Great Grandfather Warren Sears

My great-grandfather, Ralph Warren “Marcus” Sears was born May 24, 1885, and lived on Perth Road in Loughborough, Addington, Frontenac County.  He was a Methodist.   He died at on February 5, 1969, living to 83 years and 8 months.

My uncle told me he remembers his grandfather to be an ornery man, with a quick temper and lumps of coal dust in his ears from their coal-fired furnace.  Four or five times a month he might bathe, and once a year he would go to the doctor to get the coal removed from his ears.

I would imagine that his temper stemmed from the hard life he had as a child, and his experiences dealing with some of Canada’s most notorious criminals, murderers, thieves, and bank robbers.    I’m sure his life changed for the worse after his wife passed away at 34, shortly after they lost their young daughter and his barn burned down.  His wife, Emma Rose Turner, died November 24, 1917, leaving him to raise my grandfather a single dad.  It was a rough year for him and my grandfather.

In the Census of Canada, 1901, Warren is listed as living with my Great Great Grandfather Samuel Sears, his mother Hannah Buck Sears, his brothers Benjamin Sears, Frederick Sears, sister Alberta Sears.  Their next door neighbours in Loughborough, district 43 Addington, on each side were Ackroyds.  Two doors down, Barney Buck and his family lived, and two doors down the other way John Babcock and his family lived, some other names in my family clan..

Many of the documents of his life we obtained from a researcher Canada’s Penitentiary Museum.  Mr. Sears started his employment at the notorious Kingston Penitentiary (KP) as a guard in February of 1914.  His starting salary was $800.  As he could get his shoes and laundry taken care of for free at the jail, this was probably a good package.

I learned of his connections to Haileybury and Cobalt through correspondence records from the jail, and anecdotes from my father.  We think he may have worked in the mines of Cobalt during the great silver rush of 1905.

Oddly enough, I did not find a lot of books or information on the secretive history of KP, though there are plenty of mug shots and interesting stories of the convicts and prison staff.

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