Corporal Andrew Salomnson 1887-1934
The year was 1887 when Andrew Salomnson was born (Andres Salomonsson) in Kall, Kall County, Sweden. If you were to look on a map you would find that Kall is located in the middle of Sweden, a pretty little village on the side of a lake. He was born on Tuesday, February 8, 1887 to his parents Keistokonson Salomonsson and Anne Hyttsten.
Little is know about his early life in Sweden, except that he did have brothers and sisters, so he was not alone in his youth. At the age of 19, in 1906, he left home to go to Newfoundland. There was a saw mill there owned by a Swedish man and he would bring over other Swedes to work in his mill and for logging in the dense forest of Newfoundland. After saying good-bye to his parents and family, he set off to Goteborg. It was there, that on April 27th he boarded a ship to Hull, England, where he then took another ship to St. John’s, Newfoundland, which at that time was not part of the Canada we know today.
On this trip, he was accompanied by a cousin on his mother’s side, Brita A. Jonsson who was four years his senior. We do not know what happened to his cousin Brita, but in 1907 Andrew left Newfoundland and went by ship and arrived at North Sidney, Nova Scotia on August 20th. He eventually found his way to Cochrane, Ontario.
He worked for a few years as a labourer and on his Military Enlistment record, his occupation is shown as a “Concrete Contractor”.
War broke out in 1914, but Andrew probably thought it would end soon and didn’t enlist immediately at the start of the war. Instead, he waited until 1916 when on April 13th, he signed his Attestation Papers.
Andrew enlisted in the 159th Battalion (1st Algonquin CEF), 97th Regiment, based in Haileybury, Ontario. He, along with his regiment, sailed to England in November 1916, where his battalion was absorbed into the 8th Reserve Battalion on January 20, 1917. In England he was stationed at the large training camp at Seaford. It was here that he, because of his background as a Concrete Contractor, was assigned to a labour group.
He went to France on February 10th, 1917 and on November 25th of the same year, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and assigned to the 2nd Canadian Labour Battalion, in France. (For the record his service number was 648830)
After the Armistice was signed on November 11th 1918, be returned to England and eventually to Canada. He was discharged from the military on March 20, 1919.
Little is known of the next few years of his life; perhaps he went back to Cochrane, Ontario to resume his previous life as a cement contractor. The next time we see Andrew is when he is hospitalized at St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal with tuberculosis in the mid 1920’s.
It was there while in hospital that he fell in love with his nurse, Gertrude May Johnston of Elizabethtown. The love was mutual and on June 21st 1927, they were married in Muskoka, Ontario. On the marriage certificate his occupation is listed as “Prospector”.
Gertrude was the second of four daughters of John and Lilly Belle Johnston being born in 1894 at the family home on the Lyn Road. She was seven years younger than Andrew.
Gertrude and Andrew purchased a small home in Gravenhurst and settled down to start their new life together. Unfortunately it wasn’t too long after their marriage that Andrew’s TB returned, and unfortunately after spending time nursing and working with TB patients, his wife Gertrude developed tuberculosis as well.
They lived close to the Muskoka Tuberculosis Sanatorium and it was there that they sought treatment. Unfortunately Andrew passed away on March 3rd, 1934, at he age of 47 after being married to Gertrude for only seven short years.
After Andrew’s death, Gertrude moved back to live with her parents. It was here, suffering from TB, that she would spend the remainder of her days. Four years after the death of her husband, Gertrude passed away on June 10th, 1938, at the age of 43.
Both Andrew and Gertrude are buried at the Oakland Cemetery just west of Brockville. They had no children.