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Ernest Boyce

Ernest Boyce

Ernest Boyce worked in the Russian mining industry but was recruited by British intelligence and was employed by MI6 during the First World War. In 1918 he was sent to Russia to join up with a small group of agents working under Robert Bruce Lockhart at the British Embassy in Petrograd. The head of MI6, Mansfield Smith-Cumming, wanted Boyce to be a "link man in Moscow, someone who could simultaneously be in contact with both John Scale (based in Stockholm) and the agents working undercover inside the country." Boyce was described as "a silver-haired lieutenant with considerable experience in military sabotage". The undercover agents included Francis Cromie, George Alexander Hill, Oswald Rayner, Stephen Alley and Cudbert Thornhill.

Sidney Reilly arrived in Russia in May 1918. As Robin Bruce Lockhart, the author of Reilly: Ace of Spies (1992), points out: "Reilly was eager to reach Moscow as soon as possible and only stayed long enough in Petrograd to make contact with Commander Ernest Boyce, the new head of the British SIS in Russia since the departure of Major Alley. Boyce was mainly concerned with intelligence operations against Germany and Reilly's was an entirely independent assignment. Reilly made arrangements to use Boyce's cipher staff in the British Consulate-General in Moscow."

Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of Cheka, decided to try and infiltrate this intelligence unit. Jan Buikis, a Soviet agent, made contact with Francis Cromie and requested a meeting with Robert Bruce Lockhart. On 14th August, 1918, Buikis and Colonel Eduard Berzin, met Lockhart. Berzin was the commander of a Lettish battalion in the Kremlin guard and told Lockhart that there was serious disaffection among the Lettish troops and asked for money to finance an anti-Bolshevik coup. Sidney Reilly was brought into the conspiracy and Berzin was given 1,200,000 rubles. This money was handed over to the Bolsheviks.

On 17th August, 1918, Moisei Uritsky, the Commissar for Internal Affairs in the Northern Region, was assassinated by Leonid Kannegisser, a young military cadet. Anatoly Lunacharsky commented: "They killed him. They struck us a truly well-aimed blow. They picked out one of the most gifted and powerful of their enemies, one of the most gifted and powerful champions of the working class." The Soviet press published allegations that Uritsky had been killed because he was unravelling "the threads of an English conspiracy in Petrograd".

Two weeks later Dora Kaplan attempted to assassinate Lenin. It was claimed that this was part of the British conspiracy to overthrow the Bolshevik government and orders were issued by Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of Cheka, to round up the agents based in British Embassy in Petrograd. On 31st August, 1918, Cromie was killed resisting arrest. According to Robin Bruce Lockhart: "The gallant Cromie had resisted to the last; with a Browning in each hand he had killed a commissar and wounded several Cheka thugs, before falling himself riddled with Red bullets. Kicked and trampled on, his body was thrown out of the second floor window."

Ernest Boyce and Robert Bruce Lockhart were both arrested but Sidney Reilly had a lucky escape. He arranged to meet Cromie that morning. He arrived at the British Embassy soon after Cromie had been killed: "The Embassy door had been battered off its hinges. The Embassy flag had been torn down. The Embassy had been carried by storm." Reilly now went into hiding and eventually managed to get back to London. Boyce initially was told he was going to be shot but was surprisingly released on 1st September.

Boyce worked as the Passport Control Officer in Tallinn before being appointed as MI6 station chief in Helsinki. The Bolshevik government decided to trick Sidney Reilly and Boris Savinkov into going back to the Soviet Union. As Christopher Andrew, the author of Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community (1985) has pointed out: "Since 1922 the GPU had been plotting the downfall of both Reilly and Savinkov by operating a bogus anti-Bolshevik Front, the Monarchist Union of Central Russia (MUCR), better known as the Trust, designed to ensnare the remaining plotters against Bolshevik rule."

