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JELFS (née EDKINS), Emma – emigrated 1874

Emma Edkins (1848-1915) was born at Bengeworth on 19th July 1848, the eldest of eight children of George Edkins and his wife, Elizabeth (née Neal).  She was baptised at Bengeworth Church in October.  By the time Emma was five, the family had moved a mile or two away to Murcot where they remained until about 1858.  The next move was to Wickhamford where, some time in the late 1860s, her father took up market gardening.  Emma would have attended the National School in Badsey, and would have walked across the field each day with her sisters to get to school.

On 30th January 1869, Emma married Thomas Jelfs at Badsey; both were recorded as living at Badsey.  The witnesses at the wedding were Oliver and Ruth Rogers (Thomas’ cousins) who, four years later, emigrated to Ohio, USA.

Emma and Thomas had a son, Jesse, who was born at Aldington in 1870.  By the time of the 1871 census, they were living in Wickhamford, not far from Emma’s parents.  Also nearby were John and Mary Ann Sears who, the following year emigrated to Ohio.  By February 1873, Emma and Thomas were living in Birmingham where a son, Frederick Richard, was born.

According to Frederick’s obituary when he died in 1953 at the age of 80, he had arrived in Canada with his parents 79 years previously (it was actually America, and then they moved to Canada in 1897).  No shipping record has been found, but it seems that the Jelfs family emigrated in early 1874 and were probably the first of Emma’s family to make the journey.  It is perhaps not surprising that, with family, friends and neighbours who had emigrated, Emma and Thomas also decided to make the voyage overseas.   They settled in the state of Ohio, where a number of Badsey and Wickhamford families were already living.

Emma and Thomas had two more children once they arrived in America:  Mynie/Mina (1874-1969) born at Troy, Geauga County, Ohio, and Mary Ethel (1876-1951).  

Thomas died on 28th February 1878 at Parkman, Ohio.  Emma married again the following year on 10th October 1879 to George Reynolds, who was originally from Nottinghamshire.  At the time of the 1880 Federal Census they were living in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County with Emma’s two daughters.  Her son, Jesse, was staying with his grandparents in Bainbridge (they had emigrated in 1875) but the whereabouts of Frederick are unknown.  A son, Samuel, was born in 1887.  Emma’s eldest child, Jesse, died at Bainbridge in 1890.

It was soon after this that the Reynolds family moved to Canada, settling in Lisgar, Manitoba, where they were to be found at the time of the 1891 Canadian census.

It is not known when George Reynolds died but Emma died in Vancouver on 3rd July 1915, aged 66.  The press announcement in The Vancouver Sun of 6th July 1915 read:

REYNOLDS – DIED IN VANCOUVER, JULY 3 1915, Emma Reynolds, aged 66 years and 11 months, of 854 Sixteenth Avenue East.  She leaves to mourn her loss two daughters, Mrs S Probert, North Vancouver, and Mrs H Reid, 843 Fourteenth Avenue East, City; and two sons, Fred R Jelfs of Calgary and Samuel Reynolds of this city.  The funeral services will be held today (July 6) at 2.30 pm from the Nunn, Thomson & Clegg parlors, 520 Richards Street.  Interment in family plot, Mountain View Cemetery.

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