Heathcock Genealogy Database - Person Sheet
Heathcock Genealogy Database - Person Sheet
NameElizabeth Ann Adams 134
Birth23 Mar 1881, Yorkshire, England135
Death23 Jul 1920, Victoria, BC, Canada136 Age: 39
FatherJohn Chedzoy Adams (1843-1914)
MotherMary Jane Kellett (ca1845-1885)
Birth10 Dec 1860, Greenwich, Kent, England132
Death3 Oct 1913, Port Alberni BC, Canada133 Age: 52
FatherAbsalom Chesterman (1831-1874)
MotherHannah Maria Driscoll (1834-1884)
Marriage16 Feb 1901, Victoria, BC, Canada137
ChildrenReginald Percival (1901-1956)
 Helga Elizabeth (1904-)
 Charles Alan (1907-1968)
Birth15 Sep 1876, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Death28 Jun 1942, Victoria, BC, Canada Age: 65
FatherRobert Jacques (1836-<1885)
MotherIsabella Crawford (1835-1917)
Marriage7 May 1918, Point Grey, British Columbia, Canada139
ChildrenRobert George (1918-2006)
Notes for Elizabeth Ann Adams
Elizabeth immigrated from England to Canada in 1893.135

Five years after John Phillip’s death, Elizabeth remarried:

British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932

Marriage place Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Groom name Albert George Jacques
Groom birth place Montreal,
Marital status Bachelor
Father of groom name Robert Jacques
Mother of groom name Isabella Crawford
Bride name Elizabeth Ann Chesterman
Bride birth place Furness, England
Bride marital status Widowed
Father of bride name John Adams
Mother of bride name Mary Jane Kellett
Digital GS number 4400865
Image number 582
Reference number 582
Certificate type License
Notes for John Phillip (Spouse 1)
In 1901, John Phillip Chesterman and his wife Elizabeth lived in Port Alberni, a villiage in the middle of Vancouver Island, at the head of an inlet leading to the Pacific Ocean. He was memorialized by a brass plaque in St. Columbia Church, Tofino (see multimedia file).
Tofino is about 120 km from Port Alberni.

B.C. Voters List, 1898

Chesterman, John; Clayquot, Farmer, Alberni

1901 Census of Canada, Vancouver Island, Alberni

John Chesterman, male, head, married, b Dec 10, 1866, age 34, birthplace Ontario, Religion Church of England
Elizabeth A. Chesterman, female, wife, married, b Mar 23, 1881, age 20, b England, arrived in Canada in 1893

1911 Census of Canada, Vancouver Island138

John Chesterman, Clayoquot, male, head, married, b Dec 1866, age 44
Elizabeth Ann Chesterman, Clayquot, female, wife, married, b Mar 1881, age 30
Reginald Chesterman, Clayquot, male, son, single, b Aug 1901, age 9
Elizabeth Chesterman, Clayquot, female, daughter, single, b Apr 1904, age 7
Constance Chesterman, Clayquot, female, daughter, single, b Sep 1905, age 5
Alan Chesterman, Clayquot, male, son, single, b Jun 1907, age 3

British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986 for John Chesterman

Death date 03 Oct 1913
Death place Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada
Name John Chesterman
Gender Male
Age 46y 9m 23d
Birth place Ontario
Spouse name Elizabeth
Father name Chesterman
Mother name Driscoll
Film number 1927141
Digital GS number 4437642
Image number 1306


There is an inconsistency in the records of John Chesterman.  The 1901 census of Canada and his BC death registration agree that he was born in Canada on December 10, 1866.  HIs marriage record to Elizabeth Adams indicates that he was born in 1867 and that his parents were Absalom Chesterman and Hannah Driscoll.  His death certificate indicates that his mother’s name was Driscoll.  

Absalom Chesterman did marry Hannah Driscoll in Kent, England, in December of 1854 and they did have a son named John.  However, their son John was born in late 1860 or early 1861, according to the 1861 census.  He was also listed with his family in Kent in the 1871 England census.

