The Broket DNA Project — North American participants
The ancestry of Ronald James Brackett 1927-2013
This page provides:
His marriage certificate described Ronald James Brackett as a Bachelor, aged 23, Logger in the Lumber industry, resident of Pender Island, BC, Canada, place of birth Ganges BC, son of Clifford Ray Brackett and Verna BOWERMAN. The marriage was at 345, West 12 Ave, Vancouver, BC, on 4 Apr 1951.2
Ronald was the son of:
Clifford Raymond Brackett, called Cliff, was born 11 Jul 1892 in BC.4
I was born in Westminster on July 12, 1892 in a house located on 12th Street. I do not remember much about Westminster as we left when I was 4 years old.
Father worked in a monumental shop for Mr. Alex Hamilton who had a place on Pender Island.
Dad purchased 160 acres next to the Hamiltons at Browning Harbour. In the summer of 1896 a scow load of lumber was brought over. The lumber was used to build four houses. We stayed that year and finished the house. Dad went back to work. The houses were all located across the bay.
The Hamilton’s had five children, 4 girls and one boy, our family had seven children four boys and three girls. We all had to walk three miles to school. There were only four families on the island….
We had to row to Saturna island to get our mail at the Post Office. All our groceries were from Mayne Island or Sidney and the only way to get there was by a row boat.
When we first came to the island Japanese were cutting and burning alder to make charcoal, some of the original pits can still be found. Chinese cut firewood and mine props were loaded on ships. These props were used in the old country mines.
Some logging took place near Wallace point in the early days. As many as six oxen used at one time to move the logs to the salt water.
Standing right to left in the picture below are Ross, Cliff, and Alex Brackett and then Jim Hamilton with 4 Hamilton sisters seated in front and the Brackett sister on the far left, c 1908:
Clifford Ray Brackett married Elizabeth Verna BOWERMAN at Breadalbane House, Victoria, BC, Canada on 21 Jul 1917.6 The marriage certificate described him as a Bachelor, aged 25, Forester, resident of Pender Island, BC, Canada, place of birth New Westminster, BC, son of James Alex. Brackett and Margaret THATCHER; and her as a Spinster, aged 19, resident of Pender Island, BC, Canada, place of birth Port Perry, Ontario; both Presbyterian.7 These are Clifford and Elizabeth’s signatures on the certificate:
and the couple with their first child:
Verna Elizabeth Brackett died 17 Nov 1970, in the Lady Minto Hospital, Ganges, Salt Spring Island, aged 72, resident of Pender Island, born 22 May 1898, wife of Clifford Ray Brackett.8
Clifford on his 100th birthday in 1992:
Clifford Raymond was the 2nd son of:
James Alexander, called Alexander, was born 24 Aug 1860,9 in Euphemia, Ontario.10 The 1861 census entry for Euphemia township, Lambton Co, Canada West, recorded Alexander Brackett aged 1 in the one-storied log cabin of Martin Brackett, Farmer, and wife Elzabeth Brackett, aged 24 and 31 respectively, all 3 born in U.C.(Upper Canada).11 The previous census entry was the one-storied log cabin household of Jonathan Brackett, aged 66, Farmer, and wife Mary Brackett, 61, both born in US, with Newman Bracket, 28, Single, Sarah Bracket, 20, and John Brackett, 16, all 3 Single and born in U.C.
James Alexander as a young man:
James Alexander married Margaret THATCHER 23 Dec 1885 in Morpeth, Kent Co, Ontario; James’ occupation: Marble Cutter, Maggie a Spinster:12
Signature of James Alexander on 4 May 1910, aged almost 50, on his father Martin’s Death Certificate:
Two accounts of the lives of the Bracketts and their neighbours vividly describe life on a BC island at the turn of the 19-20th C.13
My first memory of the Brackett Family was in New Westminster before the turn of the century, in the late 1890’s, that is. Mother took her four little girls to visit them in their house somewhere to the west on the hillside, overlooking Lulu Island and the Delta. (New Westminster was all Hillside, sloping up quite steeply from the Fraser River.) Mrs. Brackett had in her garden beds of lovely pansies, which we could hardly keep our hands off. Of course Mother must have restrained us in no uncertain terms. But trust Mrs. Brackett. How it rejoiced our hearts when she said: “Go ahead, children. Pick all you like.” Can you imagine our enthusiastic response? can you imagine how from that moment we all loved Mrs. Brackett? I only hope the pansy beds survived.That was some time before the Big New Westminster Fire of 1898, which swept over a large portion of the city leaving many people homeless, among the Bracketts and ourselves. We were all at Pender at the time with only the few summer clothes and other necessities that we had taken with us. Both families were forced to stay on the Island for the winter.
