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 Calendar of Events and Places for the Lives of Dr. John Humphreys

and his Son and Joshua H. Humphreys

About 1774   Dr. John is born in Manchester, England of Welsh heritage. A recently discovered document written by Minnie Humphreys Malcom, his granddaughter, reveals that Dr. John's father was a dealer in worsted"( wool.) See Minnie's Note.

1803   29 years after Dr; John is born, Jane Warren Humphreys, his wife, is born in County Wexford, Ireland.  Warren is not an Irish name.

1812-1815  Dr. John is a skilled surgeon and serves on a British Man of War including the time of the War of 1812.  It is family legend but not proven that Dr. John served under Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson at Trafalgar as Chief Ship’s surgeon and was present when Lord Nelson died of battle wounds in 1805.  Dr. John may have even served on a ship on Lake Ontario.  His service to the British navy was 21 years in return for his education as a naval surgeon.

1827   Dr. John Humphreys is granted a land patent of 100 acres near Duart, Ontario by a Colonel Thomas Talbot. The finalization of this land patent is subject to strict settlement duties. Perhaps this patent is in recognition of his many years of service with the British Navy.

1829    Married to Jane in Ireland. He is 55 and she is 26. Other sources say the marriage occurred in 1820 but I think that 1829 is more likely as their first child is born in 1830.

1830 -1841    Recently recovered information sent to me by Bill Humphreys shows that Dr. John and Jane's first child, Charlotte, is born in 1830 in Brockville, Greenville Co. Ontario.  Brockville is situated on the St. Lawrence River just a few miles downstream from Ogdensburg, NY where Joshua is born in 1841.   Some family members said that the Humphreys came to America, with intentions to live in Boston.  This I rather doubt because Dr. Humphreys, having served in the War of 1812, would have strong loyalty ties to England, the crown, and therefore would be drawn to Canada, a British colony.  According o Minnie's note they may have entered America through the port at New York City after being blown off course with original intentions to land at Quebec.  Also, they had a land patent waiting to be fulfilled in Canada. They traveled through New York State to Ogdensburg, New York and Brockville, Ontario, both towns located across from each other on the St. Lawrence River and where bridges or ferries existed for crossing the river. They settled in Leeds, Ontario, the Thousand Islands area for a period of time.  After living in several locations in this area and after their 7th child, Joshua, is born at Ogdensburg, NY, they decided to move to a more temperate climate in southwestern Ontario about 60 miles east of Detroit, Michigan.  During this time Dr. John was probably able to sustain the family with his skills as a Physician and surgeon which I understand were considerable.  In any case, they didn’t seem to be in any hurry to reach the part of Ontario where their land patent was waiting. (If Minnie's notes are correct, Dr. John and Jane did not travel across the ocean to America until just before Joshua is born in 1841 with a family of already six children (now including Charlotte, Mary Jane, John, Eliza, Martha and Mariah) and Jane was pregnant with Joshua.   Did William, Dr. John's brother, also have a family with him?   There has always been a difference in information about where Josh was born. Some on my branch of the family say Ogdensburg, NY. as verified by Minnie's note.  Other family sources say Hehate or Hegate, NY.  I have never found either of these places on a New York Map. This is not unusual because many small places have ceased to exist over the years or have been absorbed into larger communities.  Perhaps the family members were referring to the place where here grew up, Highgate, Ontario.  I say that Joshua kept and used the information that he was born in the United States as his passport to United States citizenship.  This information probably aided his receiving a college education in the states (probably in Michigan which is only about 60 miles away from Highgate, Ontario) and for many years thereafter to make living in the US easier in cases such as land purchases, legal documents and etc.)

1842-1843?   The family came to Kent County, Ontario. After traveling overland and perhaps by boat across Lake Ontario, the family traveled by raft down the Thames River from London, Ontario to Louisville where their raft was destroyed and they made their home there for a period of time

1845   Joshua's brother William is born in 1845 in Highgate, Ontario at the location of John Humphreys' crown land patent.

1848  Feb. 17. Dr. John Humphreys writes a letter of petition stating that he has completed his settlement duties on his land grant, the land has been inspected and is ready to take his Oath of allegiance to Canada before Colonel Thomas Talbot.  Talbot signs on Feb. 17 1848.

