Oakley and Sophia Orser family

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Oakley and Sophia Orser family

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1862 - 1956


This fonds revolves around Sophia (1875-1956) and Oakley Orser (1862-1925), of Cloverdale, Carleton County, New Brunswick. Of Dutch descent, Oakley Munro Orser, the son of Augusta Campbell and John W. Orser (1839-1925), was born 8 June 1864, in Carleton County, New Brunswick. On 9 April 1895, he married Sophia Mae Hanson (1876-1956), the daughter of Emmeline Morehouse and Thomas Hanson, of Jones Forks and Zealand Station, York County, at Carlisle, Carleton County. They had no fewer than 11 children, namely, John Addison (4 November 1896-8 August 1918), Augusta M. (b. 1897), Elwood Ward Oakley (1900-1915), Theresa (b. 1903), Weston C. (b. 1903), Nettie (b. 1905), Francis (b. 1907), Clara Alice (b. 1908), Harvey Earle (b. 1910), Alonzo (1911-1912), and Ralph [b. after 1911].

During World War I, Oakley and Sophia Orser's eldest son, John Addison Orser, enlisted for service, in January 1916, and was shipped overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force the same year. He was assigned to the 26th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (New Brunswick Regiment), and saw action at the Front in France. As a result of his actions on the battlefield, he was elevated to the rank of lance corporal. Lance Cpl. John A. Orser was killed in action, at Douai-Mons, on 8 August 1918, age 22, and was buried in Wood Cemetery, Somme, France.

Augusta M. Orser, Oakley and Sophia Orser's eldest daughter, was born 3 May 1898. She married William Edward Burrill (b. 15 May 1892), of Cloverdale, the son of Riley Burrill of Went, Massachusetts, on 29 May 1916, in Carleton County. They had a son, William Harold Burrill (1917-1921), who died at age 4. William E. Burrill also enlisted for wartime service, in January 1916, and went overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force the same year. He saw action in France with the 26th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (New Brunswick Regiment). Pte. W. E. Burrill died on 15 August 1917, age 25. His name was inscribed on the Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Several of Oakley and Sophia Orser's cousins and nephews also saw action at the Front during the war. They included cousins Samuel Gilbert Barter (1871-1963), William T. Barter, James Barter, and Percy C. Barter (1884-1969), all sons of Oakley Orser's paternal aunt, Harriett Maria Trecia (Theresa) Orser Barter (1849-1915) and uncle, James Abel Barter (1841-1928). Samuel G. Barter served overseas with the Saint John Battalion (later the Saint John Fusiliers). In France he worked with the Y.M.C.A., attached to the 1st Canadian Division, B.E.F. James, William, and Percy all served overseas. At war's end, Samuel G. Barter returned home to his wife, Charlotte (Lottie) Catherine Wallace (1877-1957) and children, Jane (Jennie), Florence, Lottie, Susie, Bettie (Bessie), Charles, and Trecia. He was employed as a cheese maker, storekeeper, and postmaster. In addition to her New Brunswick kin, Sophia Hanson Orser's nephews, Walter and Freddie Hanson, the sons of her brother Willard Hanson, of Rowena, N.D. [North Dakota?], also served overseas during the Great War.

After the war, Sophia and Oakley Orser focused their attention on running their farm and raising their large family. Between 1918 and 1919, Sophia Orser corresponded with the Department of Militia and Defence, in Ottawa, attempting to have John A. Orser's estate distributed according to his will. Later, between 1924 and 1925, Oakley Orser corresponded with the Board of Pension Commissioners for Canada and the Soldier Settlement Board, requesting a pension on account of John Orser's wartime sacrifice. Before this claim was settled, Oakley Orser died, on 27 November 1925, age 63, leaving Sophia with a number of children to support. She continued to press the pension claim, and on 28 May 1926, was awarded a monthly pension of $20. Sophia Mae Orser died on 2 February 1956 and was buried beside her husband in Cloverdale Cemetery, Carleton County.


Cloverdale, Carleton County
Zealand, York County
Douai-Mons, Belgium
Somme and Pas-de-Calais, France
Went, Massacheusetts

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Daniel F. Johnson's, Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers; Canada Census, Carleton County, 1901 and 1911; RS141 Vital Statistics from Government Records, marriage, birth, and death certificates; Canadian Virtual War Memorial on-line, www.vac-acc.gc.ca; and Commonwealth War Graves Commission on-line, www.cwgc.org.

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