Skip to content

Catharine Gardiner and Ralph Horatio Sherwood

Catharine married Ralph Horatio Sherwood on July 25, 1910 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Their story is marked by tragedy.
Catharine Gardiner was born on January 1, 1890, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, her father, Samuel Gardiner (1859-1914) was 30 and her mother, Teresa (née Stevens) (1861-1921), was 28. She had two brothers and six sisters. Catharine married Ralph Horatio Sherwood on July 25, 1910 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Ralph Horatio Sherwood was born on May 24, 1889, in Lockport, New York, USA when his father, Horatio Wheeler Sherwood (1856-1926), was 33, and his mother, Emily (née Wilson) (1860-1920) was 29. He had two brothers and one sister.
Ontario Marriage Registration (image via
The marriage record indicates that Ralph was in the “Theatrical Profession” and Catharine (here spelled with an “e” instead of an “a” as in her birth registration), was a clerk. It also suggests that Samuel was a Superintendent (unknown at this time what that refers to). The couple had one son:
  • Samuel James Sherwood (1912-1939)
The next record we find of the couple is Samuel’s birth record on September 3, 1912. The record mistakenly lists Catharine as “Cathleen I.” (A further document suggests that her middle name was Isabelle, but this name does not appear on her birth registration. It’s possible that she was baptized Catharine Isabelle, and the name doesn’t appear on the birth registration.) The birth was registered in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where Catharine’s parents were living, but appears to have occurred at the Salvation Army Hospital in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I have found no record of this hospital, and it doesn’t appear to exist in present day.
Ontario Birth Registration (image via
In 1917, Ralph is listed in a city directory for Niagara Falls living with his mother, Emily and his brother, Otto at 312 Ferry Avenue. It is assumed that Catharine was also living in the home but not listed because she is a non-working female (Emily may have been listed because she was the owner of the home.) The address appears to be a parking lot at present.
Niagara Falls New York City Directory, 1917 (image via
A draft registration for Ralph dated June 1917 has a home address of 1345 Price Avenue in Niagara Falls. It appears he did not serve in WWI.
US Draft Registration (image via
The 1920 US Census suggests that Catharine became a naturalized American citizen after emigrating in 1907 (prior to her marriage but clearly before Samuel’s birth when they were in Ontario). Ralph’s job is still Silver Worker, and Catharine isn’t working, presumably at home with seven-year-old Samuel (named after his paternal grandfather). Samuel is listed on the next page.
1920 US Census (image via
They’re found again in 1925 living at 1311 13th Street in Niagara Falls, New York, which is also where they hosted the marriage of Miss Myrtle Weintraub and J. Everett Brosniham as related in the Gazette on July 9, 1925.
1925 New York State Census (image via
a home near 1311 13th Street, Niagara Falls, NY (image via GoogleMaps)
Niagara Falls Gazette July 9, 1925
An account of Catharine’s death is found in the Buffalo Evening News on April 5, 1928 and similar reports appeared in the Niagara Falls Gazette, Geneva Daily Times and the Lockport Union Sun Times (where it merited front-page coverage). The reports suggest that the evening of April 3rd, Catharine was distraught, having just a week before complained of domestic battery. Ralph was arrested at the time for third-degree assault, but Catharine did not appear to see the charges through the next morning and he was released. The Police Justice DID order that Ralph keep away from the house and had to pay maintenance for Catharine.
Buffalo Evening News, April 5, 1928
The newspaper account is very explicit about the nature of her death (suicide) in the family home on Thirteenth Street. It is likely that either Amy or Marion were living with Catharine, and it appears that one of them discovered her body early in the morning of April 4th. This article lists her name with an “e” instead of an “a” and the Gazette suggests that her middle name was Isabelle. Catharine is buried at Riverdale Cemetery after Funeral Services on April 5th. On the April 1930 US Census, Ralph is living with his brother Otto, and is listed as a widower. They’re at 1017 20th Street in Niagara Falls, New York. The record also suggests he’s changed jobs and is now selling pianos.
Image via
A January 28, 1930 Niagara Falls Gazette article suggests that Ralph had a car accident that required the attendance of a physician.
Niagara Falls Gazette, January 28, 1930
This was not the first car accident that Ralph had—a December 5, 1923 article suggest that he seriously injured a pedestrian. There are no further articles describing any other details (or charges), so it’s likely that this was an accident. You’ll note that we’ve seen the Ferry Street address before—that’s where he lived with his mother prior to the marriage.
Niagara Falls Gazette, December 5, 1923
Samuel is not living with Ralph and Otto in 1930. We find him instead at the Niagara County Tuberculosis Sanatorium. A relative confirms that he was stricken with the disease. We next find a record of Samuel crossing the border in August 1930 to visit his uncle, Frederick Gardiner in Hamilton, Ontario. He must have recovered sufficiently to be working—he’s listed as having “odd jobs”. Frederick’s daughter Jean believed it unlikely that Samuel had an extended visit. She would have been in the home at the time doesn’t have any memory of it.
1930 Border Crossing

I ran Sam’s photo through the MyHeritage Deep Nostalgia app and it came up with this clip, showing what Sam would have looked like.

The Lockport Union Sun and Journal ran an article about Samuel Sherwood‘s untimely death at the age of 27. It suggests that he’d been ill for 11 years prior and was still living in the Sanatorium. Samuel died on October 10, 1939 and like his mother, Sam is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Lewiston (also where his grandmother, Emily (Wilson) Sherwood is buried). His father was living at 348 First Street in Niagara Falls.

Lockport Union Sun and Journal, October 13, 1939
A 1942 Draft Registration Card for Ralph shows two addresses, 28 Grant Street North in Tonawanda, and 416 First Street in Niagara Falls. His next of kin is listed as his sister Gertrude Walker. On March 1, 1944, the Niagara Falls Gazette records a party thrown by his brother Otto Sherwood to celebrate Ralph’s marriage to Alice Pattenden. A matching marriage record has been located for January first of that year.
Niagara Falls Gazette, March 1, 1944
The second Mrs. Sherwood died on September 29, 1967. The couple is living at 371 8th Street in Niagara Falls at the time.
Niagara Falls Gazette, October 1, 1967
In 1968, Ralph is in the news again—this time having escaped a fire in his apartment.
Niagara Falls Gazette, February 25, 1968
Ralph Sherwood was 75 when he died in Buffalo, New York. His obituary suggests he retired from his job as a guard at Goodyear Tire in 1966. He’s buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls Gazette, January 10, 1972
Main image: Samuel James Sherwood


AG Knapper

AG Knapper

AG has been researching her family tree since 2004, and it now includes over 7,000 ancestors and their descendants. She aspires to permanently record the stories before they're lost to time. Do you want to read her latest research? Use this link to sign-up for a weekly newsletter so you never miss a story! Do you know this family? Comment below or use the contact form and help make these stories richer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

On Key

Recent Posts

Copyright AGWKnapper © 2022
Website design