JJohn Waldie had two wives and thirteen children: all were brought back to Burlington where they were buried.

Who Knew 100x100 2015By Mark Gillies

March 9, 2015


Part three of a four part feature.

Waldie John  & Mary Waldie with their children part 3

This picture of the 13 Waldie children, Agnes, Marion, James, John, Lillian, Ida, Ernest, Frederick, Robert, Walter, Jessica, Charles and Mary was photographed around 1886 or 1887, after their mother had died in 1884. On the top left is John Waldie, the father, at about 52 years of age; and below John, is the children’s mother Mary Thompson Waldie at about 40 years of age.

One of Canada’s greatest business leaders at the turn of the 20th century was John Waldie; a man with humble beginnings and amassed unbelievable wealth, and became one of Canada’s most powerful lumber barons was also a true philanthropist, a refined gentleman, and a man who was passionate about calling Burlington, his home.

John Waldie married twice. His first wife was Mary Ann Thompson. Mary was born in 1841, but died at the age of 43 in January 1884, just three weeks after giving birth to her 13th child Mollie. John’s second wife was Sarah Ann Jarvis from Milton, a young lady of 29, who married the 53 year old widower in December 1885. Sarah Ann, at the age of 61, suffered a stroke and died June 6, 1918.

Waldie - Sarah Ann Jarvis 3

Sarah Ann Jarvis was a remarkable young lady. At 29 years of age, she entered into marriage with John Waldie who was 52 years of age; and then Sarah became a stepmother to John’s 13 children.

John Waldie had 13 children, and their lives continued on with much diversity after John Waldie’s death in 1907. Some children had tragic endings, while some had successful careers, some married into wealthy families, while others played and lived the life of the rich and famous.

From eldest to youngest, the first born was in 1862, and the last born was in 1884; their names are in chronological order; Agnes, Marion, James, John, Lillian, Ida, Ernest, Frederick, Robert, Walter, Jessica, Charles and Mary.

Agnes Waldie was born in 1862. On June 22, 1882, Agnes married into the affluent Marlatt family of Oakville. Her husband was Cecil Gustavus Marlatt, a dashing young man, a yachting enthusiast, an industrialist, and one of Oakville’s favourite sons. The Marlatt family owned the local tannery which at the time was the largest employer with over 200 employees.

The couple had two children. Roy Waldie Marlatt died in 1885 from cholera, at the age of 5 months. Their second son Kenneth Dean Marlatt was born in 1888 and passed away in 1942. One month after Kenneth’s birth in November, Agnes died on December 22, 1888 from spinal meningitis.

Gillies - Agnes Waldie

Agnes Waldie (L) married into one of Oakville’s wealthiest families. In 1882 Agnes married Cecil Gustavus Marlatt. It was Agnes who laid the cornerstone for the new Knox Presbyterian Church in Oakville (C), a building mainly financed by the Marlatt family.

Agnes and Cecil were members of Knox Presbyterian Church located on Lakeshore Road in downtown Oakville. It was Agnes who laid the cornerstone for the church in 1884. The Marlatt family financed the construction of Knox Presbyterian Church.

Gillies Marion Waldie Combo 1 & 2

Marion never married, preferring a life of world travel and high class living.

Marion Waldie was born in 1864 in Wellington Square. Marion, the second eldest daughter never married. Preferring the single life, Marion lived most of her affluent life travelling around the world. On Aug 29, 1949 Marion passed away at the age of 85, in Toronto.

Gillies -  John Edward Waldie

John Edward Waldie’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 26 when he drowned in a canoeing accident on the French River.

James William Waldie was the eldest son. William, as he was known, was born in 1867, at their home in Wellington Square. William followed in his father’s footsteps and became involved in the lumber business.

Gillies - James William Waldie

William Waldie was the first son to follow in his father’s footsteps. William moved his own family to Castlegar, British Columbia, and began the west coast operation of the family’s massive lumber business.

The Waldie’s expanded their business across Canada, and William went to Castlegar, British Columbia, and set up the William Waldie & Sons Lumber Company. This west coast business was highly successful and operated until 1961.

John Edward Waldie was born in 1868 in Wellington Square. John also followed his father and older brother into the lumber business, but in 1894, the family was devastated at the news of the sudden death of John Edward Waldie. At the age of 26, John drowned in a canoeing accident on the French River.

Gillies - Eliza Lillian Waldie

Lillie, like her older sister Marion, never married. Lillie travelled the world and lived the life of luxury. At her Toronto home, she suffered a heart attack and died when she was only 68 years old

.Eliza Lillian Waldie was born in 1870 in Wellington Square. Lillian, just like her older sister, never married. She too, preferred to travel around the world, living the life of the rich and famous. Two days after Christmas in 1938, Lillian suffered a heart attack at the age of 68, and died in her Toronto home.

Gillies - Ida Waldie

Fanny married Dr. Charles Temple. The wealthy Temple family were prominent surgeons in Toronto.

