The London, Ontario Ansties

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

Overview of the London, Ontario Ansties

The London, Ontario Ansties of Canada are a sub-branch of the Devizes Ansties of Wiltshire, headed by Paul Anstie (b 1824).

Paul Anstie (b 1824 Devizes)

Paul Anstie was born in Devizes in 1824 to parents Paul Anstie and Jane Kingdon. He married Mary Ann Cox in Paris, France in 1849 and they moved to first Pietermaritzburg in Natal, South Africa, and then London, Ontario, Canada, having children:

  • Paul Anstie (b 1851 Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa – see below);
  • Francis Lawton Anstie (b 1852 South Africa, known as Frank, he was a “cabinet maker” in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with his family and he was a “cabinet maker” in London, Ontario in the 1881 Census, married to Mary Ann Harriet North (known as Minnie) who he married in 1878 in Richmond, Middlesex, Ontario. They had children Frank Albert Anstie (b 1884, married Martha Jane Schoaf in 1906 in Woodstock, Oxford, Ontario having children Frederick Albert Anstie (b 1908 London, Ontario) and Beatrice Anstie (b 1909). In the 1911 Census they were living in London, Ontario); Frederick Kingdon Anstie (b 1888 London, Ontario, married Myrtle Irene, he died in 1956 – see below for gravestone inscription); and Edwin [Edward] Harrison Anstie (b 1895, married Dorothy Thelma Katherine Schmidt in 1927 in London, Ontario at which time he was a Customs Officer). In the 1901 Census the family were living in London, Ontario. Francis Lawton Anstie died in 1920 in Ontario, buried in Woodland Cemetery, London, Ontario. The gravestone reads “ANSTIE Francis Lawton died 1920 his beloved wife Minnie North died 1926 Myrtle Irene died 1956 beloved wife of Frederick Kingdon died 1956“. Probate for Francis was in 1921 to Charles Victor Booth; Mary Annie Harriet Anstie (his widow); and Frederick Kingdon Anstie (his son));
  • William K. Anstie (b 1852 South Africa, he was a “cabinet maker” in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with his family. He died in 1878, buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery and Crematorium, London, Ontario with inscription “In Loving Memory of William Anstie who died Feb 15 1878 aged 25 yrs 5 months & 10 days“);
  • Mary Jennie Anstie (b 1855 South Africa, she was in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with her family. She married Albert Burne in 1877 in Ontario, Canada);
  • Fannie F. Anstie (b 1857 Ontario, she was in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with her family. She married Robert Sloane Gourlay at Talbot, London, Ontario, Canada in 1877);
  • Henry James Anstie (b 1859 Ontario, he was in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with his family. He married Katie Agnes Walsh in 1881 in Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada and by the 1891 Census they were living in Vancouver City, British Columbia where Henry was a jeweller. They had children William Albert Anstie (b 1881 Toronto, York, Ontario); Jennie K Anstie (b 1885 Montreal); Henry K. Anstie (b 1887 Montreal); Fannie Anstie (b 1889 Montreal); and Elizabeth Anstie (b 1891 British Columbia). Henry James Anstie died in 1926 in Vancouver, British Columbia);

Paul Anstie was an Anstey Hero, signing up to fight in the American Civil War. He enlisted as a Private on 5 August 1863 at Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts on the side of the Union, attached to the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (‘A’ Company). At the time of his enlistment he gave his occupation as “clerk“, living in Canada (West).

On 23 March 1864, he ended military service with the 15th Massachusetts by transfer to the 47th Company, 2nd Battalion of the Veteran Reserve Corps. Paul Anstie died on 13 February 1865; the ‘Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette‘ on 16 March 1865 reported “DIED: February 13, aged 40, after two days illness, Mr Paul Anstie Jnr, of Nairn, Canada West, of congestion of the lungs“.

Summing up the above, it is not clear at all whether Paul Anstie died as a result of injuries incurred during the American Civil War. The fact that he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps does suggest that he was injured during the conflict (the Veteran Reserve Corps was originally called the Invalid Corps created to allow partially disabled or otherwise infirm soldiers to perform light duty, freeing able-bodied soldiers to serve on the front lines). Anybody who can enlighten us in this matter please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

In June 1865 Mary Ann Anstie received a pension “to surviving family member” based on Paul‘s service in the military. Mary Ann Anstie (now a widow) was living with her family in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census. She died on 20 Mar 1907 at York County, Ontario, Canada, aged 79.

