Thomas the Military Migrant

Thomas had a busy twenty-year military career - he was on the move almost every year. He enlisted at age 20 as a "mason" in the 7th Co. of the Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners (called the Royal Engineers by the time he left them) at Glasgow in 1851,

went to Woolwich that year,

to Portsmouth in 1852,

to Chatham in 1854,

saw action in Turkey in the same year and went to the Crimea on December 2nd 1854 as part of the Expedition to Kerch,

served in the Crimean War 1855-56 where he was wounded at Sebastopol, and subsequently received the Crimea Medal and Clasp for Sebastopol, and the Turkish Medal,

went to Davenport in 1857,

and to Halifax in 1858-62 where he met and married Christina MacIntosh, who had been born in West Branch, Nova Scotia in 1822.

He returned to England in 1862 where he received a promotion to 2nd Corporal.

He was in Dover in 1864-65 - he was promoted to Corporal on October 1st 1864.

He was stationed on the Isle of Gram in 1868,

at Woolwich in 1869-70,

Quebec in 1870-71,

and returned to Halifax when he was discharged in 1872. He and Christina bought a farm for 45 pounds on River John Road in Poplar Hill ("Pople Hill", on the 1883 survey), and enjoyed a military pension of 1 pound 50 pence per day.

He was a very religious Presbyterian and was well-respected in his retirement in Poplar Hill until his death in 1903.

Thomas and Christina had children on their travels, but they experienced tragedy, too. Margrate was born in Halifax in November 1861 but died of scarlet fever in Chatham, England in October 1862. "Sandy" (Alexander) was born in Dover in 1865 but died of scarlet fever in Woolwich in 1868 at the age of three; and his younger brother Robert, who had been born on the Isle of Gram in 1867, also died just three and a half weeks earlier of the same disease when he was just over one year old.

Jenny, Thomas, Lexy, young William Thomas and wife Christina Macintosh

Three children survived: "Lexy" (Alexandra Robina) was born in Woolwich in 1869 and lived until 1908; she married Nathaniel Webster Parker and moved to Putnam, Connecticut. "Jenny" (Isobella Jennet) was born in Dover in 1861 and lived until age 68 when she died of cancer in London, Ontario in 1931.

The only surviving son was William Thomas, born in Halifax in 1860. He married Abigail Jane Gray in Seafoam (I think), Nova Scotia in 1891 when they were both 31 years of age, which seems quite old for the times. Abigail was born in Seafoam in 1860 to Donald Gray and Margaret McRae (Donald's second wife).

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