Great-Great Grandfather Robert Fenwick Lipsett

Robert Fenwick Lipsett (whose name I love, by the way) was born on January 23, 1866 in Manchester, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, to Robert Bruce Lipsett and Christina McMaster. He was the fifth of eight children and the third son.

Robert married Sarah Sophia O’Brien (who went by her middle name) on January 18, 1893 in Manchester by a Methodist minister. Prior to marrying Sophia, Robert was a member of the Church of England, like his father (his mother was a Methodist).

Throughout his life, Robert’s occupation was pretty much the same: sailor/mariner/seaman. He was of good height (5’11”) and had blue eyes. I can almost picture what he may have looked like as he went about his hard work at sea. (Alas, I have no pictures of him!)

The children born to Robert and Sophia were mostly reviewed here, but below is a summary of them:

  • Eva Christina, born November 7, 1893
  • Beryl Sophia, born January 17, 1896
  • Leona Carolyn, born 1898, died 1900
  • William Croft, born August 29, 1900, died 1904
  • Claude Stanley, born December 18, 1902

Sometime between 1901 and 1902, the Lipsett family moved to Guysborough, where Claude was born. One by one, each child grew up and moved away, Claude being the last in 1923. With an empty nest, Robert and Sophia moved to Halifax, Halifax County, Nova Scotia, sometime between 1921 and 1932.

On July 23, 1932, Sophia died at home (110 Chiebrieto Road, Halifax) of chronic valvular [something?]. It doesn’t seem that Robert stayed in that home alone very long. By 1935, he was living with his daughter Eva Atwell, at least part of the time. There are some passenger lists that show him traveling from Halifax to Boston or the Port of Calais, Maine, so perhaps he went back and forth with the changing of the seasons. After all, his daughter Beryl still lived in Nova Scotia.

I was excited to find Robert listed on the 1940 Census as part of a three-generation household in Lynn, MA: himself, his daughter Eva & her husband Thomas F. Atwell, and his grandchildren Thomas II and Eugenie (with her husband George Edmund Pleau). The household became four generations in late 1941 when my father was born, and Robert rejoined the family from Nova Scotia in October. Eventually, Robert’s Nova Scotia home became Manchester again.

The end of Robert’s life was similar to so many in their advanced years. On November 21, 1847, he fell down the stairs at home in Manchester and suffered such trauma to his spinal cord that he became a paraplegic. He spent the rest of his life in St. Martha’s hospital in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, finally passing away on February 19, 1948. He was buried with his wife and two small children in Evergreen Cemetery, Aspen, Nova Scotia.

Great-Great Uncles and Aunts via Eva Lipsett

Although my great-grandmother Eva (Lipsett) Atwell died before I was born, two of her four siblings’ lives overlapped mine.

The first was Beryl Sophia Lipsett, who was born on January 17, 1896 in Guysborough, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. Beryl never married, but later became a principal of a school in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. She maintained her ties with her sister Eva and Eva’s family as she seemed to visit Lynn, Massachusetts just about every Christmas in the 1930’s. Although she died on March 11, 1971, I have no specific memories of Beryl. She is buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Aspen, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, alongside her parents, Robert Fenwick Lipsett and Sarah Sophia O’Brien.

Beryl Lipsett + Eugenie (Atwell) Pleau, 1953.  Author's collection.

Beryl Lipsett + Eugenie (Atwell) Pleau, 1953. Author’s collection.

The next two children died so young, there are barely any records of them. Leona Carolyn Lipsett was born in 1898 and died in 1900. I couldn’t find any birth or death records for her online; the only evidence I’ve found of her is her burial with her family at Evergreen Cemetery.

William Croft Lipsett was born on August 29, 1900. Like Leona, I could not find a birth or death record. William was actually recorded on the 1901 Census, but died three years later in 1904. He, too, is buried at Evergreen.

Snippet of William Croft Lipsett in 1921 Canada Census.  Courtesy

Snippet of William Croft Lipsett in 1921 Canada Census. Courtesy

The baby of the family was Claude Stanley Lipsett, born December 18, 1902 in Guysborough, Nova Scotia. According to the 1940 U.S. Census, he completed four years of high school. Not long after he finished school, Claude sought other opportunities where his oldest sister lived. In 1923 he immigrated out of Port of St John New Brunswick and headed to Boston. He later married fellow Nova Scotian Clara MacWhinnie about 1928. Claude and Clara lived in Lynn, and Claude worked as a machinist in a die manufacturing company. For some reason, they had no children, but they were definitely involved in Eva’s descendants’ lives. I remember Claude especially at my grandmother’s (his niece) Christmas parties. What I remember most about Claude that he was very hard of hearing (maybe due to his work?); we always had to shout at him to be heard. His wife Clara passed away in 1976, but Claude lived on for many years until February 27, 1991. Both are buried with her parents in Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Claude Lipsett, 1965 (sadly, the best picture I have of him).  Author's collection.

Claude Lipsett, 1965 (sadly, the best picture I have of him). Author’s collection.