Boyce wrote to Sidney Reilly asking him to meet the leaders of Monarchist Union of Central Russia in Moscow. In March 1925, Reilly replied: "Much as I am concerned about my own personal affairs which, as you know, are in a hellish state. I am, at any moment, if I see the right people and prospects of real action, prepared to chuck everything else and devote myself entirely to the Syndicate's interests. I was fifty-one yesterday and I want to do something worthwhile, while I can."

After a number of delays caused mainly by Reilly's debt-ridden business dealings, he met Ernest Boyce in Paris before crossing the Finnish border on 25th September 1925. At a house outside Moscow two days later he had a meeting with the leaders of MUCR, where he was arrested by the secret police. Reilly was told he would be executed because of his attempts to overthrow the Bolshevik government in 1918.

According to the Soviet account of his interrogation, on 13th October 1925, Reilly wrote to Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of Cheka, saying he was ready to cooperate and give full information on the British and American Intelligence Services. Sidney Reilly's appeal failed and he was executed on 5th November 1925.

According to Keith Jeffery, the author of MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service (2010), Boyce had sent Reilly into Russia without clearing the scheme with his superiors in London. "Boyce had to take some of the blame for the tragedy. Back in London, as recalled by Harry Carr, his assistant in Helsinki" he was "carpeted by the Chief for the role he had played in this unfortunate affair."

In 1938 Alexander Orlov, a senior figure in Cheka, fled to France. He later moved to the United States. FBI agent Edward P. Gazur, who interviewed Orlov, claims that Boyce was a double agent and was paid for information about British agents and was responsible for betraying Sidney Reilly. This was published for the first time in Gazur's book, Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General (2001). Nigel West has argued that "the reason why this hasn't come out until now is that Orlov, who was not debriefed by British intelligence, never told anybody but Edward Gazur."

Sidney Reilly was still in Petrograd when events turned sour. His plan to overthrow the Bolshevik Government had spun wildly out of control and he knew he would need his wits about him if he was to keep one step ahead of the Cheka.

He first realised that something was seriously awry when Captain Cromie, naval attaché at the British Embassy, failed to turn up to a secret rendezvous on the afternoon of 31 August. "Not like Cromie to be unpunctual," observed Reilly.

After waiting for another fifteen minutes at the pre-agreed location, he decided to make his way towards the embassy. It was "a dangerous move" - for he risked being searched - "but I had brought it off successfully before."

He turned into Vlademirovsky Prospect, only to be confronted by a group of men and women running towards him in panic. "They dived into doorways, into side-streets everywhere."

Reilly was perplexed as to what was happening. A military car sped past, filled with Red Army soldiers. It was heading in the opposite direction to the crowd, racing towards the embassy. Reilly quickened his pace as he reached the end of Vlademirovsky Prospect. As he turned the corner, he immediately realised that something was seriously wrong.

"The Embassy door had been battered off its hinges. The Embassy had been carried by storm."

On the pavement outside there were several bloodstained corpses. Reilly glanced at them and noticed that they were not English. They were Russians, Bolsheviks, who he presumed to have been killed while storming the building.

It was to be some hours before Reilly discovered the grim details of what had taken place. Others had been rather closer to the action. Nathalie Bucknell, wife of one of the few remaining staff at the embassy, was in the passport office on the ground floor when she heard the crack of gunshots coming from upstairs. It was exactly 4.50 p.m. She poked her head into the entrance hall, only to hear more intense shooting and "terrible screams". She was as frightened as she was puzzled; she had not heard any soldiers entering the building.

The embassy porter crept into the hall and peered nervously up the stairwell. He motioned for her to take cover. She did so just in time. As she crouched in the small lobby adjoining the hall, a group of men could be heard careering down the grandiose staircase. At its head was Captain Cromie, wildly firing his revolver. Behind him, and in hot pursuit, were Red Guards. They too were firing their guns.

