William Menzies Duff (1849-1920) was the son of my 3x great-grandfather, the Reverend William Duff, about whom I’ve written before. He was the brother-in-law of my great-great-grandfather Reverend John Forrest. William was born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on 27 Jan 1849, the second of seven children born to Rev. Duff and his wife Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks.
He is listed with his father and siblings in the 1871 Census for Lunenburg. His mother had died in 1856 when William was 7 years old. On 6 Mar 1877 he married Elizabeth Harriet “Bessie” Hunter (1852-1909), the daughter of Robert Hunter and Elizabeth Jane Smith. William is listed as a merchant on the marriage record.
The Duffs had six children: William Fairbanks Duff, Jean Hunter Duff, Prescott Blagdon Duff, Robert Hunter Duff, Kenneth Gordon Duff, and Annie F Duff. Robert was a private in the 2nd Canadian Pioneer Battalion, and was “struck in the head and knee by enemy shrapnel near Hill 70” and was killed in action near Lens, France during the First World War in 1817.
Robert Duff Death and Burial Record, 1917
The Duff family lived in Bridgewater, near Lunenberg in Nova Scotia from 1881 through 1911 where William worked as an Accountant. Bessie died in 1909, and William is found in the 1916 Census for Winnipeg, listed as a widowed, retired lodger. He died in Bridgewater on 23 Aug 1920, and was buried in Brookside Cemetery.
My cousin Catherine Duff, a descendant of William’s son Prescott Blagdon Duff, was kind enough to send me several family photos. I thought I’d put them here with her captions.
William Menzies Duff, c 1885
Elizabeth Harriet Duff (nee Hunter) with son William Duff c1885
Elizabeth Harriet Duff née Hunter c1880
Family of William Menzies Duff
“Standing back: William (Bill), Gordon, Jean; Seated: Elizabeth Harriet Duff, Robert (Bob), Ann, William Menzies Duff; Seated front: Prescott Blagdon Duff (my grandfather)”
“Picture at Hunter House 1933: Prescott Blagdon Duff (left), Maggie Duff and Bella Duff (not sure of order), George Forrest (right).” Maggie and Bella Duff were sister of William Menzies Duff. George Munro Forrest was William’s nephew, the son of my great-great-grandfather John Forrest and his wife Annie Prescott Duff.
“Picture at Hunter House 1933: Jean Forrest, Agatha Forrest (née McLeod) and Marion Louise Duff (née Tanton, bottom, wife of Prescott Blagdon Duff)”. Jean Fairbanks Forrest was the sister of my great-great-grandfather John Forrest, and Agatha was the wife of George Munro Forrest (pictured above).
This is an interesting document. It’s a poem written by William Menzies Duff in January 1901 on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s death and King Edward VII’s ascension to the throne:
Lines suggested by the
Death of Queen Victoria and Accession of Edward VII
The Queen is dead! And long live the King!
‘Tis ours to bear the oft repeated cry
Replace the echo of vanished years,
Marking an epic on an Empire’s chart.
Victoria the Great and Good is dead;
For her whose virtues sanctified a throne,
Gaining her subject’s love – a world’s esteem.
Since first this world from dark chaos emerged,
And man elected to obey man’s rule
Ne’er saw she such an Empire – such a Queen,
The virtues of whose life and reign outshone
The blazing lustre of her jeweled Crown;
Whose Sceptre wielded by her royal hand,
Freedom and Justice gave throughout the land.
God gave her length of days and long to reign
O’er countless millions of the human race;
Her task completed, now she hears th’acclaim:
“Well done!” In presence of the King of Kings,
Angels and Sainted ones the tribute raise –
True Woman! Peerless Empress! Stainless Queen!
Hail Edward Seventh! Of illustrious line,
Accept the homage of an Empire’s sons;
Thy rightful claim to Greater Britain’s throne
Is sacred through the Royal Mother’s dower.
On this the dawn of a New Century,
Most noble Prince! thy destiny takes shape,
Not one, but Races, thou are called to rule,
And, Sire! we trust thee with and Empire’s fate.
As Prince, thine honoured course, long years, we’ve marked,
Pronounced thee Worthy to receive the Crown;
As King, we deem thee nobly brave to stand
“In that fierce light, which beats upon a throne”.
Progress, throughout the Grand Victorian Age,
The Watchword was of Britain’s wide domain:
Guard well, Oh King! thy rich inheritance;
So Liberty shall keep what she has won.
And that bright Jewel, which is thine and ours,
The people’s idol, Alexandra, Queen,
Thy noble Consort, Denmark’s fairest flower!
May God his riches gifts on her outpour,
Changing all grief to joy, in this sad hour.
Bridgewater, N.S. January 22, 1901.