Isabel Lorna Hansford

Picture of Isabel Hansford Born December 15, 1903, at Torbrook Mines, Nova Scotia

Died January 7, 1995, at Burbank, California

Father: Alfred Albert Hansford (May 28, 1870-October 1, 1906)

Mother: Elizabeth Jane Hambly (September 29, 1871-June 17, 1925)

Isabel's arrival was a big event after five boys had taken their places in the Hansford home. Alfred was sick a year with miner's consumption, and died on October 1, 1906. Just before he died, he called each of the children into his bedroom, and asked them to take care of their mother and remain Methodists.
After Alfred died, Elizabeth took in boarders, which was the only way available to her to earn a living. Just six months after his death (in March of 1907) the home caught fire and burned down. One of the boarders had left a pipe in his pocket in a coat hanging in the kitchen. Snow was on the ground. Some nights Elizabeth was obliged to be up late baking bread, etc., as the boarders all took lunch pails, and there was no bakery bread in those days. A neighbor couple, Judson and Viola Armstrong, were coming home at midnight from a party and saw a light in the family kitchen. Their thought was "Mrs. Hansford must be up late baking." By the time Jud had unharnessed his horse and put it in the barn, the kitchen was in flames. Jud alerted his family and ran to the house, broke in the front door, and rescued the family and boarders.

The children went to relatives and friends for a few months until a new home could be built. A contractor agreed to build the house. Besides his regular employees, many local men volunteered their services. The house had kitchen, dining room, and sitting room. The children did school work around the dining room table. The house also had a nice parlor, one bedroom downstairs, and four bedrooms upstairs. Two years after Alfred's death, Elizabeth married John Stevens, one of the boarders. He was from Conception Bay, Newfoundland.

The house was not centrally heated; there was a wood-burning stove in the dining room where everybody congregated. That is where the studying went on week day evenings. The children attended a two room school house. On the first floor were the first through sixth grades, and upstairs were the seventh through twelfth grades.

In the Torbrook high school, in order to pass from grade ten to eleven, a student had to go to Middleton, a town eight miles away, and board a week, to write exams. Isabel's teacher urged her parents to send her for the exams. They felt they could not afford the board money. The result was that Isabel had to return to school and take grade ten studies again. Part of the time she was helping other students.

At one point, Isabel went to Windsor to visit her brother Ralph. Charlie Hambly had written to his friend Ray Rowse, who lived in Detroit (across the river from Windsor) that she was in Windsor. Ray contacted Isabel. He wanted to come for a visit, and bring his friend Harry Clarke. They came one Sunday. The next spring, Harry traveled to Coaticook, proposed, and bought a diamond engagement ring. Harry and Isabel were married at the United Church of Canada at Coaticook.

Harry and Isabel had the following children:
  1. F Janet Anne Clarke (November 15, 1932-)
  2. F Margaret Jane Clarke (July 2, 1935-)
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Revised 24 April 2002