|Bill Jr. back 2nd from left|
William Massey born 1916 and died 1984. He was a bachelor who lived in the sleepy town of St. Mary's Ontario his entire life. I'll call him Bill Jr.
His uncle Bill Massey was born 1894 and died in 1967. He too was a bachelor who to our knowledge never left St. Mary's. Let's call him Bill Sr.
|Bill Massey Sr.|
When Bill Jr. died in 1984 his brother Mike cleared out Bill's house and found two objects which he gave to my husband (Bill's brother's grandson). Mike did not know where one of the items came from or why his brother had it but he knew that the second item belonged to their uncle Bill who was born in 1894. Mike did not know why his Uncle Bill (Sr.) had this particular item.
2. A watch fob with a two annas coin from India dated 1897. On the reverse of the coin is a shamrock with a green stone. The shamrock has been soldered on. Not known if it was ever owned by Bill Sr.
The gun would have been an unusual gun to find in North America years ago. As far as we can find out they were never sold commercially in this country. This gun was basically only used by the Polish Army, the Russian Army and some European Police Forces so it is curious how it ended up in the sleepy little town of St. Mary's Ontario.
Neither of the uncles (Bill Sr. or Bill Jr.) ever traveled overseas as far as we can determine. Bill Sr. born in 1894 would have been too young to be the original owner of the gun. Did it belong to his father Thomas Massey?
Also noteworthy perhaps is the fact that Uncle Bill Sr, the man who we know the gun once belonged to, was 18 when his father Thomas died. It might make sense that a gun belonging to his dad would be given to him as a memento. But the puzzle remains - how was the gun obtained and by who? And... do the watch fob and India coin go with the gun? In other words were they owned by the same man?
I should also mention that neither of the Bills collected antiques or were sentimental. They had no other family treasures in their homes. So why keep this gun and watch fob?
The Massey family were not wealthy. They were not sophisticated. They didn't travel. They were hard-working labourers who lived and died in St. Mary's. The Massey family history was passed down, any heirlooms were also passed down and treasured and family stories known and told about each member of the family. But nothing was ever heard of any of the family going off on an adventure or joining the army and leaving Canada.
Did one of the Massey men win these items in a poker game? Bill Sr. was a barber and perhaps one of his customers paid for their haircut and shave with the gun. We have no clues and no idea as to what the story is. But we think there just might be an adventure related to these items and waiting to be found.