The Reffell Family in 1911

A snapshot in time on Sunday 2 April 1911

One Hundred Years ago...

A comprehensive survey of the Reffell family of one hundred years ago..


Canada carried out its fifth census in 1911, which showed that it was a country with a population of 7,206,643 which was a massive 34% more than in 1901. However this overall figure hides much larger swings in each province. The Yukon & the Northwest Territories for example had lost nearly 70% of their population in that time, whereas others such as Saskatchewan & Albert had gains of over 400%. However with over 63% of the population, then as now, the provinces of Quebec and Ontario contained most of the people in Canada.

There is only one person with the Reffell surname listed in the entire 1911 Canadian census. Henry Waghorn Reffell from the Bermondsey branch had emigrated to Canada on the SS Peruvian in November 1867, with his wife Jane Williamson Meachem and their three children; Arthur Henry, Annie Louise & Charles James. They set up home in Bowmanville on the shores of Lake Ontario, north east of Toronto. Henry Waghorn died aged 41 in 1885 apparently after falling down some stairs, and by 1900 Jane had moved to Los Angeles California with the two eldest children. She is shown there in the USA 1910 census, but was to die later that year.

Charles James Reffell remained in Canada and is shown in 1911 as a boarder at a hotel in North Oxford Ontario. He was employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a brakesman, and his religion is shown as presbyterian. He would marry Gladys White in 1914 and have at least two children, so there are probably descendents living in the Ontario area today.