Before I start just want to say today was my parents wedding anniversary. they would have been married 82 years… they only made it to 40 years when my dad passed away suddenly at age 65. It is also the birthday of my cousin Maureen… Happy Birthday Moe.
I have written about my Grandfather James Vint Laughland before but there is more to his story then I knew about. To explain a few months ago I was googling people just to see if there was anything new on them and lo and behold I found that there was a file on my grandfather at Harvard Theological College. I contacted them and finally received three files with over 100 pages of letters from him and about him. The information contained was quite revealing. This is just the info I learned from a letter he wrote from 1914 about his years before that time. I have always said I could not imagine what my grandmother’s life was like being married to him and I am beginning to see it was more difficult than I imagined. This is just part one of the story. Gets more interesting from here.
James V grew up in Southampton England in the Presbyterian Church as his Scottish father wanted. His parents wanted very much for him to attend the Edinburgh University Theology School to become a Presbyterian Minister. His father was a tailor and a town councilor and was working hard to see that all his sons had good educations and his daughter’s good husbands I am sure. It appears they were part of “society” in Southampton and would have had great expectations for their many children.
James had no interest in his father’s plans for him. In 1902, he had been working for a bank in London after matriculating but then found the Methodist Church and started preaching in various Churches. After preaching in various Methodist Churches he made the decision to move to Canada. In 1907 he went to Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada and went to work as a bookkeeper at Marks, Clark and Dobie LTD. After a few months, the Methodists asked him to fill in at a church in St. Francis and then was asked to go to Stratton, Manitoba. After a year he transferred to Dryden, Ontario. During his year in Dryden he lived in a boarding house where the Baptist minister also lived there. The minister preached at him for a year and at the end he made a switch. He changed from Methodist to Baptist and was sent to Gravenhurst, Ontario. There he met my grandmother and then were married there in 1908. From there he went to Flesherton, Ontario in Grey County.
After a while he was not happy with the orthodoxy of the Baptist Church and decided to return to the Methodist’ convention. They sent him to Massie and to South River. In the fall of 1913 he decided to attend college for a year. I suspect that was in Toronto. Before the end of the year he threw up his hands and started a non-denominational church in the west end of Toronto. That church community could not support itself so they decided to join with the Presbyterians. James could not do that so he reached out to his Unitarian friends and applied to join the Canadian Unitarian Church.
I suspect that he failed in that effort and finally packed his family up and moved to England.