1848  March 28 a lawyer in Chatham, Ontario writes to same authorities that Dr. John was on a sick bed and not expected to recover and would they give the farm in case of his demise to his wife Jane Warren with all accompanying privilegesSEE Lawyers letter and required settlement duties

1852  The Crown patent deed is finally granted.

1855 Joshua goes to Detroit, Michigan age 14?  Perhaps he is sent to live with relatives or friends. Receives his education in both Canada and Michigan, USA. Possibly he is partially college educated at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor about 25 miles from Detroit. This University was founded in 1817.

"Josh was educated as a surgeon but could not complete his training which meant about 2 years in Europe, so he gave up medicine and went to Ridgetown to teach school". Vincent Malcom

1861-1865 Served with the US Union forces during the Civil War. Was in United States Secret Service for 3 years. This last information has not been proven nor do we know which 3 years are in question. At right is a close-up of Joshua from an early photo taken with his Father, Mother and family.        ►►

1865 At age 24 began teaching and was principal of the Wayne schools in Wayne County, Michigan which today is part of the Detroit metro area.

1866 Josh participates as Corporal in Fenians Raid into Canada. Age 25. Connect to web site below to learn more about Fenians Raid which followed the civil War.

Josh receives a ribbon for bravery which my Uncle Don once had possession of.    My Uncle Don, in a letter dated 1/17/96, states that he served with the Canadian forces.  Here is an excerpt from a letter to Minnie from her mother Emma, Joshua's wife.  This letter was dated 1938 and written from Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan.   There was an infantry company (Co. 3) at Blenheim, raised January 30, 1863 as 1st Blenheim Volunteer Infantry Coy and moved May 25, 1877 to Ridgetown, Ontario.  This company was under the 24th Kent Battalion of Infantry with headquarters in Chatham, Ontario. 

 Go to the website below to find out more about this regiment.


1866   Dec.21 Joshua along with his brothers and sisters signs a Quit Claim in order to convey property to his Mother, Jane Warren Humphreys. He is listed on the claim as being from Chatham, Ontario

1870 Joshua H. Humphreys listed in 1870 Census taken in Rockton, Illinois as age 26? (Josh is actually 28 at this time. A mistake?) He is listed as a school teacher living as boarder with Justice of the Peace, Henry B. Jones and his wife, Aurora

1870  Dr. John, Josh’s father dies in Ridgetown, Ontario July 15.

1871  Jan 1, Married to Emma Althea Lake in Rockton, Illinois. He is 29. She is age 16. There is much speculation as to how Josh met Emma. Vincent Valentine Malcom, Josh’s grandson says that they met in Ridgetown, Ontario.  Why would Emma be in that small town and at a very young age.  Her father, Valentine Amey Lake, was born in Kingston, Ontario but that town is more that 300 miles north and east of Ridgetown.  Maybe the Humphreys and the Lake families had connections long before Josh and Emma married.   It is possible that she and her family were visiting relatives or family friends in that area or were on their way to visit relatives in Kingston.  Josh could have followed her back to Rockton where he taught school in 1870.  Much speculation.


At the right is a photo of Emma at the youngest age of any of the photos I have of her. She looks to be in her 20s or early thirties.   She is wearing the same brooch that she wears in another photo several years later. She is quite a handsome woman.  This brooch was given to my Aunt Fannie Maud Malcom Hensler by Emma before her death and has been passed on to Fannie's daughter, Norma Hensler Bishop.                                                         ►

1871 Joshua H. Humphreys listed in Harwich Township, Kent County, Upper Canada, New Ontario as male, age 29, Church of England, English, artist, married, wife Emma age 16

1871-1872  Joshua is Superintendent of Schools in Swan Creek Michigan, Near Saginaw.

1871  Oct. 17 Son Frederick Lake Humphreys is born in Swan Creek, Saginaw County, Michigan.

1873  Feb 14 - Daughter Minnie is born in Ridgetown, Kent County, Ontario. The following are two separate pieces of narrative were written by Vincent Valentine Malcom, Josh’s grandson.   1.) Josh and his family lived at Ridgetown until my mother was 3 years old and Josh’s business (?) prospered. Then the urge to go west overcame him and he sold his business and traveled by wagon train to Rockton, Ill.   2.) "They left their home when Josh was teaching school in Canada few miles east and south of Detroit and joined a wagon train to Rockton, Illinois.  This trip took from early spring 1876 to fall. The wagon train then had no guide but elected a leader from the members of the train. This was excellent as far as democracy was concerned but caused them many delays while they listened to controversial opinions. The first delay came just a few miles from their Canadian home where they had to get the train across the river from Canada to the U.S. The train consisted of horses, men and wagons (covered) together with a herd of extra horses, cattle, mostly milk cows, a few bulls, calves in all stages of growth and even a wagon with crated chickens." Emma’s family lived in Rockton, Illinois. Her father is a successful business man there and Rockton is the place of her birth. See the Lake family portion of this web site for information and history of the Lakes.

