Monday, October 20, 2008

My Great Grandfather

I'm currently researching the engineering practices -- and literature -- of the early 20th century. Perusing the stacks of my local library I came across a dusty volume and pulled it down. It was an old annual yearbook from the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. I flipped it open to the directory section and a place name caught my eye: Sault Ste. Marie. My whole family is from the Soo. I then noted the name -- WJ Fuller. He was my great grandfather.

So now I'm on a bit of a quest to track down some of his (and mine) history. I'm sure that my dad has all sorts of interesting bits from my grandmother's files, but I've got nothing. But starting with the census records, here's what I've got:

  • Born 14 July 1877 in Leamington Ontario. His father was Thomas Fuller and his mother was Charlotte Jackson.
  • Trained as a civil engineer, maybe at U of T.
  • Married Nellie Saylor (b. 26 July 1882 in Bloomfield, Price Edward County) in 1906.
  • Died October 7 1931 in Fort William Ontario, seemingly tragically in some sort of routine operation.

We'll see where this goes... I suspect that I'll be spending some time in the library in the next few days checking out fiche. Sault Star: AN5.S323S83. Fort William Daily Times Journal: AN5.F6T574.

Some interesting articles that I should really uncover as part of my research on Canadian Engineers. They come from -- natch -- Canadian journals:

Morris, Glenn A. 1986. Engineering education in Canada--the early years. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering. 13(10:: 25-32.

Ostrander, J.R. and D.C. Oliver (1987). Construction of the Broadway Bridge at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 1932. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering. 14(4): 429-438.

Brooks, Randall C. and William J. Daniels (1993). Surveying instrument makers of Central Canada. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering. 26(6): 1037-1046.

Chanson, H. (1995). History of steeped channels and spillways: a rediscovery of the 'wheel'. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering. 22(2): 247-259.

Martin-Nielsen, J. (2007). The very model of a modern engineer: Education and status at the Engineering Institute of Canada, 1925-1932. Scientia Canadensis. 30.

Curtis, Bruce. (2006). Textual economies and the presentation of statistical material: Charts, tables, and texts in 19th century public eduction. Scientia Canadensis. 29.

White, Richard. (2003). The engineer's engineer: John Kennedy and the Port of Montreal. Scientia Canadensis. 27.

Hull, James P. (2001). Raising standards: Public Works and industrial practices in interwar Ontario. Scientia Canadensis. 25

White, RIchard. (2000). Canadian civil engineers pre-1859: Professionals before professioanlization. Scientia Canadensis. 24

NOTE: White also wrote the books "Gentelemen engineers" and "The Skule story."

There may be some other bits of interest. From Google Books:
  • There might be something on pg.92 of the ASME Engineering Index for 1910.
  • There seem to be some notes in the Sessional Papers of Canada Parliament, 1917, v.3 V-Z. They may be listed as the JOurnals of the Legislative Assembly of the Provice of Canada.
  • There might also be something in "The Gardener's Chroncile: A weekly Illustrated Jouran of Horticulture..." from 1901 (series 3, v. 29). My father told me that W.J. Fuller was apparently a great lover of roses.
  • And something else in "The Garden: An Illustrated Weekly JOurnal of Gardening in All Its Branches" (v.68) from 2005.
  • Something from the Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 1911, v.184, pt.2. (p. 86)
  • Something from Lightling Journal, v.3 (1915) that apparently pertains a new lamp design. The reference is actually to an article in Gas Ind. (Industry?) from September 1915, p.543.
  • Some more salary information in "Report of the Auditor General for the Year Ended March 31..." Published in 1923.
  • Something -- an agricultural prize? -- from the Sessional Papers of the Province of Ontario (1910, v.9).
  • There might be something in "Oil leasing lands: hearings before the committee on the public lands, house of reps, 65th congress, 2nd session, on HR 3233" (1918). The reference may be on p.389. My dad told me that my Grandmother had discussed W.J.'s tendency to take flyers on various oil properties!
  • Maybe something in the Transactions of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, v.22 (1908). * UWO might be missing *
  • Something in a Report by the Canada Department of Public Works, 1919. * at UWO *
  • There might be something in Industrial Engineering and the Engineering Digest, v5 (1909).
  • Something in "A compendium of North American Ports" by the American Association of Port Authorities (1926), probably for the entry on Sault Ste. Marie.

And finally, some references on Public Works Canada. Since WJ was a life-long employee, I should probably know something about the organization:
  • Ball, Norman R. (Ed.) (1988). Building Canada: a history of public works. DBW TA26.B65 1988
  • Vance, Jonathan (2006). Building Canada: people and projects that shaped the nation. DBW 3 day F1033.V36 2006 (and why it's not actually shelved beside the other volume is beyond me).
  • Owram, Douglas (1979). Buildings for Canadians: A history of the Department of Public Works, 1840-1960. * This thing is very rare and was published internally. I'm trying to get a copy via ILL.