruby who died on 30 August 1968. At some point after her death Emerson married Mary Alice (née Allibon) Young, widow of George Young. At the time of Emerson’s death he was survived by Mary Alice who later died in 1990, and his children Lorne, Don, and Dorothy Bohonus, the latter of Winnipeg. He was also survived by his sister Katie Holmes of Kenora and Mabel Roberts. According to grandson Ken Farnsworth of Huntsville, both Ruby and Emerson were cremated and their ashes scattered on Red Pine Lake in the Halliburton Highlands where they had owned a cottage.

The town of Keewatin held a demonstration in August of 1919, honouring all who had served during the war, presenting badges and medals to the veterans and the families of the fallen. Emerson’s name was included on the list published in the Kenora Miner and News. He is commemorated for his service on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour, the For King and Country Municipality of Keewatin plaque, and on the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour.

by Judy Stockham

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