By that time we had Jim, our only brother, a tiny baby of several months. It was a terrible winter. The cold was intense, and the gales devastating. No wonder the little chap took sick and developed pneumonia. No doctor, no nurse, no telephone! Our poor Mother! But there was Mrs. Brackett, the resourceful little neighbour from across the bay. She braved wind and weather, struggled through the woods, round the head of the harbour to come with her experience and advice. I don’t know what they could do but she gave my Mother comfort and hope. The crisis passed and the baby survived.Mrs. Brackett was a real pal to us youngsters. (no one said “kids” in those days.) It was Cliff’s birthday, July 11th, and Mrs. Brackett had made a cake. But there was washing to do and little water in the well. There was however a good spring round at Pollard’s beach. So it had to be a picnic there for the Brackett boys and the Hamilton girls. Mrs. Brackett build a fire, heated water, did her wash, while we played happily for hours on the beach. Then it was lunch and the cake with lots of crunchy icing on top. What a jolly time! What happy children!Then there was an afternoon on our beach when Mrs. Brackett and Mother sat talking, watching us wading, supposedly only up to our knees. But someone had the idea of rolling logs into the water and riding on them. I am sure our Mothers didn’t realize what was happening, until we were wet, well above our knees. I think Mother would have been angry and packed us up to the house to get dried out, but Mrs. Brackett laughed and said, “Now they’re all wet anyway. Let them play!” Mother had to give in, with parental approval–for once in our young lives anyhow–fully clothed, we straddled our rolly logs with shrieks of pure delight.What a hospitable place the Brackett house was! Everyone seemed to gravitate to it and Mrs. Brackett welcomed us all. It wasn’t the new telephone, for the Bracketts gave house-room to the first telephone on Browning Harbour, nor was it a full cookie-jar, or a coffee pot permanently on the stove. It was genuine, unadulterated hospitality of the Brackett variety.For the Hamiltons, it was always a treat to “go round” to the Bracketts.Of course there was a magnificent swing, where two people could “pump up” to quite dizzy, dangerous heights–and there was The Bell! And this brings me to Mr. Brackett. What an ingenious man he must have been! Long before the advent of the telephone on the Island, the Bracketts had their own private communication system–the Brackett Bell. This was a gong, fashioned with a long piece of steel strung high up between two trees. A metal mallet with a long wooded handle–long enough to reach the ground–was used to strike the steel bar, making a great, resounding clang. One stroke was to summon Mr. Brackett away up in the field–time for lunch or whatever. Two clangs brought the Hamiltons out to the lower orchard gate to hear the message, shouted across the bay. Three strokes, I don’t remember, nor four and five, but everyone at the time was wise to those. On December 31st no one doubted that the New Year had come in when Mr. Brackett, usually an early-to-bed man, stayed up to hammer out twelve good strokes and true. Then I think he also fired off his gun.Did you know that there was an old road from Hope’s to Browning Harbour? It plunged into the woods where the cemetery gate now stands, and, avoiding every rock and tree, never came out until it reached the light of the Hamilton clearing (near the present gas station.) When Mr. Brackett became Road Foreman, all that was changed and we had a Long Stretch, straight as a die, down the section line, the Copeland Stretch to the old Linger Hill. Once more picking up the line, straight on across the valley and so to the Brackett and Hamilton Roads. It is wider today and blacktopped and it goes on and on to places far away but basically it is still Mr. Brackett’s road.Looking back I see in Mr. Brackett a real love for his horses, Jenny and Flora, a magnificent team. They answered to his every word. The Brackett wagon was neighborhood transportation–everyone aboard. Many a happy ride was offered to the Hamilton girls and eagerly accepted. Only once were we sad. That was when the news came of the death of Ross in the First World War. I still see Mr. Brackett, reins in hand, a bit stooped, as he drove us home from the wharf. No word was spoken, only the visible burden of a great and irreparabel loss.No vainglorious pride, but in very deed, the Bracketts had done their bit in the War to end all wars.
There is much more to tell of the friendship between the Brackett and Hamilton families, but I was asked to speak of Mr. and Mrs. Brackett only, so I must stop before you throw me out.One think I would like to add: God bless and prosper all the Brackett Clan! We need more people like them.M.W. Hamilton
2. The Brackett family (Written for Capt. Alex Brackett by Capt. J.T. Hamilton):15Read more
Mr. J.A. Brackett married Miss Margaret Thatcher in the town of Dresden, Kent County, Ontario. When Rose, the eldest of their family, who was killed in World War I, was a baby, they came west and settled in New Westminster. The name “Brackett” goes back to the days of Upper and Lower Canada, Mr. Brackett ‘s great grandfather having been a resident of Upper Canada.
Two more sons were born in New Westminster. Then while the family was summering on Pender Island, whre Mr. Brackett had pre-empted land on the shores of Browning Harbour, the great New Westminster Fire of 1896 destroyed their possessions. Like the Hamilton family, whose possessions suffered a similar fate, they stayed on on the island, becoming permanent residents. The rest of the family – three girls and a boy – arrived later. The original house was built in 1896; this was added to as the family grew. (The house is now being demolished by the youngest son, Lyall, and a modern residence erected, 1961.)
