from “William Ryan Morton (Billie) – By the Family”

From “William Ryan Morton (Billie) – By the family

Barnardo Children, Clive, farming

William Ryan Morton, foster son of Mr. and Mrs. William Morton, was born in Altringham, England.  His father was a master painter.  His mother died, leaving a family of seven boys and one girl.  The father, Peter Ryan, unable to care for all of the children putt John and William, the youngest in the Barnardo home for children, which was paid to rear the children and send them to trade school.  In 1881, the Barnardo Home for children sent a boat load of orphan children out to Canada for adoption. (This practice was carried on by this home from the year 1881-1910.)  Upon arriving in Montreal both boys were adopted by William and Jane Morton…. In the year 1890, his father came west, his mother and John came later.  Billie’s first position was a Page boy in the Senate Chambers in Ottawa.  Later he joined the Governor General’s Foot Guards in Ottawa.  Billie, anxious to find his family in England, made several trips back by working on cattle boats….  He married Sophia Jane Stewart in St. Eustache, Quebec.  Upon hearing of his brother John’s death in 1906, they decided to come west and join his father and mother. . They arrived in Lacombe in 1907.  Billie’s first job was working for the railway; his boss was Mr. Adams.  In 1908, their first child was born, a daughter, Florence.  Later that same year they moved to Valley City….

There was no way to get milk for the baby (Florence) and her dad used to walk three miles out and back to Norm Meadows every morning for milk.  Mr. Meadows finally brought the cow to town for Billie to care for.  In exchange for the milk Mrs. Morton baked bread for him.  In 1911, they moved into their own home and a second daughter, Alzina made her appearance.  Two years later, the third daughter Muriel arrived.  John the first boy was welcomed into the home in 1916, Charles in 1919 and Forbes in 1922 and in the year 1929 along cam (the red head) Jean…..

Billie’s brother, Dick Ryan, a soldier in India, returning to England learned that his two brothers had been sent to Canada.  He advertised in the Montreal Star and one of the Ottawa papers for the whereabouts of his brothers.  Someone in the Clive area saw the paper and brought it to him.  Through this article he was able to trace his family in England.  In the year 1928, a niece of his, Sally Ryan, came from England to visit at Clive.

From Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

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