Searching For Charles

Growing up on my Dad’s side of the family we had,of course, my Dad, his brother Doug and his sister Zola, the three children of my paternal Grandparents  William(Buck)Hillis and Ann Gooding and for 56 years that was the way it was, 1 uncle and 1 aunt that called themselves Hillis.  However that changed about 3 months ago when I got an e-mail from a distant relative of my grandmother wanting information on her 4 children, which I assumed was a mistake so I sent her what I could on the 3 but in her reply she insisted that there were 4 children. I informed her that there were only 3 and even in the obituaries for both her and my Grandfather only 3 children were listed and as well in the obits for both my Dad and my Uncle Doug there was no mention of a 4th and since no one in the family had ever mentioned a 4th I let it drop and I never heard another word from the woman and the family remained at three, well until a month ago that is.

I was searching the Cambridge City Archives On-Line site and typed in my Family name and started to go through the many articles that were listed on it and then I got to this!

Administrative history or biographical sketch Date of death, date of birth, place of birth: MAY 7,1932 MAY 5,1932HESPELERAge and cause of death: 2 DAYS HAEMOPHILIA BOWEL HEM.

Parents: William Hillis, Elora Ann Gooding, GlenAllen

Death reported by, connection to deceased, place of burial: WILLIAM HILLIS FATHER Glen Allen, Ont

Source:HILLIS, CHARLES R scotish

My Grandfather and grandmother were the only Hillis’s in Hespeler in the 30’s, so this caught me off guard, who the heck was Charles? And then I remembered the Lady from Fergus who was looking for the 4 children, damn, she was right. For the mystery Charles’s parents were indeed my grandfather and grandmother. So there was  a 4th child, yes he only lived 2 days but it was like a shock to the system to think that his name had never been mentioned in my lifetime and upon checking with my other siblings and cousins, it seems that Charles was unknown to them as well. But why had my Dad never mentioned to the family that he had another brother? Why did his name not appear in either Grandparents Obituary? and why is he buried in Glen Allen when his Parents are both buried in Elora?  This just opened more questions for me, was it a product of the times, that you just moved on after the death of a newborn?  Did my Dad and his siblings even know what happened?

And so I went looking for answers, and since Dad and Uncle Doug are long gone I turned to the last surviving Hillis Child my Aunt Zola for answers and while she couldn’t give me much info, she didn’t even know what the baby’s name was until I told her almost 82 years after his death.  She remembered the little casket in the living room in their old house on Forbes Street and that they were not allowed to come downstairs while relatives filed through the house, she could not answer why the child was buried in Glen Allen,and not Hespeler or Elora, leaving me with my curiosity peaked.

So on my next trip to visit my grandparents graves in Elora I assume a little side trip to the Glen Allen cemetery and my long-lost Uncles Final resting place will be the order of the day. Maybe I can give him a proper farewell from his family and let him know he is remembered.

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