Stories from the Past: Hardships (Part 4)

First of all, congratulations to my cousin, Daniel Kelm, and his wife, Leah, for their marriage on October 25!

Records to do with the following installment of “Stories from the Past” can be viewed in previous blog posts, Journey to Canada and Finding Serafina Kelm. “Julius Junior” in the story is Gustav Kelm. We don’t know why there is a name discrepancy, but a possibility is that Gustav is a middle name.

Note: The following stories were written by a Kelm family member who was close to Julius and Martha. They were both interviewed and their stories retold revealing insights into their personal lives, marriages, births, and deaths. The stories were transcribed by Phyllis Kelm Reakes with permission to share from the original author.

Stories from the Past: Hardships (Part 4)

The journey by ship from Russia to Canada was full of many hardships. Julius and Serafina’s young son Julius Junior became ill on the ship coming over to Canada and he never fully recovered. Julius died of respiratory problems and he was buried in the pauper section of Brookside Cemetery. This was the area set aside for free graves for people that had no money to purchase a burial plot for the deceased. Serafina died in 1910 and was buried in the section just opposite of where Julius Junior was buried. It is believed to have been tuberculosis or because of a weak heart [note: the death record states “organic heart failure”].

When Serafina died, Julius had to board out his two children Bill and Olga. He had to work and had no one to care for them. He therefore placed them on a paid basis with some people while he went to work. He lived in the basement of his employer’s home, August Remple, at 808 Ballantyne Ave. The people who were boarding the children and the Remples, knew each other. Martha and Julius met at 808 Ballantyne as they were both living in different parts of the house. Soon, Martha’s sister Julia began to play matchmaker, as did the people caring for the children. They were not interested in looking after Bill and Olga and certainly did not do a very good job of caring for them. Martha for her part did not want to marry.

2 thoughts on “Stories from the Past: Hardships (Part 4)

  1. Teresa November 3, 2020 / 12:14 am

    Poor Martha…sounds like she was being tagged as a nursemaid for the children, not a love interest…nor does it seem like she had a choice! How sad for the family that Julius coudn’t afford a home with his children…


    • sarikak November 3, 2020 / 12:26 am

      The last part of the story that my aunt sent has more of that story. I wish I had met my great-grandmother!


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