For many years the island residents, particularly those in the Browning Harbour area, had their lives guided to a certain extent by Mr Brackett’s ingenuity. This took the form in the guise of a gong known as “Brackett’s Bell”. This gong consisted of an “T” [misprint for I?] beam about three feet long and 18 inches high. It was hung on chains between two fir trees in the front yard at a height of about 25 feet. An eight pound sledge was the striker. It was so rigged that a person standing on the ground could operate it by pulling on a long pole which was hinged to the hammer handle. The result was a not unmusical note which could be heard for some miles. Every day at noon Mrs. Brackett struck 12 strokes, calling the menfolk of the valley from the fields, or woods, or bay to their respective lunches. Other signals consisting of a certain number of strokes, called individual family members. There was also one signal calling the Hamilton family across the bay into shouted conversation. On the stroke of midnight, each December 31st, the bell rang in the new year which many lusty strokes, accompanied by gun shots; and, weather permitting, there were shouted new year’s greetings exchanged across the bay with the Hamiltons.
Mr. Brackett construct a wonderful swing between the two “bell trees”. This was greatly enjoyed, not only by the family, but by many neighbour youngsters. Also a high bar was rigged nearby. When these amusements palled there was “Dan”, the old white horse who spent his declining years around the yard, and did not seem to mind how many youngsters climbed aboard for a ride. There was an abundance of fruit in the nearby orchard. The prunes especially will long in the memories of those fortunate enough to have eaten them when they were dead ripe.
The Brackett’s water transportation was provided by a 18-foot, double-ended, Columbia River fishing boat. The boys learned the art of handling her under sail in the safe waters of the harbour. When Mr. Brackett was working at the Taylor quarry at Potato Bay on Saturna Island the boys rowed or sailed over many times to bring him home on weekends.
A very fine young team replaced “old Dan”. A Clydesdale mare named Flora, and a solid, sharp eared ?Pereberott named Jennie. Under Mr. Brackett’s guidance the team became wonderfully well trained, obedient animals. They did a great deal of work in the clearing of new fields, hauling logs from the woods, as well as the usual farm chores. They also provided power for the wheeled transportation, and on a few memorable occasions, when there was sufficient snow, pulled a great sled packed with straw, and loaded with family and neighbours, over the Island roads, to the accompaniment of sleigh bells and a suitable songs. No doubt these occasions, though few in number, brought back memories of their young days in Ontario to Mr and Mrs Brackett.
James and Margaret in later life:
James Alexander Brackett died 25 Oct 1929, Victoria, BC, aged 69;16 and Margaret died 15 Apr 1945 on Pender Island, BC, aged 81 (born 17 Aug 1864).17 The 1861 census entry above shows that Alexander was the son of Martin and Elizabeth Brackett:
The 1861 census entry for Euphemia township, Lambton Co, Canada West, recorded Martin Brackett, Farmer, and wife Elzabeth Brackett, aged 24 and 31 respectively, both born in U.C.(Upper Canada). The previous census entry was the one-storied log cabin household of Jonathan Brackett, aged 66, Farmer, and wife Mary Brackett, 61, both born in US, with Newman Bracket, 28, Single, Sarah Bracket, 20, and John Brackett, 16, all 3 Single and born in U.C.18
From this it appears that Martin was b c 1837, a son of Jonathan and Mary Brackett. For Jonathan and Mary’s family and his earlier ancestry, see this separate page. After Christopher, Jonathan’s father, none of this Brackett line featured in the 1907 Brackett genealogy.
Martin married Elizabeth FERRIS who lived 1828-1875. On 10 Jun 1880 the census recorded what looks like Martin Bracket, aged 42, born in Canada, as also both his parents, Farmer, in Hopkins, Allegan Co, Michigan; with wife Laura, aged 43, born in Ohio; 2 stepdaughters Edna and Amy NELSON, aged 14 and 9 and born in NY and MI respectively; and a six month old daughter Irene Bracket, born in December in Michigan.19
In 1887 both Martin Bracket and John Bracket were mentioned as siblings of Newman Bracket of Euphemia in his Will.20
Martin’s Death Certificate recorded his death on 3 May 1910 on Pender Island, Victoria, BC, aged 74, Farmer, Baptist, born in Bothwell, Ontario. This would place his birth c 1836.
Comparing 37 markers, the following matches were recorded for Ronald in the FTDNA database (Genetic Group 3), as of Apr 2018:
Genetic Distance 1
William Leroy BROCKETT 1925-2008.
Discussion: This is interesting. William Leroy, son of Richard, both lifetime residents of New Haven, traced their descent from John Brockett of New Haven, the original immigrant. The ancestry of both Harold E and Ronald has been traced back to Christopher Brockett/Brackett as 3rd cousins. Christopher apparently descended from a different grandson of John Brockett of New Haven. This would make Harold E and Ronald 6th cousins of William Leroy. The single-marker mismatch is between Ronald and the other two. The other two, even though more distantly related, have an exact match. No mutation therefore occurred in 7 or more generations between Harold E and William Leroy. The mutation occurred between Harold E and Ronald after the grandson of Christopher, i.e. within the last 3 generations. See the image at the top of the separate page.
Genetic Distance 2
William H BROCKETT 1914-88.
Harold H BROCKETT 1921-2001.
Genetic Distance 3
Page Last Updated: April 7, 2020