by Ethel Emily (Williams) Day ~ Introduction
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Ethel and Bill Day had four children: Estella, (1907-1984), Ida, Bill and Harry. Stella was in high school when the family moved from Guelph to Bradford, Ontario where her father was a prime mover in draining the Holland Marsh. After attending Normal School and teaching in a one room school, ‘Stella took physical education at McGill and Ida, home economics at MacDonald College. Except when the boys fought in World War II, all but ‘Stella lived their whole lives in Southern Ontario. Ida survived the longest, living until 2002.

Sheila Elizabeth (Caughey) Washburn gave this introduction as a prelude to a reading of her grandmother's poetry at an anniversary party of a Branch of the New Brunswick Women's Institute in 2003.


  • Ethel was my grandmother, my mother’s mother. I only remember meeting her once, but she may have held me as an infant.
  • 100 years ago Ethel Emily Williams was being courted by William Nathan Day.
  • She was one of five daughters of a farmer in Puslinch County, 45 minutes west of Toronto.
  • My mother Estella Marjorie was her first child. ‘Stella married a New Brunswicker and moved here in depression times. When I was three Ethel became a widow.
  • After World War II, Ethel visited New Brunswick. She said she hoped to experience a good sea breeze and the obliging storm blew our back porch off.
  • From 1967 to 1973 my husband I lived in Guelph where two of our children were born. While there I went to a WI meeting with a friend of my mother and grandmother’s.
  • The Women’s Institute had as little effect on my grandmother’s housekeeping skills as it has had on mine.
  • Ethel was the grandmother who bragged that her favourite household chores were airing beds and soaking pots and pans.
  • My mother said that Ethel never learned to cook well. Bill Day knew she couldn’t cook when he married her and he married her anyway, so there was no reason to change.
  • What my grandmother really enjoyed was writing poetry. You might be interested in hearing some of her poems.
  • Perhaps many years ago and far away these were once read to another WI gathering.
  • Ethel Day died in 1952, outliving her husband Bill by about 13-14 years.
  • My brother Michael Caughey and I are two of Ethel and Bill’s nine grandchildren all of whom are scattered across Canada.

Page updated on January 1, 2008     ©Copyright Sheila Washburn 2006