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A Tale of Two Travellers

Ted and Marjorie Capstick

Circa 1918

When their father, Robert Capstick, originally from Lockeport, NS, died in Vancouver in March 1914, Ted (Edward Alfred) & Marjorie Capstick (and possibly their older brother Robert) were sent to relatives in Nova Scotia. On the remarriage of their mother, Jessie Eugenie (Silver) Capstick, in November 1916, the children were sent back to Vancouver. Jessie died of pulmonary TB in September 1917, and Ted and Marjorie were again sent East, on their own except for the help of the Travellers Aid Society, to their uncle, George Capstick, who was manager of the Royal Bank in Sherbrooke, NS. The children, aged 11 and 9, arrived by train at the North Station on the 5th of December 1917.

Halifax Explosion Site
Because they had to wait for the coastal ship to take them to Sherbrooke, Ted and Marjorie spent the night of December 5 and the early hours of December 6 in the Fultz boardinghouse on Gottingen Street--just south of North Street. When the Imo and Mont Blanc collided in Halifax Harbour shortly after 9 a.m. on December 6, Ted and Marjorie were still in bed in the area of the city that was virtually flattened by the resulting explosion (The North Station was destroyed). Had it not been for the unusual cold of the night, they may well have been victims of the disaster; however, the landlady, Mrs. Fultz, had protected them against the cold (and ultimately, the explosion) by hanging a blanket over the window. They awoke to the sound of the explosion and the cold with the blanket and shards of glass from the window covering them. Uninjured, Ted and Marjorie were evacuated from the area to Citadel Hill and were eventually transported safely to their new home in Sherbrooke.

Marjorie, a graduate of the Normal School in Truro, died of TB in Lockeport, NS, in December 1930; Ted, my father, joined the Royal Bank at Sherbrooke at the age of 15 and retired as manager of the Glace Bay branch in 1966.

My father didn't talk about his experience in the Halifax Explosion. This account was provided by my mother, Lillian Kathleen (Livingston) Capstick, herself a survivor of the disaster. ( She and her sister Florence were pupils at Oxford School and were standing around the perimiter of the room for Catechism when the collision occurred; they were only slightly injured by small splinters of glass, although some of their classmates were seriously hurt in the evacuation of the school, and the seat where Florence could have been sitting was ripped out of the floor.)

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Page updated 6 December 1997
Revised 10 January 1998

Copyright © 1996, 1997 E.A.Capstick
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Created December 1996

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