Domjan Family Web Site

Life Story of Lucy Osborn
Written by Betty Krupp (November 11, 1992)

Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire when I was born, September 6th, 1896, in Grand Valley, Ontario. My parents were William and Annie Linn. Papa had a butcher shop in the village, which had a carpentry shop in the back.

Mama was a tiny, frail woman who worked diligently for the Methodist Church and the community. Her principles and example are still alive in me today. My parents tithed from the first day of their marriage. Sometimes the Lord's money waited until a purpose was made clear. I remember Papa learning of some suckling piglets which were going to be sold. He suggested using the tithes. "We can keep them in the barn, fatten them, and we will make the money grow. Instead of the small sum, we will really be able to help when we sell them at a profit". So they plotted always, and derived great satisfaction from their efforts. Their team efforts and common purpose bore fruit.

My sister, Amy, was only 5 years old when she had diphtheria and almost died. The terrible fever left her always unhealthy. With no modern medicines in those days, almost every family that we knew suffered terrible losses when the children were strickened. Mama and Papa kept vigil, and prayed. They were rewarded when Amy finally recovered.

When I was still a baby, Papa moved our little family to Toronto. He was a Master Carpenter, and was given the supervisory work on the Provincial Parliament Buildings. His beautiful carvings can be seen to this day on the stage in the Throne Room. Wood from all over the world was used, and Papa brought home tiny scraps of each one, describing the countries where each had originated. He designed a table-top, which he and Mama worked on during the winter evenings. This was like a jig-saw puzzle, and when it was completed was a thing of beauty.

We lived in a house on Salisbury Avenue in Toronto. Mama and Papa again worked for the Methodist Church nearby. I was just a toddler when Amy and I both contracted Scarlet Fever. We went to Sick Children's Hospital, and were in an isolation ward there while the dreadful disease ran its course. Amy's heart was affected, but we did recover and return home to our family.

Our baby brother, Dick, was born when I was 4-1/2 years old. Shortly after his birth, we learned that Mama had Tuberculosis. Papa's brother, Uncle Jim, suggested that they move back to Lyndoch, Ontario, where my sister Amy had been born. Papa bought a house on a two acre lot for $200.00. We had a large garden, a big barn, and plenty of fruit trees. Despite the good country air and the slower pace of our village life, Mama grew steadily weaker. I can still hear the dreadful cough.

Immigrants were coming to our area from Europe, most having no place to live, and only the clothes on their backs. As ill as she was, Mama organized help for them. Work for the men on farms, houses, food, furniture, spare bedding, clothes and dishes all poured in from the good people whom she had approached. My Uncle Jim was known for his tight-fisted business dealings, but she soon had him donating to "the cause", much to the amazement of all who knew him.

Mama had to spend more and more time in bed as her condition worsened. Papa was still working in Toronto, and came home at every opportunity. Our good neighbours and relatives helped us, and Mama directed our chores from her bed. We hurried home from school, with me leading the cow from pasture to the barn. When our evening meal was cooking, Amy and I would take turns fanning Mama's feet, because she was so feverish. Sometimes we would crouch behind her back to support her when she had coughing spells. One day in July, when I was 7 years old, I found my sister Amy crying. She told me our dear Mama was dead.

Once again our friends and relatives all wanted to help. Aunt Huldie, Mama's sister, wanted us to live with her. Papa asked Amy and I where we wanted to live, and without hesitation we told him we wanted to stay with him, and our little brother. In September our teacher allowed us to have our brother Dick to go to school with us, although only 2-1/2 years old. We looked after him, and he must have been a good listener, because he quickly learned what was being taught to the other children. Amy ended her schooling when she was 11 years old to become our housekeeper. Papa had a laundress come in and extra help for the "heavy work", as Amy was not a strong child.

Our lives were full and really quite happy. We travelled by horse and buggy to nearby Simcoe for supplies. In the winter we had a big sleigh. These were piled high on our occasional shopping trips: 100 pound bag of flour, sugar, pails of lard, bolts of material for our clothes and bedding, etc. Mother had been an accomplished seamstress as well as an artist. She had taught Amy to sew, and Amy taught me.

When it came time for me to write my "entrance exams", I had to travel to Delhi to be tested. I made my own clothes for the trip. Papa was so proud of my work he would run out to the road with my new clothes on hangers to show passers-by.

In the summer of 1910, Halley's Comet came close to earth. Everything was bathed in an eerie yellow glow. We were all frightened, hearing tales of the "end of the world". We sat outside, and the light was bright enough to read a newspaper, and when we touched someone, we felt an electric charge.

So that I could begin High School, I moved to Simcoe and lived with a minister and his family. There I met Jesse Osborn, and honest farmer's son, and soon we were "paired off". The big Osborn family became like my own. I had an after school position at Lee's Ice Cream Parlour, and Jesse delivered for Mr. Lee's General Store and Bakery. When he finished High School, he went to Business College to become an accountant. After graduation he began working at the age of nineteen for the Grand Trunk Railway in Simcoe. Two years after we married in 1915, we were transferred to Preston. Our family soon began, with Margaret first, and almost 2 years later came Donald, and another 2 years little Bill. Little Margaret was not quite 5 years old when she was strickened with Scarlet Fever. She died a few months later of complications. She was a brave little girl and never complained.

We moved to Galt, where our Frederick was born, in our house on Barrie Street. Our three boys were something to be proud of.

We bought a house in Blair and, in 1928 Betty came along. Two years later our Naeda was born. We enjoyed life in the little village, and often walked to nearby Preston to shop. When Betty was 3 years old she came down with Scarlet Fever. Dr. Scott came to our house sometimes twice each day from Preston. When she was finally on the mend, we faced medical bills of a thousand dollars. We had to sell our house to cover the debt. Once again, we moved to Galt to a rented house on Henry Street. We were in the midst of the Great Depression. Jesse was never out of work, but his salary was decreased regularly. The Railway closed their office in Galt and asked us to move to Montreal. We talked about it, but decided our family would be better served if we remained in Galt. To do so, Jesse had to take a lesser job as a signalman in a tower. Still we got along financially, but every cent counted. I sewed our clothes on a Singer treadle sewing machine. We sweltered in the summer preserving as much as possible from our garden, and from both our parents', as well as fruit and pickles.

During this period we made friends with our neighbours. Mrs. Masterson, who was called "Grandma" by the children, invited me to go to the Salvation Army meetings with her. Slowly our lives became entwined with the Army way of life. I couldn't get to many meetings, but helped in any way I could. Jesse was working nights, and "baby-sitters" were unheard of back then. One winter I made 28 quilts for the Home League sales while the children had whooping cough.

Our Mary arrived in 1934, the year the Dionne quints were born. Our boys all played in the Junior band, went to Sunday School and joined the Scouts. Betty and Naeda went to Sunday School, and when they were old enough for "Sunbeams" I was asked to be Assistant Leader. I felt unqualified, but Major and Mrs. Wood convinced me otherwise.

On "pay-day" Jesse and I sat together sorting out where our money was most needed. Like my parents, we made sure our tenth was set aside for the Lord. Some went to the Army, and part to someone in need. We always said we never had to do without, and the Lord surely looked after us.

Ann was born in 1938, thus completing our family. We were so busy with the children and the Army that the years flew by. Our boys were young men now, and it was 1939. World War II was raging in Europe. Donald joined the Army, the R.C.R.'s from London, as a dispatch rider, and left for England just days after war was declared. Bill, as soon as he was of age joined the R.C.A.F. and became a bomber pilot. Fred decided on the Royal Canadian Navy and was on a destroyer, H.M.C.S. Kooteny. All three boys were in dangerous war zones. The duration of the conflict was six years, but it seemed forever. We waited for their letters and prayed for their safety. Don married in England, his "war-bride", Miriam, came to us in 1944, pregnant with our first grandchild. Bill married his sweetheart, Anna, from Hespeler, before going overseas, and Fred married his dear Shirley in 1944. She travelled from her home in Preston to Nova Scotia for the wedding. Our family was getting bigger! We thank God our boys returned home safely, but with terrible memories of their ordeals. All were decorated with medals of our country.

Betty married Norman in 1946; Naeda and Stan, as well as Mary and Ken, in 1951; then Ann and Louis in 1955. Our grandchildren began arriving, each one a source of pride and joy, and opening new adventures to Jesse and I.

With the children away in their own homes, Jesse and I began our life again alone. He worked hard and always had a huge garden. His favorite pastime was giving his beautiful produce to his "kids", neighbours and relatives. We kept house ourselves until Jesse was 92 and I was 90, when it was decided, because of his failing health, that it was not wise. Betty and Norm were willing to change their lives, and we all lived together until 1989, when Jesse went to be with our Lord at the age of 94. We were married almost 74 years!

There are five generations in my family, and the grand-children, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren now number 64. I still live with my daughter and son-in-law.

In early August of 1987, Shirley phoned from home in California to say that Fred was very ill in hospital. Before the month was over, he had died of cancer. This was a very hard blow to Jesse and I, unable to be with him, but we felt comfort in knowing he was with Jesus.

Naeda's husband, Stan, had been very ill and bed-ridden for 9 years when he peacefully died in the spring of 1990. We still miss our boys, but would not wish them back to continue their suffering.

Although I don't move about with ease, my life is still full and sometimes exciting. I have flown to Bermuda three times since my 92nd birthday with my daughter and son-in-law, to visit their son and his family, and I've driven to Chicago in a limousine ... who knows what new adventure awaits the little girl with auburn curls who began her life in the 1800's? God is good to me, and I savour each new day.

After 1992...
The below has been added for completeness

March of 1993, Lucy's daughter-in-law, Shirley (Fred's widow),passed away from cancer.

In June of 1998, because of poor health, Betty was no longer able to care for Lucy, so Lucy was placed in the very capable and loving hands of Hilltop Manor Nursing Home, where she is treated like a queen.

On February 20th, 2000, Lucy was honoured with a family celebration for having lived three centuries.

In March 2002, Lucy's daughter, Betty Krupp, passed away after a long struggle with kidney failure which was as a result of a Brown Recluse Spider bite (poison).

Lucy was confined to a wheelchair in the last few years of her life, but her sense of humor never faded away. Her family always enjoyed her quick wit and the stories of years gone by.

| Lucy Osborn's Eulogy | In Memory of Jesse & Lucy Osborn | Domjan Family Web Site |