Family Historian: Jean Hoskins (1923-2003)

abt-1954-jean-fowlie-hoskins-regina-skFor decades, the Beattie/Fowlie Family Historian was Jean Hoskins, daughter to Minnie (Beattie) and Alex Fowlie. She spent decades seeking out information, travelling to Scotland to meet family still living there and digging through archives. Wonderfully for us, she also added fairly detailed notes/stories about individuals on the Family Trees she compiled (Beattie/Fowlie and Pratt), as she herself knew them and/or had them described to her by people who knew them. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Jean. Scouring her Beattie/Fowlie Family Tree for data, Ron has compiled the story of Jean’s own life below. We will follow up this entry over time with a series of posts sharing “Hoskins” notes about others of our ancestors.

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1981-aunt-gina-jean-hoskins-and-jeans-sister-freda-st-cathar
Heather, Linda, Jean Bestrop, Aunt Gina, Jean Hoskins and James in St. Catharines, ON, 1981

The prairie town of Stoughton, Saskatchewan, in the region southeast of Regina and just west of the family homesteads at Gapview, was the major centre of life for the Fowlies who settled there. In the month of December, 1923, Alexander Fowlie and his wife, Williamina, nee Beattie, arrived at the hospital there for the birth of their fifth child. That little girl turned out to be Jean Williamina, and her birth occurred on December 12th of that year.

The family was living on a rented farm nearby, and about three years later moved to a farm just out of Heward Saskatchewan. After what appears to have been a very brief stay, they moved to a farm near the town of Osage, Saskatchewan. They were there for six years until 1932. Two years later, tragedy struck the family, as the oldest sibling, Rob, was fatally injured in a farm accident. At the time of his death, in the midst of the prairie dust-bowl of the 1930’s, their father was away looking for land where the grass-hoppers would not chew up every green, growing thing. They got Rob to Regina where he finally succumbed.

The other siblings did very well for themselves. Bill became a Chartered Accountant, Freda taught school in Whitewood for 46 years and Emerson was eventually Director of Education for the province of Saskatchewan. Jean became a secretary in Regina, where she met and married Victor Hoskins in 1947. They moved to Ontario, living in Toronto and Don Mills until 1967, when Vic was transferred to St. Thomas, Ontario. She and Victor had three children through the 1950’s and then two grandchildren.

beattiedaughters
Four daughters of four Beattie sisters (the sisters identified here by their married names) L to R: Jean Hoskins daughter of Williamina (Minnie) Fowlie, Edna Roy daughter of Annie Pringle, Jean Bestrop daughter of Jean Johnson, and Georgina Gill daughter of Jessie Watson [Melvilles Mother]
Jean had actually started working on the Family Trees in 1930 or so, while they were still in Osage. In those days, she was often teased about her “many relatives,” and when she asked her mother if she did have a lot of relatives, her mother counted and Jean was told there were 86. She was a part of the Fowlie Tree, obviously, but through her mother she was also part of the Beattie Tree, her mother being a sister of Melville’s mother, Jessie (Beattie) Watson. Thus, the families were intermarried all along the line and Jean was a cousin of our mother on the Fowlie side and a cousin of our father on the Watson (Beattie) side.

Two intriguing quotes from Jean’s notes: a) “Grace and Mel are both my 1st cousins and Grace is also my 3rd cousin, so we are really related to each other.” and b) “Cecilia Ellen Ronald married my mother’s brother, so was my aunt. Grace Victoria Louise Ronald married my father’s brother so was my aunt, their offspring are my 1st and 3rd cousins.”

1981-jean-fowlie-hoskins-st-catharines-on
Jean [Fowlie] Hoskins, 1981
Jean seems to have made a number of trips to Scotland, where she searched out relatives of the various families in the Family Trees she was preparing, gathering information to be included. Even though some of the people involved would show up in more than one of the “trees,” the number of people included would by now be in the many hundreds, if not thousands.

Jean continued to work on the Family Trees (note the plural), and seems to have begun typing them up prior to 1988, when her first “edition” was printed.  Her experience as a secretary stood her in good stead for this time-consuming labour.  She kept at it until 1991, when, at the end of her work up until 1988, she signed off with “That is the end . . .”

Jean died on December 12, 2003 in hospital in London, Ontario and is buried, beside her husband Victor, the Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Thomas, Ontario.

In 2002 and again in 2004 Jean’s Beattie/Fowlie Family Tree was updated by Dawn Sikula, great granddaughter of George and Mary (Riddock) Beattie through David Beattie.

Digital Camera

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