Nathalie sank to her knees in fear. There was a constant crackle of gunfire as the shoot-out intensified and bullets began to ricochet off the marble walls and columns. She peeked through the keyhole just as one of the bullets hit its target. "Captain Cromie fell backwards on the last step."

He was seriously wounded and clearly in need of urgent medical attention.

The Red Guards dashed into the street, seemingly confused by the lack of other gunmen. As they did so, a second group of soldiers came clattering down the stairs, equally dazed by the shoot-out. One of them paused for a moment to kick Cromie's half-conscious body....

Nathalie could hear the sound of yet more soldiers on the first floor of the building; they were bawling to the embassy staff who had hid themselves away in fear of their lives. "Come out of the room, come out of the room, or we will open machine-gun fire on you."

Nathalie was joined by her friend Miss Blumberg, who had taken refuge in one of the downstairs rooms. Together, the two women gingerly stepped into the hall in order to see what they could do for Captain Cromie. He was smeared with blood. "Bending over him, we saw his eyelids and lips move very faintly."

As Miss Blumberg attempted to speak to him, a group of Red Guards reappeared and started shouting insults.

Pointing their revolvers at her, they called very rudely: "Come upstairs immediately or we will fire at you."

The two women did not dare to argue; they were led up to the first floor with revolvers poking into their bodies. Nathalie saw graphic evidence of the shoot-out that had taken place. On the floor, lying in a pool of rapidly congealing blood, was the corpse of a Red Guard.

The two ladies were jostled into the Chancery room where Ernest Boyce, head of Mansfield Cumming's operations inside Russia, was being held at gunpoint. "At that moment, the Red Commissary entered and told everyone that they must keep quiet with their hands up and that the Consulate was taken by the Red Guards."

Miss Blumberg bravely asked if she could give the dying Cromie a glass of water. Her request was brusquely denied by the soldiers. The chaplain was treated with equal contempt when he asked to attend to the semi-conscious English captain.

The rest of the British staff were now brought into the Chancery and told that they were being held as prisoners. Most were still reeling from what had taken place. They knew of the assassination of Uritsky and of the attempt on Lenin's life, but only Ernest Boyce was aware of Reilly's planned coup and even he did not know that it had been exposed by the Cheka.

"The room was now full of soldiers and sailors who were most brutal in their behaviour," wrote Nathalie. The porter was led through each room with a revolver pressed to his head. The guards said they would shoot him if he did not unlock every door and cupboard.

The hostages were held for several hours while the embassy was stripped of everything of value, including all its archives and secret documents. The staff were then marched down the stairs, passing the now-dead Captain Cromie, and taken to a nearby building. For the next fifteen hours, they were held prisoner and interrogated, one by one.

Nathalie overheard a soldier saying that five of them, including Boyce, were going to be shot. But the executions were inexplicably annuled before they could be carried out. At 11 a.m. on 1 September, all of the prisoners were informed that they were free to go. Bewildered as to why they were being released, but not daring to ask any questions, they gratefully made their way into the street.


Thompson Family History

Separating fact from folklore

Growing up I never knew whether to believe the stories grown-ups told about my near and distant relatives. The stories seemed too fantastic to be true. This website is dedicated to separating fact from fiction. But the truth, I've found, can be equally hard to believe.

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Contents

The Ernest ads were shot with a handheld film camera at the Nashville-area home of producer John Cherry III and Jerry Carden, beginning in 1980. As their number of clients increased, Varney sometimes did upwards of 25 different versions of a spot in a single day. Producer Coke Sams stated that Varney had a photographic memory and would read through the script one time then insert the various products' names on different takes. [8] [9] The commercials and the character had definite impact children especially seemed to imitate Ernest and "KnoWhutimean?" became a catchphrase.

