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Photo of Margaret Elizabeth Elder

Margaret Elizabeth Elder

Munitions Worker


Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by): Margaret Elizabeth Elder

Gender: Female

Date and Place of Birth: 15/10/1898, Shotts, Lanarkshire (1) (2) (3)

Baptised 03/07/1908 (1)

Date and Place of Death: 22/11/1981 at Sault Sainte Marie, Algoma, Ontario, Canada (6)

Buried at Silver Lake Cemetery, Silver Water, Ontario, Canada (6)

Nationality: Scottish

Do we have images/photos of this person ? Yes, on Ancestry member trees there are a number of photos including two from H.M.Factory , Gretna.



Childhood: Margaret had five sisters and one brother: (2) (6)

     William , died before Margaret was born

     Mary Agnes born 1896 in Dublin

      Janet born 1900 in Shotts, Lanarkshire

     Catherine, born 1902 in Shotts, Lanarkshire

     Sarah, born 1904 in Shotts, Lanarkshire

     Williamina, 12/10/1906, died 1907.

Margarets father, William, was unfit for work due to broncho pneumonia and had to ask for Poor Relief on a number of occasions. He died on 11/08/1906 when Margaret was just eight years old.  Two months later, on 12/10/1906,  her mother , Mary, gave birth to her seventh child, a daughter Williamina. Mary was herself having to ask for poor relief and was twice sent into the poorhouse with her daughters. Williamina, the youngest, died in 1907. (2)

 The family had to move out of their house as it was owned by the Iron Works for workers only. They then moved to Lanark. Margaret moved to Gretna to work in H.M.Factory. (3)


Parents: Father: William Elder , born 1832 at Dolphinton. (2)

                Mother: Mary Smith, born 1870 in Dublin. (2) 

Parent’s occupations: Father was  ? a labourer/ ? book-keeper at Shotts Iron Works(2) (3)

Schools / universities attended and years of attendance:

 Shotts Public School (5)

Lanark High School, 16/09/1907 – 09/04/1908 (5)

 Occupation: N/K

Place of residence at Gretna: N/K

Job title at Gretna: N/K

Marital status: Married

Spouse name (including male name): William James Rumley 1881 – 1961 (1)(3) (6) (7)

Date of marriage: 18/11/1918 (1) (6)

Place/Parish of marriage: St. Johns Church, Collingwood Street, Carlisle (1) (6)


Children:    Janet Mary,  born 1919

                     Agnes May, born 1922  

                     Minnie Margaret born 1925 

                     Orton William Elder born  1927 

                     Lena Yvonne born 1930 

                     Roy Jacob born 1933 

                     Nelda Elizabeth born 

                     James Beverly born 

                    Sheila               (4) (6)    


 Margaret met and married her husband William in Carlisle. He was a soldier with the Canadian Expeditionary Force serving from  14/07/1916 to 24/05/1919.(8)

 After the war, in 1920 they sailed for Montreal and settled in Silverwater, Manitoulin Island, Ontario where they bought a farm. They then went to Great Duck Island on Lake Huron where they were the lighthouse keepers. From There they went to Cape Roberts in the North Channel,  altogether  spending 16 years lighthouse keeping. (3)



Trivia / any other information:

  Margaret died aged 83 years old in Sault Sainte Marie General Hospital, Sunday 22/11/1981. (4)



  • Books published (Title, year of publication, publisher): 
  • Books written about the individual or mentioning the individual (Title, year of publication, publisher): 


  • Blogs about the individual: 
  • Websites about the individual: 

Further links, notes, and comments:

  1. Find my past BMD
  2. Ancestry North Lanarkshire Poor Law Applications
  3. Diary page of Margaret Rumley posted on Ancestry member Trees
  4. Obituary posted on Ancestry Member Trees
  5. Find my past School records
  6. Ancestry Member Trees
  7. Ancestry Find a grave
  8. Ancestry WW1 Canadian Expeditionary Force Personnel Files.


     Diary page (taken from Ancestry)

October 16th, 1980

Dear Diary,

I was born October 15/1898, in the village named Stables, in the town of Shotts, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

My maiden name was Margaret Elizabeth Elder.  My father William Elder was a bookkeeper at the Shotts Iron Works.

My mother was Mary Smith, of the town of Gory in Wexford, Ireland, daughter of Benjamin Arthur Smith, a Professor of Music, at the University of Dublin, where my sister Agnes was born.  Agnes was my oldest sister, in a family of five girls.  My only brother Billie died before I was born.  His name was William.  When I was a little girl, there was a chest of drawers in my room.  One day I discovered a bunch of white tassels, which mother said father had cut off the little white casket, my brother was buried in and brought home to her.   In my young days, ladies did not go to funerals. 

