Iva & Bill Foxon

Iva Jennie Blight was born on July 4, 1900 at home in Oakville, Manitoba and died 1964 in Gladstone, Manitoba.  She married John William (William) Herbert Foxon on April 5, 1918.  He was born on November 6, 1889 in Ashby Parva, Leicestershire, England and died January 1974.

Iva grew up on the Blight farm and attended school in Oakville.  She then took a homemaking course at the Agriculture College in Winnipeg.  She married William Foxon who had made Oakville district his home after moving from England a few years previously.  When he was old enough to be on his own, he considered either Australia or Canada as far away fields that sounded promising.  Apparently Canada sounded the greener of the two as this was his choice.

After a long, seasick voyage, he arrived in Oakville, Manitoba in 1915 where he was to be employed at the Holliday Farm approximately three miles from the railroad depot.  While walking this three miles by foot past several farms enroute to Holliday's, one of the farm ladies spread the word that Holliday's 'weren't getting much for a hired man as he was using a walking stick'.  It was customary in England for a gentleman to use a walking stick and William was also most always seen in suit pants and a suit vest though he was a farmer by occupation. 

He worked at Holliday's for two years.  Then he was employed at the George Blight farm.  Here, he met Iva.

Iva and William started married life on a farm a short distance from the George Blight farm in the Oakville district.  By this time, his farm work had earned him some of the bare necessities such as horses and some machinery.  Along with the wedding gifts that were customary at that time such as a cow, setting hens, etc, they were in business for themselves.  

On this farm, most of the land still remained to be broken.  However, they set about doing this and also built a new house.  Breaking and working land with horses seemed a difficult job in the heavy Oakville soil.  Reports of the lighter and easier to work soil in the Gladstone area appealed to them so in 1920, they purchased a farm in Golden Stream, Manitoba which is near Gladstone. 

Arriving with Iva and William was an infant son, Laurence George, who had been born in Oakville on November 13, 1919.  Later, two brothers, John Hugh born November 18, 1925 and Leslie William born October 2nd, 1928, completed their family.

Farming during that period provided the gambles so common to many such as high priced seed and then at harvest, a low priced product.  Luckily, Iva and Bill had a bumper crop their first year, but, unfortunately a large portion of it was stolen enroute for sale as holes were found bored in the bottom of the train car.  Later there were dry years, then rust in the crops, and horses dying from swamp fever.  Despite these problems, common to many farmers of that time, the farm flourished enough to purchase one of the first threshing outfits in the area.

Mixed farming was necessary to make a living on the farm.  Cows were milked, cream made into butter, as well as being shipped to the creamery.  Hens were bought and eggs sold with chickens, turkeys, and pigs providing food for the family.  In the 1930's, Iva switched from making the cream into butter, to making the whole milk into cheddar cheese with a cheese press made for her by her brother, Wilfred.  The cheese press is in the Gladstone museum today.

Iva was a very slim lady who moved and did everything very quickly!  She could produce a full course meal at a moment's notice and meals were always on the table promptly at mealtime.  The grandkids remember helping her pick gooseberries and saskatoons...and the delicious jams and jellies made from these.  Big batches of tomato butter were made after the tomato harvest as roast beef was always served with tomato butter and Yorkshire pudding at the Foxon home.

Iva was well known for her needlework.  We still remember the rapid click of her knitting needles as those 4 needles produced a sock in a very short time.  Many mittens and socks were made for the Red Cross as well as family members and friends.

Iva loved to read and had a small library of her own.  She often bought books as birthday gifts and Betty (Foxon) Hill, Iva's first grandchild, received her set of Anne of Green Gables books and the Pollyanna books this way.  Betty remembers being encouraged by Iva to use the Pollyanna approach to life and always find something to be glad about in every situation and this motto was demonstrated by Iva in her own life.

Another favorite time spent with our grandparents was time spent gathered around the piano.  Grandma (Iva) Foxon played well and taught us to sing her favorite songs and hymns.

Regardless of so called hard times, many good times were spent in the presence of friends and family.  All were welcomed at the Foxon home, even strangers needing a meal or place to sleep were welcomed and given what could be spared.

Iva had a mischievous side and Ellen and Betty remember Iva suggesting and helping them to rig up and short sheet Uncle Les's bed.  She enjoyed a few pranks!!

Iva was active in the local Ladies Aid and later in W.M.S. and other organizations within the church and community.  She was able to enjoy a few years of the joys of being a grandmother until her short illness and unexpected death in 1964.  She was greatly missed and loved by her family!!!

Children of Iva Blight and William Foxon are:

Laurence (Laurie) George Foxon (1919 - 2006 )
John (Jack) Hugh Foxon (1925 - 2007 )
Leslie (Les) William Foxon b.1928

          The Foxon Family:  Laurie, Iva, Bill, Jack & Les                                                                 Bill & Iva Foxon Circa 1961

/by Betty (Foxon) Hill