Carden & Cherry had begun receiving requests from major national companies to use Ernest, but were largely unable to agree to most of them because of conflicts with the exclusive rights local companies received when they had requested Ernest commercials. [9] Carden & Cherry responded by transitioning the character to film and television. Ernest's first feature-film appearance was as one of Varney's numerous characters in the science fiction horror spoof Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam, which introduced several supporting actors who would reappear throughout the Ernest franchise, including Bill Byrge, Myke R. Mueller, and Jackie Welch. [10] A Saturday morning sketch comedy series, Hey Vern, It's Ernest!, followed shortly thereafter, which won Varney a Daytime Emmy Award for his performance. A series of five feature-length comedies starred Ernest between 1987 and 1993, followed by four more direct-to-video entries all nine were directed by either John Cherry or Coke Sams. The movies were not critically well-received however, they were produced on very low budgets and were quite profitable.

In the films, Ernest is apparently somewhat aware of his extreme resistance to harm, as in Ernest Rides Again, he seemed barely fazed by nails bending after being fired at his skull, remarking "Good thing they hit the hard end", he also commented that he would be dead "If I wasn't this close to being an actual cartoon." To allow Varney to act out his numerous other characters, Ernest is portrayed as a master of disguise, able to pose as one of any number of relatives to get out of a predicament. He also is impervious to electrocution, instead becoming a powerful electromagnet (among other surreal side effects) when hit with a large shock: this is a major plot device in Ernest Goes to Jail and also appears in Ernest Rides Again. The film series portrays Ernest as a working-class bachelor holding various minimum-wage and blue-collar jobs, such as a gas station attendant, janitor, sanitation worker and construction worker.

In his Ernest role, Varney appeared in dozens of Cerritos Auto Square commercials for many years on Los Angeles area television stations he also appeared in commercials for Audubon Chrysler Center in Henderson, Kentucky, John L. Sullivan auto dealerships in the Sacramento, California area, the Pontiac, Michigan-based electronics store ABC Warehouse, and the Oklahoma City-based Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Store. In the Southeast, the Ernest character was the spokesman for Purity milk. In New Mexico, he appeared in commercials for Blake's Lotaburger. In northern Virginia Ernest appeared a series of commercials for Tyson's Toyota. In Houston, he did commercials promoting Channel 2 News KPRC-TV. In 2005, five years after Varney's death, the Ernest P. Worrell character returned in new commercials as a CGI cartoon, created by an animation company called face2face and produced by Ernest originators Carden & Cherry. Ernest was voiced by John C. Hudgens, an advertising and broadcast producer from Little Rock, Arkansas, who also played an Ernest type character in some regional live action commercials.

Ernest has a large family made up of people with similar traits to him, all of whom were portrayed by Jim Varney. Varney, as Worrell, mentioned that his family was from Kentucky (Varney's real-life birthplace) when he hosted Happy New Year, America on CBS December 31, 1988. Most of Worrell's family members had their appearance in either Hey Vern, It's My Family Album, Your World as I See It, or Varney's stand-up routine.