  I remember when father sometimes had to work late, my sister Agnes and I used to take father a lunch.  A gate man used to meet us and take us across the railway tracks to the office.  They used little engines called “Pugs” to move the pig iron, which was about six feet long or so, that was piled in a sandy park and us kids used to play hide and seek there, amongst the piles.

    Near the village where we lived, there was a coal mine, and these men used to wear little pit lamps in their caps. 

Their faces were always black coming out of the pit, and they used to scare us kids.  And I always promised myself I would never marry a coal miner, which I never did.

 After my dad died in 1906, we moved to the town of Lanark, as the house we lived in was a company house, owned by the Shotts Iron Works, and were only rented to the workers of that company.  When we moved to Lanark, Mother went to work in an old ladies home ‘til six at night.  I would get out of school, go home, make beds, wash dishes and get the fire going for mother when she got home.

Agnes, my older sister, had a job with some people who ran a private school for wealthy children whose parents travelled a lot.

   I did pretty good at school, and got an exemption at 13, but had to go two winters to night school to make up for it. 

So by the time I had finished with school, war broke out, and they were calling for girls to work in a munitions plant.

So I joined up, and went to work in a plant at Gretna, where there were bungalows put up by the government to house us girls with an old lady as housekeeper.  You had to be in by 9 o’clock; if you were you got a glass of milk and a cookie; if not – you missed out.  After a few months, they got a shift train running into Carlisle, so my girlfriend and  I got rooms there with an old lady and her daughter about 30 years old, who was hard of hearing, but they were good to us.

It was there I met W. J. Rumley, and later married him in the city of Carlisle, St. James Church, Collingwood Street.  After we were married, we moved to Scrumthroup, down in Lincolnshire.  The people we got rooms with , the name of Strickland.  He was a bell ringer at the Church.  They climbed a tower to the bellfree, where each bell ringer had a rope which he pulled in his turn, which rang out “Sweet Chiming Bell”.  It sounded so nice on a Sunday morning.  There, people also kept chickens, as he had been raised on a farm, he told me, “if you wanted to set a hen you should use all perfectly oval eggs, not one with a peaked shape, as the oval eggs would hatch out pullets, not roosters,” and I guess he was right. 

We stayed there til we got a sailing for Canada on the 24th of May that year.  We arrived in Montreal on the 3rd of June, and stayed at the King Edward Hotel ‘til we got a train next day to Cutler, Ontario, where we got a boat that carried the mail to Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island.  I never knew ‘til then the Manitoulin was an Island.  They carried the mail by horses then.  We stopped at a place called Elizabeth Bay.  At that place my husband had a sister, a Mrs. Jack Williams; her husband had just bought a new Ford car, and he drove us up to Silverwater, to my husbands Mother & Dads place.

We bought a little farm just across the road from his peoples place, that was before we had a telephone.  She would say, “now if you want me for anything just put your dish towel on the gate where I can see it, and I’ll do the same.”  In that way I would always watch the gate for the sign and I would do the same.  They were wonderful old people and she was what they called a Midwife.  She would travel all over the settlement delivering babies, as a Doctor was 28 miles away, and lots of times had to travel up the frozen lake from Gore Bay to Cooks Dock, a couple of miles from our settlement.  After a few years. they built a hospital at a place called Mindemoya, where a Doctor named Davis was in charge.  Then we had a Doctor by the name of Baker came to Gore Bay, and he used to travel in the country to attend his patients.  He attended me when my first baby was born.  We stayed there just a little while then we bought a farm down the road a ways.  Our post office was then called Fernlee P.O., run by my husbands brother Sandy, who also sold his farm and moved to the village of Silverwater and run a harness shop and also repaired shoes.  He left to spend a holiday with his daughter Myrtle in Dundas, where he died.  Shortly after that, we went to keep lighthouse at Great Duck Island, 14 miles out in Lake Huron, then from there to Cape Roberts, another lighthouse in the North Channel.  In all, we spent 16 years lighthouse keeping.  During that time. I taught my children their school work by correspondence from Toronto.  I kept strict school hours, and they never were behind with their work.  My oldest boy is a lighthouse keeper, my next son is a policeman, and my youngest son was Inspector of Lights, who lost his life just recently on the lake, when his boat sank a mile from shore.  I think there were four people aboard.  He came to get me at Sunnybrook Hospital when Dad died; never did I think he would be next.  Sometimes I think we can’t see into the future or we would never live through it.









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