The Tathams of County Durham
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Qu'Appelle and its links with the family


Wrap me in your blanket, dance me around.
Take me back to where my heart belongs.
Qu'Appelle Valley of Saskatchewan.

[Buffy Sainte Marie]

Qu'Appelle is the name of a river, a valley and two different towns in Saskatchewan, as well as a confusing series of overlapping administrative and electoral districts.

The Qu'Appelle River flows 270 miles east from Lake Diefenbaker in southwestern Saskatchewan to join the Assiniboine River in Manitoba, just south of Lake of the Prairie. It is said to derive its name from a Cree legend of a spirit that travels up and down it. The story goes that the aboriginal people told the trader Daniel Harmon in 1804 that they often heard a voice calling, "Kâ-tępwęt?", meaning "Who is calling?", or "Qui appelle?" in French. They would respond, and the call would echo back.

The Qu’Appelle Valley follows the course of the Qu’Appelle River from west to east across southern Saskatchewan.,. The valley itself is only a few miles across. but has given its name to much wider areas of the plains to the N and S. It contains a number of natural and artificial lakes and is today a popular recreational area.

The town of Fort Qu'Appelle is on the Qu'Appelle River between Echo and Mission Lakes, some 41 miles NE of Regina. It was established as a Hudson's Bay Company trading post in 1852 and was long known just as Qu'Appelle, and then for a short time as North Qu'Appelle. The former tuberculosis sanatorium, Fort San, is nearby. Fort Qu'Appelle nowadays relies on tourism, being situated conveniently close to two provincial parks, and half a dozen beaches. Population in 2006 was 1,919.

The town of Qu'Appelle lies some distance to the south of the river, and is 18 miles SSW of Fort Qu'Appelle. It is located on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) mainline and just north of the Trans-Canada Highway and lies some 30 miles east of Regina. It is now a small village, though still legally a town, and formerly, in ecclesiastical terms, a city. It has considerable historic significance. Initially called Troy, it was settled from 1882 onwards, in anticipation of the westward continuation of the CPR. When the line arrived in 1884 the railway station, and then the town, took the name Qu'Appelle in reference to the Qu'Appelle Valley, 20 miles to the north. The town attained national prominence in 1885 during the North-West Rebellion. General Middleton billeted in the Queen's Hotel and made Qu'Appelle the marshalling point for the troops arriving by train from eastern Canada. Qu'Appelle at one point looked set to be the future capital of the North-West Territories, but in the event the decision was made in favour of Regina, then still known as Pile of Bones. In 1902 the town's name was changed to South Qu'Appelle, but the long-standing confusion was not resolved until 1911, when the two communities agreed to deem the plains town on the CPR line as Qu'Appelle and the valley town as Fort Qu'Appelle. During the 20th century Qu'Appelle steadily declined in size and importance. Hardly any of the original elegant buildings now remain. Population in 2006 was just 648.

The Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle dates from 1884, and Qu'Appelle was designated as the cathedral city. St Peter's, the pro-cathedral, was built in 1885. The diocese is still named Qu'Appelle, though the historic association with the town is long past. Bishop Adelbert Anson, the first Bishop, cultivated a relationship between Qu'Appelle and his wealthy home diocese of Lichfield in England. The diocese briefly operated a training facility for Anglican clergy in the town and the St John's College Farm nearby. Both facilities were closed in 1895. St Peter's, however, continued as the pro-cathedral for southern Saskatchewan until 1944.

Qu'Appelle district was originally the territorial electoral district for the NWT Legislative Assembly. The present Regina - Qu'Appelle district was created in 1987. It covers the northeastern quarter of the city of Regina and the surrounding rural area including the town of Fort Qu'Appelle, but not Qu'Appelle itself. The two Qu'Appelle towns have also been parts of other electoral or administrative districts in the past,