Edna Worrell Ernest's wife according to the television commercials and Hey Vern, It's My Family Album. According to Ernest, Edna makes a great deep dish pie. Her middle initial is also said to be P. in Ernest's newsletter during the 1980s. In the film series, Ernest has become a confirmed bachelor, living alone with his dog. Ace Worrell A fighter pilot who served in the army. His relation to Ernest is unknown though he is believed to be a great uncle. Astor Clement Ernest's uncle, a wealthy college professor who likes to brag about his rich status and unusual intelligence and was the main narrator of Your World As I See It. Astor was also one of Ernest's disguises in Ernest Saves Christmas. Bunny Jeannette Rogers The slow-witted and confused sister of Ernest who runs her own quirky hair salon called "Bunny's Beauty World." Her beautifying tactics often involve painful torture for her clients. Lloyd Rowe Ernest's great uncle, a mean-spirited, impoverished Appalachian mountain man. He was Ernest's disguise as "The Snake Guy" in Ernest Saves Christmas. Lloyd was one of Varney's stand-up characters before the creation of Ernest he was originally conceived as the Appalachian answer to a mountaintop guru with an obese wife named Ruth and an even more massive, indestructible eight-year-old son named Mistake. Auntie Nelda Ernest's elderly, sarcastic and dramatic great-aunt. She regularly complains about her son Izzy not visiting enough, noting that her other son Hymie had always treated her well but died. Her late husband Morris was cremated and she still harangues his ashes. She tries to get men to notice her by acting innocent all the time. One of Varney's most frequent characters, Auntie Nelda was one of Ernest's "multiple personalities" in Ernest Scared Stupid and one of his disguises in Ernest Saves Christmas, Ernest Goes to Jail, Ernest Rides Again, and Ernest Goes to Africa. Auntie Nelda was also used as one of Dr. Otto's disguises in Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam and was a regular segment on Hey Vern, It's Ernest! Coy Worrell Ernest's redneck brother who is stuck in a 1950s rockabilly mindset and runs a store that sells car parts. He is a Bears fan, has virtually no thoughts on any substantive issues (shrugging his shoulders and responding "dunno" whenever asked) is quite proud of the tattoo collection on his body. Coy has been married at least twice: first to Rayette Worrell and then to Anita Worrell. Billy "Boogie" Worrell Ernest's cousin, a carny who operates the Scrambler at an amusement park, speaks to his patrons in rhyming jive, and dances to a disco beat. While he frequently makes passes at attractive female patrons, he is in fact a married man with a teenage son and speaks with a normal voice outside of work. Davy Worrell Ernest's light-headed great, great uncle who was a war veteran in the late 19th century. He helped his army troop win a battle against a Native American tribe led by Chief Running Vern, even though his troop was not even present at the time. He is a spoof of frontiersman Davy Crockett. Rhetch Worrell Ernest's great, great-grandfather who was popular with women and had a girlfriend named Verna. He was a heavy gambler and incredibly stupid. Pa Worrell Ernest's elderly father, a World War II veteran who has a politically incorrect view of the world. His first name is never revealed. He is an avid fisherman and is friends with an African savage named Qui Qua. Ma Worrell Ernest's elderly mother. She is known to be a good cook and according to Ernest she used to make a great chocolate milk, which is Ernest's favorite drink. Reverend Phineas Worrell A distant English-born ancestor of Ernest in "Ernest Scared Stupid". He helped banish a troll named Trantor, who Ernest accidentally released several generations later. Phineas was unique among the known Worrell family in that he appeared to have a relatively serious disposition and appeared to be quite intelligent for the brief moment that he was shown. However, as Trantor was being banished, the troll placed a curse on the Worrell family that would make members of the family considerably less intelligent with each successive generation, ultimately culminating in a member of the family that would release Trantor. Ernie P. Worrell Ernest's son. Only mentioned once by Ernest while answering fan mail in his own newsletter. (In the films and commercials, Ernest is usually portrayed as a confirmed bachelor with no children.) Dingus Worrell A potato, who Ernest says came over during the potato famine and went on to become a yam magnate.

Ernest also had several pets during the course of his career. They are listed below in order of appearance.

Shorty Ernest's first dog. She appeared in several commercials usually having given birth to a litter of puppies in the back of Vern's new pick up truck while out driving with Ernest. Shorty's exact breed is unknown as she was portrayed by a different breed in each of her appearances. In the Hey Vern, It's Ernest episode "Hey Vern, It's Magic", Shorty was a male and Vern's dog. He was portrayed by a Border Collie on the show. Pokey A Box Turtle that Ernest had adopted from "actual nature" in Ernest Goes to Camp. Pokey and his family were used as "turtle paratroopers" during the battle with the miners toward the end of the movie. Ants In Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest mentions that he once had an ant farm. Rover Ernest's second dog. Ernest's pursuit of Rover was the subject of a Hey Vern, It's Ernest! episode. Ernest spent the episode saving up to buy Rover but Vern ended up buying him first only to give him to Ernest at the end. Rimshot Ernest's third dog, a male Jack Russell Terrier. Rimshot is Ernest's best known pet. He is characterized as very smart. He was featured in two of the movies, Ernest Goes to Jail and Ernest Scared Stupid, in which he was also shown to be very brave and tough, as he would stand up to the main villains which would usually lead to his near demise. Jake Ernest's Fantail (goldfish) in Ernest Goes to Africa. Sadly, Jake died when Ernest accidentally broke his fish bowl and then dropped him into the kitchen garbage disposal and mistakenly hit the wrong switch.

  • Hey Vern, It's My Family Album (1983) (direct-to-video)
  • The Ernest Film Festival (1986) (direct-to-video)
  • A compilation of Ernest commercials
  • re-released as Ernest Greatest Hits Volume One (1992) (direct-to-video)
  • Hey Vern, Win $10,000. Or Just Count On Having Fun! (1987) (direct-to-video)
  • A compilation of Ernest commercials, the VHS included a sweepstakes in which viewers who correctly counted the total mentions of the words "Vern" and "Knowhutimean?" in the video and submitted their answer before April 1, 1988 would be entered into a random drawing to win a $10,000 prize.
  • re-released as Ernest Greatest Hits Volume Two (1992) (direct-to-video)
  • Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain (1989) (TV special)
  • Your World As I See It (1994) (direct-to-video)

Ernest also hosted Happy New Year, America for CBS in the late 1980s Varney also briefly gave Ernest an appearance on HBO's New Year special (which was co-hosted by Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson) heading into 1985.

  • Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam (1985) — unnamed cameo role (Dr. Otto's disguise)
  • Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)
  • Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
  • Ernest Goes to Jail (1990)
  • Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
  • Ernest Rides Again (1993)
  • Ernest Goes to School (1994) (direct-to-video)
  • Slam Dunk Ernest (1995) (direct-to-video)
  • Ernest Goes to Africa (1997) (direct-to-video)
  • Ernest in the Army (1998) (direct-to-video)

Scrapped films Edit

In 1990, seven Ernest films were reported to be in development. [4] Coke Sams said in 2011 that Ernest Spaced Out may have gotten as far as a film treatment. Sams said about the film, "I believe that was kind of a Lost in Space epic. It seems like there were astronauts and maybe a space capsule." [11]

Soon after the release of Ernest Goes To Camp, several more films were being contemplated. One being Ernest in the Army which went on to be the last Ernest film made. Others considered were Ernest the Bellhop and Ernest in Paradise.

Sams said a script had been written for Ernest and the Voodoo Curse: "We went back to the Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein kind of thing. It had a really bad guy and happened on an island like Hawaii. […] So we had Voodoo and a high priest. It was like the idiot version of Raiders of the Lost Ark. We had lines of zombies, Voodoo potions, and Ernest pretending to be a zombie. Ernest and the Voodoo Curse actually was pretty funny. There was a woman in it, who had one blue eye and one brown eye. She was supposed to be the woman of Ernest's dreams. Of course, she would have nothing to do with him." [11]

By 2003, Jim Varney's IMDb biography page stated that he had died before he could finish filming a tenth Ernest film, titled Ernest the Pirate, which had been stated to be scheduled for release in 2000. [12] In November 2011, Sams said the film never existed. Varney had actually been in consideration for a role in the 1999 film, Pirates of the Plain. [11]