1876  Third child, Frank William Humphreys is born in Rockton, Illinois

1878  Emma’s father, Valentine Amey Lake dies August 6.  Learn more information about Valentine Amey Lake and his wife Sophia Taft Lake on the Lake page of this website.

1880  Listed in 1880 Census of Rockton, Illinois taken on the 9th of June, as age 38, with Emma age 25, Children Frederick age 8, Minnie age 7, and Frank, age 4. Joshua’s occupation is listed as retail grocer.

1880-1881 Josh and family move to farm in Morgan Township, Woodbury County Iowa, where they spend the winter arriving in the worst storm in many years as the first storm of the season.  They always listed their address as in Battle Creek, Iowa which was in Ida County.   Minnie was seven or eight years old and had an older and younger brother. The family of five lived through the winter in the covered wagon. She grew up on this farm, went to a teachers college in Correctionville, Iowa and after that taught school riding  several? miles each day on a saddle horse. At that time my father. G. W. Malcom was working as a cowboy for his father who operated a ranch in Miller Township, Iowa the next township to the west.  (A township is only 6 miles wide) (See the story of this move written by Vincent Malcom)   Vincent Malcom is Josh and Emma's first grandson.  I found this story in very rough pencil draft form along with many other narratives he wrote about the Humphreys and Malcoms.  I changed very little of what Vincent wrote except the punctuation and the addition of some words to make it more readable.  I think the story style indicates that Vincent and Joshua had many personal conversations with each other about their life events.  The narrative also reveals the esteem Vincent held for his grandfather, Josh. 

1887  Sept 15 Joshua (listed as from Battle Creek, Iowa) signs a legal Indenture that conveys 10 acres of his mother’s Canadian land, (Jane Humphreys) to him as she "is desirous of dividing her lands among her children….." All 7 surviving children receive 10 acres except William, the youngest, who receives 40 acres. Joshua sells his 10 acres to William on Dec. 17, 1887 for $100.

1890  At age 17 daughter Minnie Matilda goes to Sioux City Normal School for two years, after which she began teaching in a local school in either Woodbury or Ida County, Iowa.  Other sources say that she also attended college at Correctionville, Iowa.  I suspect that much of her education was home schooled by Joshua.  Click here to see a photo of the Josh Humphreys family in Iowa, a write up about Josh written in the History of the Counties of Woodbury and Plymouth, Iowa published in 1890-91, and other family treasures.

1891  Son Frederick Lake Humphreys graduates from Sioux Valley College in Correctionville, Iowa on February 12.

1893  Josh’s Mother dies in Highgate, Ontario and is buried beside her husband in Duart Cemetery. She is 90 years old.

1894  Minnie marries George William "Billy" Malcom, on March 13. They are married in the home of her parents. He is 24, she is 21.     Click here to see the stories written by Billy and his son Vincent of how Billy and Minnie meet and the circumstances of their marriage.    

1895  Josh, Emma, Fred and Frank Humphreys are listed on the Iowa1895 Census.  Josh is said to have no religious belief, Emma is listed as a Congregationalist.  Minnie is already married and living with her in-laws.  These census returns are filed on May 21, 1895.?????   I found no date on the Iowa census records displayed on   They could  have begun in 1994 and filed in 1895  (This census does not fit in with the date of birth of Billy and Minnie's" first child Fern Glenna Lee Malcom who is born and dies, in Ina. February 15.1895.   Is it possible that Billy and Minnie may have moved first to Tennessee to ready the home and sawmill for the arrival of the rest of the Humphreys family?

1895  Joshua and family, including Minnie and Billy move to Ina, Fayette County, Tennessee.  Here is the story of the two family's sojourn in Tennessee.   This story was written by Vincent Malcom.

1895  First grandchild Fern Glenna Lee Malcom is born and dies, in Ina. February 15.  Click here to read Fannie Malcom's recollections of her sister Fern's death and her mother's (Minnie) long term emotions concerning her first child's death.