Paul Anstie (b 1851 Pietermaritzburg, Natal)

Paul Anstie was born in 1851 in Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa to parents Paul Anstie and Mary Ann Cox. He was a student at Woodstock, Oxford, Ontario in the 1861 Census and a ‘clerk’ in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with his family. Paul Anstie married Georgina T. Sexton of Ireland in 1875 in Newark, Essex, New Jersey, America, and they had moved back to Devizes by the 1881 Census where he was a “tobacco manufacturer“. They had children:

  • Herbert Ernest Anstie (b 1880 Devizes, he moved permanently to America in 1890 and became a naturalised American citizen in 1901, at which time he was living at 66 East 121st Street, New York City with his mother and sister, his profession was ‘stenographer’. In 1905 Herbert married Gertrude Gardner Abrahams in New Jersey; they were living in Manhatten, New York in the 1905 Census – we do not find any children of this marriage. In September 1918, Herbert was registered for service during World War One under the Selective Service Act 1917, however he was almost certainly not called up due to his age. On his Registration Card he indicated that he was an “official stenographer for the New York Supreme Court“, living at “465 W 157 New York“); and
  • Lillian Florence Kate Anstie (b 1880 Devizes, travelled frequently between England and America and appears never to have married. Lillian was naturalised as an American citizen in 1916 and she lived for a long period in New York City with her mother, where she was an accountant in the 1930 Census living at Fort Washington Avenue and still there in 1940. Lillian Anstie died in 1971, an obituary reporting “Lillian was born on December 24, 1880 and passed away in January 1971. Lillian was a resident of Saint Petersburg, Florida.“).

In 1884, Paul Anstiea gentleman” returned to America, however he had troubles brewing back in England for in 1885 in Bristol he was charged with fraudulent bankruptcy, in a case which went to trial and resulted in a hung jury, so he was acquitted. The ‘Bristol Mercury‘ newspaper reported on 16 May 1885 “CHARGE OF FRAUDULENT BANKRUPTCY IN BRISTOL: At the Police Court yesterday Paul Anstie and James Charles Cross, lately carrying on business in Redcliff Street as provision merchants, were charged on remand for having within four months of the presentation of a bankruptcy petition against them unlawfully and with intent to defraud obtained certain property on credit and further with having pledged pawned and disposed of other than by ordinary way of trade, property thus obtained on credit, together with other offences against the Bankruptcy Act… the partnership between the defendants commenced in December 1882. Before that time Mr Anstie had been in business in America and he failed there. He returned from America and entered into some business connection with certain gentlemen of the same name [Anstie] trading at Devizes. He afterwards came down to Bristol, and some time before entering into partnership with Mr Cross he carried on business alone and he styled himself as a wholesale provision merchant and dealt chiefly in American produce…the defendants carried on business together down to the time of their bankruptcy, which was on the 12th January last…

The family moved permanently to America in 1890 and then in 1898 Paul Anstie committed suicide, at the time he was living in New York City with his family. The ‘Bristol Mercury‘ on 28 January 1898 reported “SUICIDE OF MR PAUL ANSTIE. A sensation has been caused in New York by the suicide of Mr Paul Anstie in a room at the Grand Union Hotel on the 7th inst. Mr Anstie, who was a bookkeeper at the New York Yacht Club, applied at the hotel for a room in the afternoon, giving his address as Montreal. Soon afterwards a chambermaid, passing the room, heard groans inside and called a waiter. The door was forced open and Mr Anstie was found inside dying from carbolic acid poisoning. A physician was called but it was too late to save life. When the police were called they discovered a note, addressed to the deceased’s wife, in which he asked her forgiveness for the act, but assigned no reason for it. On Mrs Anstie‘s arriving, she expressed the opinion that her husband had become temporarily insane in consequence of asthma and liver trouble. She had however noticed that he had acted strangely at times. Mr Anstie’s accounts at the Yacht club were in good order. Much sympathy is felt with the bereaved widow and family. Mr Paul Anstie was formerly well known in Bristol and Devizes. At the latter place he was connected for a time with the firm of Messrs E. and W. Anstie tobacconists. Whilst he was in Bristol Mr Paul Anstie was in the provision trade, carrying on business in Redcliff Street in partnership with a Mr Cross. In 1885 the firm became insolvent and Mr Anstie and his partner were prosecuted on charges connected with the bankruptcy. The case was remitted to the Quarter Sessions held in June 1885 but the jury failed to agree. At the assize the Treasury abandoned the prosecution and the accused were discharged

The ‘New York Tribune‘ newspaper 8 January 1898 edition added “Paul Anstie, fifty four years old, a steward [of the New York Yacht Club] living at Nbr 156 East 55th Street [New York] committed suicide yesterday afternoon at the Grand Union Hotel by drinking a quantity of Carbolic Acid

By 1900, Georgina Anstie (now a widow) together with her two children, were living at Nbr 66 East 121st Street in New York City, America. By the 1930 Census, Georgina was living with her daughter Lillian at Fort Washington Avenue, New York.

Further Details on the London, Ontario Ansties

We are actively on the lookout for London, Ontario Anstie experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding London, Ontario Ansties who fought in World War One, preferably with personal souvenirs such as letters sent by the soldiers or military photos etc. Anybody who has such expertise and inclination, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the London, Ontario Ansties, and continue to upload more all the time (see Project Updates), however it is spread over various segments of the website.

The best way to find said information is to enter ‘London, Ontario’ in the search box at the bottom of this page and a list of relevant pages will appear.

Anybody who finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com and we will correct it.

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