My great-grandfather John Everett Fee was born to John and Henrietta (Salter) Fee on March 1, 1878 and baptized in the Wesley Congregation Church in Montreal that October:
John Everett, son of John Fee of Montreal, machinist, and Henrietta Salter, his wife, born on the first day of March eighteen hundred and seventy eight, was baptized on the fourteenth day of October in the same year, in presence of the parents by me, James Roy, minister
Witnesses John Fee
By 1880, the family – John (34), Henrietta (33), Mildred (6) and John (2) – had moved south of the border and was living in Plattsburgh, Clinton County, New York. After years of wondering why I couldn’t find the family in the 1881 Canadian census it was a bit of a surprise to recently discover them in New York in 1880. I still don’t know why they headed south, or why they came back to Canada.
A search through Lovell’s Montreal city directories suggests that the family left for the States around 1878 and returned to Canada around 1885/86. By the 1891 census, the family - including Henrietta (42) and John (44) and their children Mildred (16), John (13), William (10) and Ruth (6) – were back in Montreal. William and Ruth are shown as being born in the United States.
I have not yet found the family in the 1901 census, nor have I found them in the 1900 US Census. Just recently I found a record for a J Fee as a lodger and student in St. Antoine Ward in Montreal. However the record is not only incomplete, it is actually crossed out. The ages of the other lodgers/students are comparable to what John’s would be, but that is obviously not conclusive. It is intriguing, however!
The 1911 census shows John (33) still living at home (377 Grosvenor, Montreal) with his parents John (66) and Henrietta (65) and his siblings William (30), Ruth (26) and Mildred Newmark (36). Also at home are Mildred’s children, Basil (16), Henry (14) and Grace (8).
John was an avid cyclist and participated in many centuries. These entailed 100 miles of bike riding in one session. Given the bicycle technology of the day, that would have been quite the achievement. He was also an amateur boxer and avid camper.
John, who was a machinist like his father, doesn’t show up in the city directories until 1915. My family has a medallion from that year inscribed to him from the Montreal Technical School. I found some information at the McCord Museum that states that the school opened in 1911. That suggests to me that John Everett may have been a graduate of one of the early classes.
He received a patent for a hydraulic motor on October 29, 1912. His workshop was at 107 rue de la Gauchetiere Ouest and then at 157 rue de la Gauchetiere Ouest. When I was in Montreal some years ago I discovered the site of the earlier workshop is now a large, rather uninspirational, government building. The buildings across the street are older and gave me a sense of what the area must have looked like when he worked there in the early to mid part of the century. I didn’t realize until a few days ago that he had later moved locations.
John married Margaret Johnson on June 7, 1913:
John Everett Fee, bachelor, of the city of Montreal, mechanical engineer, and Margaret Johnson, spinster, daughter of John Johnson of Athelstan Province of Quebec and Alice Jane Burton, his wife, both parties being of the age of majority and no impediments being here alleged, were married by authority of licence on the seventh day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirteen, by me, Harlow Goddard, Rector of Huntington
This marriage was solemnized between us
In the presence of:
I have John and Margaret’s original marriage contract and marriage certificate in my possession. Along with those are copies of their birth certificates.
They had one daughter, born in 1915.
John died on May 8, 1967.
John Fee and Margaret Johnson, 1911