1896  Second Grandchild is born, Fannie Maud Malcom in Ina on Sept. 25th. Shortly thereafter this birth, Billy, Minnie and Fannie move back to Anthon, Iowa and Woodbury County near his parents in 1897.

1899  Son Frederick Lake Humphreys marries Annie Joy Bullock on March 15th See a photo of the Humphreys in Ina, Tennessee.   Also see a notarized copy of birth and marriage records from the Bullock family bible.

1900  Grandson Frederick Valentine Humphreys is born in Ina, Tennessee. April 1st.  Joshua, wife, sons, 1 daughter- in-law and grandson "Freddy" are listed on the 1900 Fayette Co., Tenn., Civil District 2 census.

1901  Josh, Emma and Humphreys sons are still in Tennessee.  See here a photo of Josh in front of his "general store".  This photo is dated 1901.

1903-1904  Family moves near to Minot, North Dakota.  Josh buys patent of 157 acres of land in Bottineau Co. near Minot, ND on 9 Jul 1908. His oldest son Fred buy 160 acres of land patent in Ward Co. near Minot, ND on 13 Aug 1907.  His youngest son buys 160 acres of land patent in Bottineau Co. near Minot, ND on 13 FEB 1908.

1905  Son Frank William is married to Lillie Sorenson and I am assuming it was while the family lived in North Dakota because we have a photo of him at about that age (29) taken in Minot, North Dakota.  Click here to see photos of the Humphreys family members when they lived in North Dakota.  During this time, there exists little information about their lives.  Josh and Emma visit Billy and Minnie infrequently but stay for long visits. 

1907  Grandson Archibald Sloan Humphreys is born in Minot, North Dakota on Sept. 27th.

1910  Josh, Emma, Fred , Frank and their families move to the North Bench and Ravenscrag in May.  Amy Humphreys told me about a web site which gives us glimpses into the lives of the Humphreys in Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan, Canada.  This site can be seen at   This web site will have to be copied and pasted into your own web browser.  When the Our Roots home page opens up, type the name of the book, Between and Beyond the Benches in the search box and press go. Then click the title of the book under 1 item found.  Then type in Humphreys in the search box in the right hand column and up will pop many pages where the Humphreys name can be found.  Many Humphreys names will be under photos and are interesting and fun to see.  There is a photo of the Humphreys homestead house on page 474.  Articles written about the Humphreys by other Humphreys can be found on pages 453-455 by Archie Humphries and on 578-581 by Vesta Whitefoot Humphreys.  This sight is easy to navigate but every time you change pages, you will have to hit the largest page view button on the navy blue bar at the top in order to read the page clearly. 

1912  Josh becomes naturalized citizen of Canada on Dec 31. Citizenship papers are granted in the District of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

1921  Joshua retires from farming and moves to Oto, Iowa to be near his daughter.

1926  Joshua falls and fractures his skull, and is left in a general condition of poor health. Oddly enough Josh’s father suffers from a similar accident and similarly suffered loss of health and abilities as a result.

At the right is a photo of Joshua H. Humphreys and his nephew William Edwin Humphreys.  These two seemed to remain close over the years and William came to visit Josh from Kingsville, Ontario when Josh returned to visit his sons in Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan before he dies.                       ►

1927  Josh, in not the best of health for some time, expresses a desire to visit his sons, returns to Ravenscrag in June. On Monday, Sept 19th Josh dies and is buried in Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan, age 86.



1942  October 24th, Emma dies and is buried in Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan.  She had been living near or with her sons since the death of her husband, Joshua.  She never returns to visit her daughter in Oto, Iowa.   In her will she leaves all her estate evenly divided between her two sons, Fred and Frank and her daughter, Minnie.

Marla at the grave of Joshua H. and Emma A. Humphreys in East End, Saskatchewan, Canada.▼  Summer 2006.   This cemetery is about 15 miles east of Ravenscrag.  It is located on a hillside overlooking Frenchman River that also runs through he near "ghost" town of Ravenscrag The river over the years has carved out a wide fertile valley framed by tall bluffs and hills on the north and south side.  The bluffs were referred to as "benches" by the locals. 


















    The gate to Riverside Cemetery.



Family mystery.  This small gravestone was laid just between Josh and Emma.  Edward Keep is 69 years old.  Does anyone know who he is?  If you have information about him or knowledge to add about the Humphreys, please contact me at: