Ross was born in 1898, the son of Archie Oatman and Frankie Smith and they lived in Tillsonburg, Ontario. In 1909, his family moved to Milwaukee, WI.He may have lived briefly with his grandmother, Almira. As a young man, he served in the military during the First World War. His family moved to Victoria, BC. where he began working for the Royal Bank. He moved to the north coast of BC and there he met and married Wilma Powell in 1931 in Anyox, BC. They had three daughters, Frances (1932), Marilyn (1934) and Irene (1936). They continued to live on the north coast of BC, in Anyox and Stewart where he began his career with the Provincial Government. They then moved to Grand Forks and later Kelowna, BC. Ross passed away in 1976.
E. Ross Oatman
written by Marilyn Marshall
Elmer Ross Oatman was born June 4th, 1898 at Tillsonburg, Ontario. He grew up playing hockey with his brothers on the frozen ponds in the area. Two of his brothers made it to the NHL and Ross played hockey and baseball too.
When the First World War broke out he joined up with the 228 Battalion of the Northern Fusiliers. He was the paymaster and played in the military band and sounded the Last Post at many Remembrance Day ceremonies and for Legion Funerals for many years.
When he came home his brother Eddie was Captain of and playing hockey for Victoria, BC in the Coast League so Ross packed up his Mother and Grandmother in Ontario and moved them to Victoria too. Ross worked for the Bank and joined the Victoria Moose Band and played baseball and tennis.
Ross moved to Alice Arm, north of Prince Rupert, and was employed by the Royal Bank from 1921 to 1923. In 1929 his first posting with the BC Government Agency was in the Altin district.
From there, Ross moved to Anyox, BC, north of Alice Arm, the home of Granby Mining and Smelter Company. He loved to hunt ducks on the mud flats and fish the streams. He helped built a tennis court out of wood on top of the slag pile and golfed on the infamous slag pile course.
Ross married Wilma Powell and had 3 daughters, Frances (1932), Marilyn (1934) and Irene (1936). When Frances and Marilyn were born he signed their birth certificates as Government Agent and was always very proud of these certificates. They still have them today.
When the Granby Mine & Smelter closed around 1937, Ted Scott, a young minister who had just graduated from the Theological College in Vancouver, came to Anyox by boat to help the people close out the town. They said there was a young man at the Government Agents office reciting poems of the north and buying everyone a round of scotch. That man was "E. Ross Oatman". After many years of Ministry, Ted Scott became Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and he told Marilyn this story himself.
The next move was up the coast to the mining town of Stewart, BC where Ross was Assistant Government Agent. They used to picnic on the glaciers near the Premier Mine and had their own back yard skating rink and snow banks 10 feet tall. Ross and Wilma started a dance orchestra. He joined the Order of the Elks and loved to write poems about the people and the mine.
In 1941, Ross's next posting was to Grand Forks, a lovely town in southern BC, as Public Works Clerk. The government agent's office was a classic brick Court House with a huge vault and beautiful grounds. They were fortunate to live in a lovely old home across from the schools. The sisters always took part in the Lilac Pageant held on May 24th.They swam in the river and spent memorable summers at Christina Lake.
While in Grand Forks the Second World Water ended and shortly thereafter, Ross took over as the Government Agent in Kelowna. Ross first worked from a small office on Bernard Ave. near the Paramont Theatre but then moved to the new Court House (now demolished) next to the Kelowna Yacht Club. Ross used to say he was Premier W.A.C. Bennett's "right-hand man" as he was responsible for arranging all the Premiers appointments in Kelowna.
He presided over many weddings, was the Official Administrator, Clerk of the Court and took great pride in doing an excellent job. Ross retired in 1962 and passed away in 1976.
Discover more at: E. Ross Oatman (wordpress blog)
Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1909
Name: Elmer Ross Oatman
Date of Birth: 4 Jun 1898
Birth County: Oxford
Father's Name: Arhtur Monroe Oatman
Mother's Name: Frances Lazelle Smith
Source: "Ontario Births, 1869-1912," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FM6M-XT5 : 10 August 2017), Elmer Ross Oatman, 04 Jun 1898; citing Birth, South Norwich, Oxford, Ontario, Canada, citing Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,928,125.
Destination and name and address of relative or friend to join there:
Milwaukee, Wis., son, Bryon Oatman, 196 - 13th St.
Source: "Vermont, St. Albans Canadian Border Crossings, 1895-1954," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKQM-P876 : 16 March 2018), Arthur M Oatman, 1895-1924; citing M1461, Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries through the St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1924, 292, NARA microfilm publications M1461, M1463, M1464, and M1465 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, publication year); FHL microfilm 1,473,092.
Census, United States
1910 United States Federal Census
Home in 1910: Milwaukee Ward 2, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Source: "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MP2S-3QK : accessed 10 November 2018), Arthur M Oatman, Milwaukee Ward 2, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 24, sheet 14B, family 292, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1722; FHL microfilm 1,375,735.
↑ "Vermont, St. Albans Canadian Border Crossings, 1895-1954," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK3Y-JZ5K : 16 March 2018), Frances Oatman, 1909; citing M1464, Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries through the St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1924, 112, NARA microfilm publications M1461, M1463, M1464, and M1465 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, publication year); FHL microfilm 1,561,198.
↑ Detroit Border Crossings and Passenger and Crew Lists, 1905-1957 [database on-line]. Ancestry.com. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
↑ "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MP2S-3QG : accessed 10 November 2018), Elmer R Oatman in household of Arthur M Oatman, Milwaukee Ward 2, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 24, sheet 14B, family 292, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1722; FHL microfilm 1,375,735.