Ida Frances Waldie was born in 1871 in Wellington Square. Ida was known as Fanny. In 1895, Fanny married Dr. Charles Algernon Deveser Temple, a surgeon. The Temple family were prominent Toronto doctors. In February of 1940, Ida Waldie Temple at the age of 69, died.

Ernest Tasker Waldie was born in 1873. Ernest had a difficult life. Apparently, he was dropped on his head as a baby, and suffered his entire life with mental disorders. Ernest lived most of his life at the “Orillia Asylum for Idiots”, tnhat was the original name of the institution. This same institution is now involved in a $2 billion dollar class action lawsuit with the Province of Ontario for alleged mistreatment of patients, which is scheduled for court in September 2015.

Gillies - Ernest Tasker Waldie

Ernest Waldie suffered from medical conditions and spent most of his life at an institution once called the “Orillia Asylum for Idiots”, now called the Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia.

Heading up the class action, are two former residents from the psychiatric facility, who told how they had been beaten, sexually abused, held upside down in ice-cold water and medicated against their will at the Huronia Regional Centre (Orillia Asylum for Idiots). Ernest at 58, died from pneumonia and heart failure in 1931 while he was a patient at this same institution. There was a contributory cause of Ernest’s death listed on the Death Certificate. It was recorded as “Idiocy”.

Frederick Norval Waldie was the fourth eldest son of John Waldie. Fred was born in Burlington in 1875. After his father’s death in 1907, Fred became president of the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company. At the age of 52, Fred died from heart disease in Shanty Bay, Ontario.

Gillies - Robert Stanley Waldie

Robert pursued law as a career and did not go into the lumber business. Robert Waldie became the President of the Imperial Bank of Canada, and also held the position of Vice-President with the Canada Bread Company.

The fifth son was Robert Stanley Waldie, who was born in Burlington in 1877. Robert did not follow in his father’s footsteps and venture into the lumber business. Robert chose law as a profession. As a lawyer, Robert was successful in the business world, and rose to become the president of the Imperial Bank of Canada. The Imperial Bank merged with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1961; the largest merger of two chartered banks in Canadian history. Robert Waldie was also the vice-president of the Canada Bread Company. Robert Stanley Waldie died in 1966.

Gillies - Walter Scott Waldie

Walter left the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company to join the military at the beginning of World War 1. While overseas, Walter died from influenza in 1919. His father-in-law was Sir Albert Edward Kemp (L), the Minister of Militia and Defence for Canada, in Sir Robert Borden’s Government

Walter Scott Waldie was born in 1879 in Burlington. Walter like most of his brothers went into the lumber business. When World War 1 broke out, Walter enlisted into the military and went overseas. In 1919, while still in the service and located in Wales, Walter died from influenza on February 2, 1919. He left behind his wife Alice and 3 young children John, Alice and Ian. Mrs. Walter Waldie was the daughter of Sir Albert Edward Kemp. During World War 1, Sir Albert was the Minister of Militia and Defence, and the Minister of the Overseas Military Forces for Canada.

Jessica Waldie was the eleventh child born to Burlington’s Waldie family in 1880. Jessie had more of an ordinary married life, and one not so much wrapped around all of the wealth that the Waldie family enjoyed. In 1905 Jessie married Godfrey Edward Spragge. The Spragge family had four children, John, Edward, Elizabeth and Peter. John Godfrey Spragge, the eldest son born in 1907 chose a military career and rose in rank to become a Brigadier-General in World War II.

Gillies Charles Percival Waldie

Percy was the youngest son of John and Mary Waldie. He joined the war effort and died in battle, with the rank of Lieutenant, at Hulloch Village, Loos, France. Percy was just 33 years old.

Charles Percival Waldie was John Waldie’s youngest son. Percy was born in 1882. When World War 1 came along, young Percy enlisted. The Great War was to claim his life, and on September 26, 1915 at the battle of Loos near Hulloch Village, France; 2nd Lieutenant Waldie was killed in action.

Gillies - Waldie Family Plot in Greenwood Cemetery

John Waldie and his family all returned home to Burlington and are buried in the family plot in historic Greenwood Cemetery.

The youngest child of John Waldie was Mary Waldie, and the family called her Mollie. Mollie was born in Burlington in 1884. Mollie enjoyed a privileged life. At the age of 21 in 1905, young Mollie married Robert Cecil Hamilton Cassels. The Cassels family were prominent lawyers in Toronto. Today, Cassels, Brock and Blackwell is one of the largest law firms in Canada, and has been established for over 125 years. Mollie at the age of 75, passed away June 16, 1959.

My next article, Part 4 of a 4 Part series, will be what the City of Burlington has done to recognize this great Canadian philanthropist, a one of a kind business leader, who was a distinguished local and federal politician, and was the “Father of Burlington”, plus the “Father of the Burlington Public Library”.

Mark Gillies is a lifelong resident of Burlington, who grew up in Aldershot and developed as a local historian, researcher, master genealogist and writer who has a passionate interest and extensive knowledge of the many early pioneer families.
Mark will write a regular column about colourful local history introducing Burlingtonians to the people that made this city what it is today.



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