THE TRAGIC TALE OF TILLY AND TOM – AN ASHTON LEGACY – Rev. Jim Kirkpatrick

Standard

Artist:
Alexander Young Jackson
 (Canadian, 1882–1974)
Title:
Ashton, Ontario
 , 1939
Medium:
oil on board
Size:
26.7 x 34.3 cm. (10.5 x 13.5 in.)

THE TRAGIC TALE OF TILLY AND TOM – AN ASHTON LEGACY

(Submitted by Rev. Jim Kirkpatrick) 

From the Goulburn Historical Society 2013-

Page 9 – GTHS Newsletter – Issue #3 – 2013

Our story begins on Saturday, 15 January, 1879 – just over a decade after Confederation – when Matilda Florence (Tilly) Garland and her twin brother, Albert Edward Garland, were born in Ashton to Andrew John Garland (1833-1903) and Jemima Hall (1839-1924). Tilly’s grandfather, Thomas Garland was one of the founding fathers when the first Christ Church, Ashton was built in 1845. The Garland farm was located on Concession 7, Lot 5, East ½ (now the southwest corner of Fallowfield Road and Dwyer Hill Road in Goulbourn Township. Tilly and Albert had 7 older siblings and 1 younger. The 1901 census shows Andrew Garland (67, general labourer, employed), Jemima (60, wife), Matilda Florence (22, daughter, dressmaker, working on own account) and Harold H (15, son), all living in Ashton.

Tilly married Tom (Thomas Miller) Savage (born 5 May 1877, son of John Savage and Ann Hand) on 10 February, 1904. Tom’s mother died one month after giving birth to twin boys, Thomas (originally registered as James) and John. The cause of death is listed as “Shock after Child Births”. In the 1881 census Tom is living with his grandparents, John and Elizabeth Savage in March Township (and still in 1891) while his brother John is living with his father in Cumberland Township. John married again to Sarah Ann Smith in 1882 and had 3 more children, remaining in Cumberland (1891, 1901, 1911 censuses). John and Sarah died in 1930 and 1929, respectively. Tom does not seem to be living in the area in the 1901 census.

Tom and Tilly were married in Ashton on 10 February, 1904. Their first son, Albert Oliver was born 4 months later on 1 June (the date of marriage was listed as 1903 in the birth register, to avoid embarrassment no doubt) so their married life was complicated right from the beginning. A female child was born 15 February 1907 but died 3 days later (listed as Miss Savage, congenital debility, not baptized, Private burial) and was buried in Christ Church Ashton Cemetery. In the 1911 census Tom, Matilda and Albert were living in Ashton village with Jemima Garland and Beatrice Eynouf (adopted, age 5 months – infant daughter of Tilly’s sister Julia who had married Charles Eynouf). Charles and Julia already had 9 children when Beatrice (1911 census) was born so when Julia became ill it was natural for the baby to be raised by Tom and Tilly for a while.

Things seemed to be going relatively well for a while. Their family grew to include 4 more children – Thomas Weldon (1911), John ‘Jack’ Edwin (1913), Florence Anna (1915), and James Harold (1919). Tom enlisted in 1917 but doesn’t appear to have gone overseas.

However – all this would come crashing down around Tom and Tilly in August 1920. In the space of 11 days they would bury their 4 youngest children – all from Scarlet Fever – Weldon on August 11, Anna on August 13, Jack on August 17, and baby Harold on August 22. Their bodies, wrapped in blankets, were passed through a window to limit the spread of the disease and quickly buried in Christ Church Cemetery, just down the road. It is impossible to imagine the effect that losing these children would have had on Tilly especially but also on Tom and Jemima. They now had only Albert Oliver “Ollie” still alive out of 6 children. If it wasn’t for bad luck Tom and Tilly would have no luck at all!

The next incident of interest is the pending arrival of another child in 1922. Francis Herbert ‘Herb’ Savage would be born on 1 September 1922 and would be the joy of Tilly’s life. However all was still not rosy for the Savage family. On 5 January 1922 Tom Savage and Herb Stanzel were working on the widening and paving of Highway 15 when they were both seriously injured when working with some dynamite. Both were taken to Dr. Worley’s office in Ashton to wait for an ambulance from Ottawa. The ambulance overturned in a snow bank on its way from Ottawa and it was not until the next day that the two victims were put aboard a freight train at Ashton Station and taken to hospital in Ottawa. Tom died the next day but Herb would survive and return home after a lengthy stay in hospital. Tilly would have been about 1 month pregnant at the time and neither she nor Tom may have been aware that another child was ‘on the way’

A few years later Jemima Garland died in December 1924 and in July 1925 Albert “Ollie” Savage married Florence Elsie Drummond (d/o Ed and Annie Drummond of Ashton Station) in Toronto. Ollie died in 1961 and Elsie married Wayne Daniels. Tilly was now truly a single parent at the age of 45 with a small child of 3 to raise on her own. It is no wonder that she held on to Herbie so tightly. She is said to have been very frightened as Herbie enlisted in the Navy in 1942. Her worst fears would be realized on the 20th September 1943, just 3 weeks after his 21st birthday, when Able Seaman Francis Herbert Savage died in action. The destroyer on which he was serving, the HMCS St. Croix, was sunk by a U-boat in the Bay of Biscay (off the coast of France and Spain) and was ‘lost at sea’. Some 82 of the ship’s complement of 120 officers and enlisted men were rescued only to be sunk again 2 days later with only 1 from the St. Croix rescued a second time. Herb’s only memorial is his name on Panel 27 of the Halifax Memorial. Tilly is remembered as walking up and down the street in Ashton holding a large portrait of Herbie and crying repeatedly “My poor Herbie”.

Tilly would continue to live in Ashton until her death at the age of 72 at the end of August, 1950 following a stroke. She is listed as Mrs. Matilda Florence Savage of Ashton, a former member of Christ Church, Ashton. The Savage family is buried in a row of unmarked graves in the cemetery in Ashton on the east side of the original church building. They were specially remembered at the Annual Cemetery Service in August 2013.

Snippets of Ashton-Blacksmiths — Foundry MacFarlane- Donna McFarlane

The Fleming House –Ashton — Seth Hamilton

Looking for Photos of ‘The Castle’ in Ashton

More Notations of Christ Church Ashton

Tarred and Feathered in Ashton

  1. Wind Storm in Ashton- Heath Ridge Farms 1976 
  2. Dust on the Wind –Ashton Social Notes 1887-1897 Names Names Names
  3. Another Lanark County “Murdoch Mystery” –Elfreda Drummond of Ashton
  4. When Trains Crash —Ashton Train Accident 1950
  5. Mrs Crigger’s House in Ashton?
  6. The Ashton Hotel– Questions Questions Flemmings and McFarlanes
  7. McFarlanes –Stewart’s Fire– and Other Things in Ashton
  8. Somewhere in Ashton-The Ashton Curmudgeon
  9. The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals
  10. Did Anyone Ever Have Fun in Ashton?
  11. Ashton 101
  12. Did Anyone Have Fun in Ashton? Part 2- The Fleming House 
  13. How to Catch a Pigeon in Ashton
  14. The Ashton Carleton Place Car Theft Ring
  15. Did Samuel Pittard of Ashton Murder His Wife?
  16. Good Old Lanark County Music–From the 70s to now
  17. The John Shore House
  18. Jenkins: Ashton’s log and mortar-chinked history meets modern times
  19. Did You Know the Ashton Anglican Church Dates Back to 1845?

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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