henderson Family  

Henderson: son of Hendry or Henry [1]

 

* * *

 

 

Part 4: Constance Henderson (1890 - 1973)

 

Constance, who was sometimes known as ‘Connie’, was born on 25 August 1890 in Ontario. It is fairly certain she attended Bishop Strachan School for girls in Toronto. During her time it was located at Wykeham Hall, College Street. The school was the oldest day and boarding school for girls in Canada, founded in 1867 for the radical purpose of educating girls as boys’ equals. In the words of Miss Anne Thompson, Lady Principal (1872-1875), the girls were ‘to become useful and courageous women’ and perhaps would one day see universities open to them.[2] Constance’s parents must have been in favour of giving their daughter a similar education as they would have provided for Brookfield:

“At the turn of the [20th] century, BSS was enjoying remarkable success as a reputable institution for the scholarly, domestic, and social pursuits of young women. Families could send their daughters to the school with a sense of confidence in the outcome – educated, cultured, and pious young women who could positively and productively contribute to the Dominion.” [3]

When she had completed her formal education, she was ‘presented to society’, as befitting her family’s social status. Both Constance’s daughters and one of her grand-daughters attended her alma mater.  

On 29 April 1916, she married Captain George Bryant Schwartz of the Canadian Cyclist Corps, at the parish church of Chiseldon, Wiltshire, England where George’s army camp was based. Constance returned to her parents’ home in Toronto where she gave birth to their first child Constance Louisa on 03 September 1917. Sadly, their daughter only lived three days and died after a short bout of bronchitis. She was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Constance travelled back to England where she later gave birth to their second child, Suzanne Bryant on 07 October 1918. By this time, her husband George was based with the Western Ontario Regiment and she was living in Hitchin, a town just to the north of London in Hertfordshire.

After World War I ended, Constance and Suzanne returned with other ‘military dependants’ on the SS Corsican which left Liverpool, England in April 1919 bound for St John, New Brunswick. It is not known when George returned, but when he did, he became an architect (having been a student prior to enlistment). He later became a real estate agent. They had two more children, Diana Bryant (born 25 May 1921) and Duncan Bryant (born 07 April 1924). The family lived at 271 Oriole Parkway, Toronto and when George retired, he and Constance crisscrossed the Atlantic several times on various holidays. In May 1954 they travelled aboard the ocean liner RMS Queen Elizabeth to England, returning to Canada in early July. Two years later they travelled to England again for another summer trip. Sadly their third trip to England in June 1958 was their last together: George died after a stroke in Llandrindod Wells, Wales on 21 July. Constance returned to Canada a week later.  

Constance continued to travel by herself, sailing to Scotland in June 1960. She died 12 October 1973 in North Adams, Massachusetts, USA.

Family legend has it that during her lifetime, Constance had a lake named after her in the middle of Ontario. There are some 100,000 lakes of varying size throughout Ontario which were often named after friends and relatives of those surveying the lakes, but it is not known who named the lake in her honour. Constance Lake is off Highway 11, northwest of Hearst and east of the Constance Lake Indian Reserve 92. [4]

 

Constance as a toddler

Constance avoided appearing in photos where possible!

 


Footnotes

[1] www.surnamedb.com/Surname
[2] Bishop Strachan School website
[3] ‘140 years of women’s education’ by Erica Fail, ‘The Link’ (BSS alumni magazine, Vol. 1, 2007)
[4]
Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group (http://www.cefresearch.com/phpBB2/); General Register Office (GRO) certificates; Ontario Canada Deaths 1869-1934, Canadian Passenger Lists 1865-1935, UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878-1960, Massachusetts Death Index 1970-2003 (Ancestry.co.uk); Family tree provided by Phillip Leith;  Passenger lists leaving UK 1890-1960 (www.findmypast.com)