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The Balch Family (Ellen Blight)

                                      The William Balch Family
(picture believed to have been taken after the funeral of William Balch, 1905)
Back Row:  James, Francis, George, Jack, Louisa
Middle Row:  Polly, Ellen (Blight) Balch, Bessie
Front Row:  Jessie, Margaret, Arthur

Ellen Blight [1865-1913] was the youngest child born to James and Dolly Blight of Merton, Devon, England. In the 1881 census, she was listed as a domestic laborer [at age 15]. We don't know a lot more about her. She is buried in the Blight plot at Merton, Devon.


She married William Balch [1865-1905] on May 3, 1884. They had ten children, six daughters and four sons.  Two of the boys emigrated to Canada; James and Arthur.


James [1891-1953] married Frances Trace [1907-1998] in England in 1927. Their son, David, was born in Merton. Devon [1928]. They all moved to Canada in 1930. A daughter, Marie, was born in 1942. After James' death, Frances married Stan Sharp in 1955.


Jim was a mechanic in the Merton Garage and delivered mail for his sister who ran the Merton Post Office.  He came to Portage la Prairie and worked on the Bray farm in 1917 and 1918.  Jim made several trips back to England before inheriting with his brother, Art, some land south of Portage which was owned by an Uncle, Elias (Eli) Blight.  The Census of 1911 shows Jim lived on the farm at 2-11-5 southwest of Oakville, Manitoba with his Uncle Eli, Aunt Agnes and their daughter Ida May Blight.  (Note:  Elias Blight was also an uncle to George Blight of Oakville, Manitoba.) 


David Albert married [1953] Shirley Arthur [1934-2012]. Together they raised eight children-- Elaine [Bill] Beam; Linda; Lorraine; Albert [Lorene]; Eric [Sandra], Anita; Alison [Gerald] Sandney & Patrick [Kris].


Marie Annie married Lloyd Gemmell in 1969 and they had 2 children:  Rob [Anita] and Loralee [Brad] Orr.

Blights and Balches


Back Row:  David & Shirley Balch, Irene Blight, Jim Blight (with Bubble Suds, the dog)

Middle Row:  James & Frances Balch, Annie Blight

Front Row:  Marie Balch, Evelyn Blight

Arthur [1901-1981] also came to Canada. He made two trips to Canada before beginning farming.  He married Ethel Bugg [1917-1993] in 1942. Together, on just 80 acres of land, they raised their five children:  Kenneth [1943], Donavon [1945-2013]; Calvin [1948]; Viola [1950] and Betsy [1952].


/by Marie (Balch) Gemmell with excerpts added from 'Building Memories'