James W.(Bull) Mortimer and his first family.


Photo courtesy of Paul Mortimer

By John Gilbert Mortimer

This is our Grandpa Mortimer's first family. I have to guess who they are in position as they stand or sit, but I am pretty sure that our Aunt Sarah Ballentine is seated on the left. I am also pretty sure that Aunt Mary Becker is seated on the right. The other two are Margaret (Maggie) Wheeler and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Mortimer. Aunt Lizzie remained single and stayed with Grandma Mortimer till her death. I remember the last time we went to see her before she died. She was still at home. I was a small boy and stayed out on the front porch. When Mother came out I could tell she had been crying.

I left out Uncle George who was the only son. Evelyn mentioned that they had a baby named James. I had heard this before. I mentioned it to Bill Ballentine, son of Sarah, but he had never heaed of baby James. Below are the names and dated of birth and death of each.

Margaret Wheeler - October 24, 1859 to March 15, 1943
Sarah Ballentine - August 10, 1861 to January 22, 1929
Elizabeth Mortimer- Febuary 18, 1864 to May 28, 1917
George Mortimer - August 19, 1866 to February 17, 1944
Mary Becker - November 14, 1868 to November ?, 1936

Their mother was Margaret O'Toole, born April 17, 1835 and died April 17, 1871. Their father was James (Bull) Mortimer, born August 27, 1833 and died November 19, 1896.

Grandfather was around 25 and Margaret O'Toole was about 23 when they were married about 1858. Over a period of 9 years they must have had the five children named above and I guess James Jr. must have been born after 1868.
When Margaret was dying, she wanted her husband to call the priest because she was a Catholic. James was raised in the Church of England and would not consent to having a priest come. Finally Margaret got desperate and requested a Protestant minister. I've heard me pa tell this a number of times. She was only 36 when she died on her birthday.

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