Perhaps he did not know when or where he was born, but this seems unlikely since he was already 10 years old when he was recorded in the 1871 England census.  Maybe there was a good reason that he did not give correct information later when the 1901 census of Canada was taken.  At that time he was recorded as being 34 and his wife, Elizabeth Adams, was recorded as being only 20.  It seems from the England census that he was really 40 at the time of the 1901 Canada census.  Maybe he just did not want people to know that he was married to a woman only half his age.

I have been unable to determine when John Phillip Chesterman came to America from England.

SPECULATION: John Chesterman consistently gave his birthplace as Ontario and his birthdate as Dec 10, 1866. In actuality, he was born in Greenwich, Kent, England, on Dec 10, 1860. It is not known why he misreported his past. Because there is evidence that his family in England was poor and completely broke up after his father’s death in 1874, it is possible that John reached Canada under false pretenses, perhaps as an illegal immigrant by some means such as jumping ship, and lied about his age and place of birth to cover his illegal immigrant status.

However, there is another much more interesting speculation. The Chesterman family in England were rather poor. When Absalom Chesterman died in 1874, his widow was left with the surviving children. Of the six children born to Absalom and Hanna, one (Joseph Absalom) died as a child. The other five children would have been Mary Ann (age 16), John Phillip (age 14), William Thomas (age 11), Job (age 8) and Eliza Jane (age 5). No further records have been found pertaining to Mary Ann or William Thomas, and there are no further England records pertaining to John Phillip.

The 1881 England Census recorded the widow Hannah Chesterman as a lodger in the home of William Huggett. She was a charwoman. The address of the Huggett family was in a very poor section of London. Job Chesterman was in 1881 enumerated as a “scholar” in the Little Boy’s Home in South Darenth. Eliza Chesterman was enumerated in 1881 in the Village Home for Orphan Neglect & Destitute Girls. No further record of Eliza Jane Chesterman has been found.

In 1882, Job Chesterman and 13 other boys from the Little Boys Home, went to Quebec, Canada, on the ship Polynesian. No record of Job in Canada has been found.

Thus, we have these observations:
1. Job Chesterman went from London to Canada but there is no further record of him in Canada.
2. There is no record of John Phillip Chesterman in England after the 1871 England Census, when he was 10 years old. There is also no record of his having gone to Canada, and the first record of him in Canada is his appearance on the BC Voters List in 1898.
3. In Canada, John Phillip gave his birthdate as 10 Dec 1866 (1901 Canada Census) and Dec 1866 (1911 Canada Census). In actuality, he was born 10 Dec 1860 (Greenwich baptismal record). He was also recorded as 10 years of age in the 1871 England Census.

I think it is possible that John Phillip Chesterman never actually went to Canada but instead died between 1871 and 1881. Job Chesterman was sent to Canada as part of the British Home Children program (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Children). This was a program created by the Scottish Evangelical Christian, Annie MacPherson, her sister Louisa Birt, and Londoner, Maria Rye. Poor English children were sent from orphanages such as the Little Boys Home to Canada (and eventually also to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa). The children were sent essentially as indentures to work in the destination country. There was controversy in England about the program. According to one account:

“As they were compulsorily shipped out of Britain, many of the children were deceived into believing their parents were dead, and that a more abundant life awaited them.[14] Many children were welcomed into loving homes, but others were exploited as cheap agricultural labour, or denied proper shelter and education and not allowed to socialise with native children. It was common for Home Children to run away, sometimes finding a caring family or better working conditions.”

It is a fact that there is no further record of Job Chesterman in Canada. I think it is possible that Job Chesterman is one of the children who ran away. He was about 16 years old when he arrived in Canada. If his older brother had died, it may be that Job appropriated his name and birthday (December 10) but kept his own birth year (1866)—it would have been difficult for a 16-year-old to pass for 26. If he was running away from an indenture in Eastern Canada, it is reasonable that he would have gone west. And having arrived there, it is not unreasonable that he would have lied about where he was born (Ontario instead of London) so as to not call attention to his real identity.
Research notes for John Phillip (Spouse 1)
Parents names given as Absalom & Hannah Maria Chesterman. Date of birth given as 10 Dec 1860. An older sister and younger brother were also baptized on the same date.
Last Modified 6 Jun 2012Created 21 Aug 2021 using Reunion for Macintosh
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