Molony and Tatham connections with Qu'Appelle

Eustace Cyril Molony (1862-1943) was born at Gatcombe, Isle of Wight, where his father Charles Walker Molony, a Church of England priest of the anglo-catholic wing, was serving as curate. He was at school at Lancing College and then studied in London with a tutor for entrance into the army. At the age of 21 he sailed for Canada and joined the North-West Mounted Police under Commissioner George Arthur French. Two years later he was recruited into "French's Scouts", a small élite force raised and commanded by the Commissioner's brother John French. The force took part in the suppression of the 1885 North West Rebellion, during which John French was killed in a shoot-out. Three years later Eustace married his widow, Frances Mary Chapman (1856-1919), and settled down with her and her three children at the homestead she had been granted through her husband's service. In 1890 Eustace was granted his own homestead as well. Their farm can be located by study of the five census returns from 1891 to 1916. It was a few miles to the north of Fort Qu'Appelle (not Qu'Appelle), and south of the village of Lipton. Eustace and Frances had 3 children of their own: Georgina (1888), Violet (1891/92) and Clement (1898), as well as a daughter Winifred who died in infancy. Frances died on Christmas Eve, 1919, aged 63. In July the following year, the family was joined by Eustace's niece from England, Agatha Mary Molony ("Mollie") (1900-1993), and within a couple of years she and Eustace's son Clement were married. Eustace lived on until 1943. He and Frances lie buried in the Lakeview Cemetery at Fort Qu'Appelle

Frederick Hugh Tatham (1868-1947) was born in at Great Ryburgh, Norfolk, where his father George Edmund Tatham was the rector of the parish. After studying at Durham University and at theological college, he was ordained in 1892. Later that year he set off to Canada to serve with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel's mission in the North West Territories, based in the recently established Diocese of Qu'Appelle. He may have been drawn to the region for family reasons - his sister had married Eustace's brother the year before. After a few months Frederick Tatham returned briefly to England for his wedding on 22 Jun 1893 to Helen Marie Thurnall (1862-1967). The service was conducted by the Right Rev. Adelbert Anson, who had been the first Bishop of Qu'Appelle and had just retired. On arriving back in Canada with his wife, Frederick was posted to Grenfell, another small town on the Canadian Pacific Railway, 45 miles to the east. It was there at Grenfell, on 22 Oct 1893, that Helen and Frederick launched their remarkable visitors' book, that was to span the next 74 years and still survives. The following January they moved to Broadview, 16 miles further east, where they were to remain for three and a half more years, and to see the births of their first two children. In 1897 they returned to England, where Frederick, a resolute anglo-catholic like Charles Walker Molony, took up the post of curate at St Laurence's, Northfield. The visitor's book shows that Frederick and Helen kept up with their Canadian friends for many years, but as far as is known they never saw Qu'Appelle again.

Agatha Mary Molony ("Mollie") (1900-1993) was born in Ilford, Essex, the fifth of nine children. Her father was Eustace Molony's brother Harry, the rector of the parish, and her mother was Frederick Tatham's sister Edith. So when at the age of 19 she set out for Canada in pursuit of a childhood dream, she already had a twofold link with the Qu'Appelle region. She settled in with her uncle's family at their homestead, and took on her full share of the very hard work of the farm. It was not long before Mollie and her cousin Clement were married, and developed their own homestead. In 1922 their son Basil Clement was born. But soon afterwards Mollie developed tuberculosis, and had to spend three years in Fort San, the large TB sanatorium close to Fort Qu'Appelle. She made a complete recovery, but her marriage to Clement did not last. In 1935 she left her husband and Qu'Appelle for good, spending the rest of her long life in British Columbia.

Iva Clare Marion Molony (1896-1980), Mollie's elder sister, studied medicine in London and qualified as a doctor in 1922. When Mollie was hospitalised with tuberculosis in 1924, Iva Molony set off for Canada and took a position at the same TB sanatorium at Fort Qu'Appelle. She spent the next 13 years there in the Qu'Appelle valley, until her transfer to the sanatorium at Prince Albert, SK, in 1938.
Iva adopted Mollie's son Basil after the breakup of her marriage, and was a valuable help to Mollie and her family throughout her life. She remained in Saskatchewan until her retirement in the early 1950's when she moved to Vancouver, where she died in 1980.

Linked toFamily: Molony/Molony (F1162); Family: Molony/Chapman (F1163); Family: Tatham/Thurnall (F0036); Iva Clare Marion Molony (Occupation)

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