Annie Margaret Stone

Annie Margaret Stone Carr Diceman By Jennifer LayneGreat Granddaughter Annie Margaret Stone was born 4 April 1892 in the area of Southwark St Saviour, Southwark, Greater London, London, England as the illegitimate daughter of Ethel Stone. She was baptized at St. Mary’s of Newington, St Saviour, Southwark, Greater London, London, England. Independent research confirms Ethel Blanche Stone was the daughter of Catherine Eleanor Knight and Charles Stone. Ethel’s early life was fraught with upheaval, her parents divorcing over alcoholism and infidelity and then reconciling. Together, Catherine and Charles would have five children, including Ethel. Their eldest daughter and Ethel’s older sister, Mariam Elizabeth Stone also led a harsh and difficult life, being in and out of the Newington Workhouse and having two illegitimate sons who died in infancy. Infant sons Frank and George Godfrey are remembered. Mariam died at the age of 30 years, only months after her second son passed away. The couple’s only son during the first course of their marriage was George Leonard. After their divorce and reconciliation, Catherine and Charles had son named Thomas Fitzgerald ‘Gerald’, and daughter Florence Lillian. It is undetermined what Annie knew of her family or relatives in England that held an established legacy as Hatters, as she had always been told she was an orphan and had arrived in Canada at the tender age of 8 years old. The truth of Ethel’s life and later marriage, including the birth of two half siblings was never revealed. Annie became a ward of the Church of England’s Waifs and Strays Society and was shipped to Canada as a Domestic labourer in March of 1901 aboard the S.S Tunisian. She arrived in the United States port of Portland, Maine in early April and was shipped to ‘Our Western Home’, formerly run by Maria Rye at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. Her first placement was with Sarah Frances Carr and her husband, Samuel James Prest. As a young girl of only 8 years, it is impossible to imagine what place she held in the family or what work was required of her. Annie was quickly adopted into the family of Sarah’s parents, Ann Jane Ireland and William Carr, who treated the young girl as family. A letter confirming her transfer of care and warning the family not to let Annie too close to the cows is a treasured heirloom of the family, as well as the simple wooden trunk that carried her few belongings across the ocean to her new home, with her name in faded paint across the lid. Annie became the close and inseparable sister of Lila Carr Depew. The two eventually living together in their old age. Annie grew to be loved and respected by her family and her community. She married Lewis Fenton Diceman on 29 January 1913 in King City, Ontario. Although the pair did not have a tender relationship, Annie bore five children and was a devoted and loving mother. Mildred May (Mitchell), Floyd Washington, Stewart Washington Filmore, Orville Carr, and Goldie Irene (Keffer) grew up aware of their mother’s British beginnings, but it wasn’t until over 100 years later that the family of Gary Keffer, eldest son of Goldie Keffer, pieced together Annie’s fragile history. We convey our greatest thanks to Lori Oschefski and the British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association for their unending support along this journey. We are pleased to be included in this project and honoured to place Annie Margaret Stone’s story among those of her peers. We celebrate Annie as a pillar of strength who overcame tremendous obstacles to build a family based on love and commitment to character. She is lovingly remembered by the family of Gary Keffer and all the descendants of this British Home Child.