I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me at familyphotoreunion [ at ] yahoo [ dot ] com. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

By Dogsled in Atlin, BC: William Hathorn, 1927

This Real Photo Postcard was found in the same antique shop as the postcard photo of Carrie D'Orsey which I blogged about in yesterday's post, Carrie D'Orsey, Lecturer and Vocal Coach, 1842-1913, England.

On the Reverse:
"Atlin, BC, 10 Sept 27"
Accept my hearty congrats on yr Thoughtful Liner (Lines?)!  All going well here but no particular news. I will probably stay here until end of next month.  Salaam to all!  Yrs, W.H."

The card is addressed to:  C.E. Tildesley, Esq., 634 Michigan Street, Victoria BC."  Someone has written "Uncle Bill Hathorn" across the top of the message.

Going back to the Carrie D'Orsey post, you will notice that Carrie was the sister of Rev. Lambert Murray D'Orsey.  I looked into the life of the Reverend a little bit, and discovered that he married Annette Grace Hathorn in 1883.  The couple had three children:  Donald, b. 1892; Margaret, b. 1886; and Gertrude, b. 1884.

Ah, you've noticed the Hathorn surname, too.  Well, after a little more digging in the UK censuses, I learned that Annette Hathorn's brother was William Crichton Stuart Hathorn, born 26 June 1849, St. Giles, Bloomsbury, Middlesex, England.  Their parents were Admiral George Hathorn and Mary Isabella McDouall.  William C. S. Hathorn was a Commander in the British Royal Navy.

I believe William Crichton Stuart Hathorn is the sender, "W.H" of this postcard.  Atlin, BC, a small town in the northernmost part of the province, experienced a Gold Rush in 1898.  Today it only has about 500 residents, but back at the height of the Gold Rush, the population surged to 10,000.  And it seems that Commander Hathorn spent a good deal of time in Atlin around this time.  I found him in the 1901 Canadian Census, age 52, his occupation is listed as "miner."  He shares a place with his mining partners Cyrus B. Simmons and Charles E. Gilmore in Atlin.  The census tells us that William C. S. Hathorn was born the 26th of June 1849 and that he immigrated in 1897.  I also discovered that he had at least six claims in the Atlin area, and that he was active in the formation of a miner's association in the district.  He served as Secretary for the group, as well as vice-president.

Atlin Claim, Aug. 30, 1902

William Hathorn also was a lay reader for St. Martin's Church of England in Atlin, and conducted funeral services.  He presided over the funeral of E. Ridd in December of 1906, which, according to the obituary in the Atlin Claim newspaper, was "one of the largest funerals held in the district."

Hathorn also appears in the 1921 and 1922 Wrigley's BC Directory for the town of Atlin.

I would love to locate a copy of Atlin: the story of British Columbia's Last Gold Rush by Christine Frances Dickinson and Diane Solie Smith or Peter Steele's Atlin's Gold, to see if there are any references to Bill Hathorn.  Unfortunately, my library system doesn't have copies of either.

The recipient of this postcard, C. E. Tildesley, is probably Cyrus Ellerton Tildesley who married Margaret Annette D'Orsey (b. 1886) in 1912.  Margaret was the daughter of the Reverend and Mary Anne D'Orsey.

William C. S. Hathorn returned to England at some point prior to 1932.  He died in Folkestone, Kent, on the 27th of April 1932.

UPDATE May 23, 2012:  This postcard has been reunited with a Hathorn researcher in England.  So glad it's going back to a family member,


  1. What a brilliant find, especially alongside the other postcard, and your research is spot on!

  2. Your research is accurate according to my understanding of our family tree. My grandfather was C. Ellerton Tildesley who was a civil engineer and was also a land surveyor for the BC government. He also worked in Uganda as well as other parts of Africa. He died in 1956. My grandmother who knew the whole ancestry by heart going back for several hundred years also lived in Victoria, BC and died in 1978 at 92 years of age.

    David Tildesley