Ernest has been parodied in numerous television series, including Beavis and Butt-Head, Family Guy and The Simpsons. Some of the "fake" Ernest films from The Simpsons include Ernest Needs A Kidney, Ernest vs. the Pope, Ernest goes to Broadway, Ernest Goes Straight to Video, and Ernest Goes Somewhere Cheap (footage from Ernest Goes Somewhere Cheap was shown in the episode Cape Feare, in which Ernest is seen in a public library with Vern and gets his head stuck in a toilet). In the Family Guy episode "Road to Rhode Island", Peter remembers the time he went to Blockbuster two minutes before closing and was forced to choose between Ernest Goes to the Beach and Ernest Doesn't Go to the Beach. In the Beavis and Butt-Head episode "At the Movies," the boys are watching Ernest at the drive-in. Ernest is inside the Statue of Liberty and comes across a door with a sign that reads "DO NOT ENTER." However, Ernest misreads it as "donut entry" and opens the door, falling through the statue's nose. Other TV shows that have referenced the Ernest movies include ALF, Saved by the Bell, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Kenan & Kel, The Nanny, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Teen Titans Go, Paradise PD and many more.

Most of Ernest's commercials were released on VHS tapes from Disney's Touchstone Pictures, and Hollywood Pictures Home Video. Many are also available on DVD from Mill Creek Entertainment and Image Entertainment.

A comedic paperback book titled "Hey, Vern! It's the Ernest P. Worrell Book of Knowledge" was published by Carden & Cherry in 1985, [13] which was re-released with the title "It's the Ernest P. Worrell Book of Knawledge" (sic) in 1986. [14] It was followed by the book "Ask Ernest: What, When, Where, Why, Who Cares?", published by Rutledge Hill Press in 1993. [15] Both books were designed as if Ernest had created his own homemade zine, featuring a varied collection of jokes, puns, musings, and art.

A 16" Ernest talking doll based on the TV series Hey Vern, It's Ernest! was produced by Kenner in 1989.

In October 2012, a film reboot was announced, tentatively titled Son of Ernest. As suggested by the title the film will focus on Ernest's long lost son, presumably Ernie P. Worrell as mentioned above. No update had been given ever since. [16]


Peel's Bibliography of the Canadian Prairies to 1953

The previous edition of Bruce Peel's Bibliography was hailed by authorities as the single, finest introduction to the literature of the Canadian Prairies ever compiled, and one of the pioneering monuments of Canadian bibliographic scholarship. It now appears in a greatly expanded and revised edition. For years prior to his death in 1998, Peel laboured, with the assistance of volunteers, to collect additional material. Although he had planned to issue only a separate supplement to the second edition, additional entries multiplied until clearly an entirely new edition was warranted. Sixty-five percent larger than its predecessor, this edition features almost 2000 new entries bringing the total to more than 7429. All entries are integrated into one continuously numbered sequence, and entry numbers are cross-referenced and indexed to the previous editions. As well, the annotations, source bibliography, author and title indexes, and biographical notes have been expanded and revised.

As F. Hedley Auld said in his foreword to the original 1953 edition, Peel's Bibliography 'pictures kaleidoscopically the occupation and development of a region of great agricultural importance which became in the course of a few decades the new home of a multitude, many of whom had previously been landless people.' Ingles and Distad's third edition proves even more invaluable to students and academics interested in the history of the prairie provinces, prairie writers, or even the pattern of immigration within Canada itself.


Ernest Boyce - History

Searching for BOYCE/Bois/Boys/Boyes and
MYERS/Meyers/Mires/Miers ancestors.

Who was James Boyce/Boys Sr. Born about 1820 he married Jane Myers (probably in Wentworth, Ontario) and had 3 children, then vanished. No record of him exists other than a family story, and documents his children completed at marriage and death, that said he was their father.

Peter Myers and his family may be the clue to James Boyce/Boys. Peter Myers was the father of Jane. He was born 1777-1800 in the U.S. maybe Pennsylvania (according to death records of 2 children). He may have had 2 wives, the first (Matilda) the mother of most/all of his children, and Eunice the wife that appears on the 1861-71-81 Canada Census.

Peter Myers born abt 1777 in USA (probably Pennsylvania)

Resided in Upper Canada since at least 1790 (as indicated in the 1842 Land Census, and 1861 Canada Census) and on a 50 acre farm outside Campbellville, Ontario from 1832 until his death in 1866.

