Martha senior married Alexander Stevenson who was a tailors cutter in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Her husband died in 1901 when he was only 40 and left 144 pounds from an insurance policy
(which in todays money would be worth 13,000 pounds).
This would have gone a long way to help a widow with 3 children in those days and some of it was probably given to
Peter to start his new life in Canada.
He left Scotland shortly after his father died. That's all I know, until the newspaper article takes over.
Martha senior, as we know, never heard from Peter again, and in 1913 she emigrated to Canada
with her daughter Martha.
The 1911 census shows her living at the same address with Martha junior, and has taken in two school teachers as boarders.
I still haven't been able to establish why they chose Thunder Bay, or emigrate when they did as Martha senior
was 54 years old by then.
Maybe they had relatives in Thunder Bay, maybe somehow they'd heard Peter was there? I don't know, but I wish I did.
Information Courtesy of Marie Sturgeon
Alexander Stevenson died 1901 & Martha Thompson died Oct 17, 1940 aged 82
.....Martha Stevenson died 1965 Vancouver, BC & R. Frank Van Norman Sr. died Oct 1987 aged 93 in Vancouver , BC
..........Frank Van Norman Jr. died 1953 & Norma
..........Viva Van Norman & William Nesbit
..........Richard Van Norman
.....Peter Thompson Stevenson died Mar 23, 1919 aged 30.
- 1920 Henderson Directory Martha Stevenson (widow of Alexander) was living at 208 Bethune St
- 1933 Henderson Directory gives 330 Brock St. E. as the residence of Frank Van Norman & Richard Van Norman
- 1953 Henderson Directory gives 602 Kingsway St as the residence of Frank G. & Norma Van Norman.
- Richard F. Van Norman is living at 320 Brock St. E.
- Both Frank & Richard are employed by the C.N.R.
- 1967 Henderson Directory lists Wm Nisbet (Viva) living 357 Mary St. E.
- 1974 Henderson Directory lists Wm Nisbet (Viva) living 357 Mary St. E.
Port Arthur News Chronicle - Wednesday Evening March 26, 1919, p1
FORT WILLIAM WOMAN WINS RACE WITH DEATH, FINDS SON AFTER SIXTEEN YEARS.
For sixteen years, Mrs. Martha Thompson Stevenson, of Fort William, searched for her son, who left home in Edinburgh, Scotland at the age of fourteen years to make a home in the New Country, and found him in Pueblo, Colorado, one day before his death. Mrs. Stevenson followed her son to Canada two years later only to find that he had entered Peter Thompson Stevenson, in the last stages of Tuberculosis, was walking the streets, his face drawn and pallid, his fever 104, homeless, unknown, a stranger in a strange land. His appearance attracted the attention of Miss Burns, a Red Cross nurse, Miss Burns arranged for his removal to the emergency hospital and communicated with the railroad Y.M.C.A. Mr. David Graham, assistant secretary of that institution, called at the hospital, and Mr. Stevenson told him of the long search for his mother. He told a story of travel, of hardship, of nights spent in the open country during snowstorms and blizzards where he contracted the "white plague." The last information he had was that his mother was at "330 Brock Street, some place in Canada."
Mother Located in Fort William
From that bit of a clue, Mr. Graham circularized the Y.M.C.A. organizations in Canada, an in almost incredible time, a wire was received stating that the boy's mother was in Fort William, but she wanted to know that the boy in Pueblo was her son. A quick investigation followed. The result was wired to Fort William, received there at 3:30 p.m. and the mother, accompanied by her daughter, Mrs. Frank Van Norman, left that night via the Canadian National Railway, and at noon Saturday was at the bedside of her dying boy, whose life was hanging by a mere thread. He recognized his mother immediately, and she was permitted to minister to her son during his last hours. He died at 5 o'clock Sunday morning. The Pueblo "Chieftan" says: "In this human work, Miss Burns of the Red Cross, Miss Loop, of the City Y.M.C.A., and Mr. Graham of the R.R.Y.M.C.A. played a part. When first discovered at the emergency hospital, they secured his transfer to St. Mary's. And the Red Cross never ceased to minister to young Stevenson's needs."
"That's My Mother"
The Rocky Mountain News (Denver) tells of the meeting of mother and son. "That's my mother, I know her." These words were feeble, though joyous words of Peter Stevenson as he lay on a bed in a ward at St. Mary's hospital Saturday, almost at his life-journey's end. Aghast and dazed by the shock and by doubt stood Mrs. Martha Thompson Stevenson, and gazed into the pain-distorted face of a man 30 years instead of a bouyant boy of 14. It had been sixteen years since she had last looked into his face in Scotland."
Mother and Son
The Star-Journal (Pueblo) in describing the meeting said: "When the little mother stepped into the hospital ward yesterday afternoon where her son was in a dying condition, he lifted himself on his pillow and gasped "Mother!" The mother looked at the emaciated form of the man, who was a mere boy when she last saw him, and refused to believe that he was the lad for whom she had been searching for almost two decades. Her daughter, who accompanied her from Fort William, recognized her brother and convinced her mother that the long search was ended, although she said: "I knew that it was he, but I could not see how my brother could be such a stranger."
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