My great aunt Jesse died peacefully on August 13, 2011 at 1am in Almonte, Ontario, a month short of her one hundred and seventh birthday. As her daughter Audrey wrote in an email, “the end of the McIntosh era.” She was also the last of a generation of McLennans, widow of my father's uncle Donald, surviving more than fifty years past her first husband, and twenty-five years past my grandmother, Ellen Campbell McLennan. One of the only photos I have of Jesse is this, taken at a McLennan family reunion around 1974, including (left to right) my grandmother, Ellen Campbell McLennan (1905-1984), Marion McLennan (1901-1986; widow of my father's uncle, Roderick McLennan), my great aunt Janie McLennan (d. 1984) and her husband, my father's Uncle Scott McLennan (1902-1983), great aunt Jesse and her second husband, Alf Hudson, with my father's aunt Belle McLennan (1895-1978), seated.
When we went to her 100th birthday party in Almonte a few years ago, if you can imagine, Jesse was sitting beside her sister, two years older. At that point, she was still living on her own, walking a couple of miles every day, and quite active in her community. It was only her third attempt, at nearly 102 years old, that the nursing home in Almonte apparently allowed her to become a resident. Before that, they told her she was “doing too well.”
The last of a generation. There were always more questions than I ever had time for, the few I was able to send to her daughters, to ask on my behalf. Always too many questions.
Born Jesse Ellen McIntosh on September 12, 1904 in Tolmie's Corners, an Ontario hamlet immediately south of the current village of Moose Creek, in Stormont County, she was one of six children to Robert and Tena McIntosh, all of whom moved to Ottawa when Jesse was a teenager, to live at 607 MacLaren Street (at Percy). On July 22, 1930, a block from her family home, she married my father's uncle, Donald John McLennan (August 1, 1898 - August 17, 1955), a vehicle supervisor for the Bell Telephone Company, at Erskine Presbyterian Church on Bronson Avenue. In the photo of their wedding day, provided by Jesse's granddaughter, Susan Lash, you can see my grandfather, John Duncan McLennan, immediately to the groom's right, slightly higher up. Given that Jesse and Donald grew up miles away from each other, on either side of Highway 138 in eastern Ontario, it would seem well likely they knew each other before the McIntosh family moved into Ottawa. Once married, Jesse and Donald lived on Cambridge Street, where they raised two girls, Audrey and Jule. Donald died in 1955, and is buried in Capital Gardens Cemetery, on Highway 16 (towards Manotick, Ontario). Jesse married Alf Hudson, in 1967, and lived on a farm in Kinburn until 1986, when they moved to Almonte. Alf died in 1994.
Her obituary, from The Ottawa Citizen online:
HUDSON, Jessie McIntosh McLennan
Peacefully in her 107th year in Almonte, Ontario on August 13, 2011. Loving Mother of Audrey (the late Ron) of Almonte and Jule (David) of Pembroke. Fondly remembered by Alf's daughters Edie MacKay (Robley) and Ruth Hudson (Brendan) Toronto. Predeceased by Donald McLennan (1954) and Alf Hudson (1992) and sisters Alberta Ogilvie Campbell, Ann Rutherford Palmatier, Alexina Gliddon, Isabell Ferguson McKenzie and brother Hugh John McIntosh. Jessie was born in Moose Creek ON and moved to Ottawa with her family in 1920. She attended Lisgar Collegiate and the Ottawa Normal School and taught in one-room schools in Cumberland, Greenbank and Piperville. After working in the government for several years after Donald died her marriage to Alf took her to Kinburn and Almonte. They enjoyed many years of travel, and Jessie was involved in the United Church as a life member of the WMS and volunteer activities at Fairview Manor. She is the cherished grandmother of Steven, Don and Jeff Proulx, Susan Lash, Diane Rogers, David Rogers and Karen Deacon, Janice MacKay, Roslyn Foxton, Christina Hudson, great grandmother of 19. Great-great grandmother of 5 and devoted aunt of 12 nieces and nephews. Jessie remained active all her life, playing piano and knitting, interested in family and friends and was a wonderful role model for her family. The family extend special thanks to Fairview Manor for their care. Family and friends may visit C.R. GAMBLE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL INC. 127 Church St., Almonte, ON., 613-256-3313 On Tuesday, August 16 from 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm. Funeral Service to be held on Wednesday, August 17 at 11am in the Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., with reception to follow at the church. In lieu of flowers donations to the Almonte General Hospital Fairview Manor Foundation would be appreciated. Tributes and Condolences: www.crgamble.com