In the book "The History of Nasagaweya" by J. Norrish, published 1888 on page 70, Norrish says in 1832 Peter Mires acquires land near Campbellville, Ontario. The property was the northwest corner of Concession 4, Lot 7, Nassagaweya Township, Halton County. Peter would be 50+ years old in 1832 and we have no indication where he farmed before that (he dies on the property in 1866 abt 89 years old).

On the 1842 Land Census, Peter indicates himself (1 MM 60+) plus 6 young people living on the property - (1m, 1F aged 0-5, 2F 5-14, 1M 14-18, 1M 19-21). Curiously, he does not indicate any Married Females (MF) living with him. Perhaps some of the children are grandchildren.

On the 1861 Canada Census with Peter is: his wife Eunice (whose name is later verified on 1871 and 1881 census) born abt 1800 in Upper Canada grandson James Boyce (Jr) aged 11, and Jane Myers aged 15 (His granddaughter by son Elijah we believe).

I believe Peter Myers dies in 1866 as I found a newspaper article that describes a sensational story of a 119 year old man dying in Campbellville by the name of Myers. Campbellville is only about 500 meters from his property. The likelihood of anyone living to 119 years of age at that time is unlikely. I believe a calculation error of 30 years was made, and it was Peter Myers who died at about 89 years of age.

(The Myers farm property is now fronted by the Nassagaweya Tennis Club facility on Guelph Line Road just 200 yards north of the Campbellville 401 freeway interchange). A land deed is available that shows Peter transferring the property to his son Elijah about 1860.


Eunice Myers : (born abt 1798 Upper Canada).

Eunice was born in Upper Canada abt 1797-1800 (1861/71/81 Canada Census data). Curiously, she is not present on the 1842 land census with Peter Meyers. She is present on the 1861 Census with Peter (and grandson James Boyce Jr. and granddaughter Jane Myers). An 1875 Halton Map indicates an E. Myers owning lot 7 con 4 in Nassagaweya the Peter Myers property - this may refer to Eunice or son Elijah. Eunice is on the 1881 Canada Census and Elijah processes her death certificate in 1884.

Because of Eunice's absence on the 1842 Census, and the fact that all of Peter's children seem to name a daughter Matilda, we wonder if Eunice is actually the mother of the Myers children (and not a first wife of Peter named Matilda). Contradictory documents have Jane indicating Eunice as her mother on her 1876 marriage record, and Elijah declares Eunice as his mother on her death record, but on Jane Myers Twyning's 1901 death certificate her mother is declared as Ellen Lowery (by Mary Twyning - Jane's daughter).

Children of Peter (and Eunice? Or Matilda? or Ellen?) Myers :

- Son Elijah Myres (born abt 1818) marries Lydia Ann Misener abt 1843 and they have 11 children.

- Daughter Elizabeth Myers (born abt 1822) marries William Buck and they have 6 children. (Some of the original Myers Property stays in a Buck family members possession until the 1950's).

- Daughter Mary Myers (born abt 1822) marries Robert Currie. They have 7 children, and live across Guelph Line Road from the Myers farm .

- Daughter Jane (born 1825) married James Boyce Sr., then Thomas Tynan/Tyning/Twyning. Jane has 3 children with James Boyce, and 2 children with Thomas Tynan. On a 1901 census she states she had 9 children, 5 of which are still living. No records of the missing children have been found.

- Margaret (born 1829) married John Isaac Ross and had 12 children. They resided in Nassagaweya during the 1860's and moved to Bay City Michigan about 1875, and resided there for the duration of their lives.

- John (born 1826) whose data is not verified yet


James Boyce/Boys Sr. and Jane (Myers) Boyce probably married 1843:


James Boyce Sr married Jane Myers abt 1843 and they probably lived in either Nassagaweya Township, Halton County area or Beverly Township (which was part of Halton County until 1854). They had 3 children Herbert (1844), Mathilda (1847) and James Jr.(1848).

James and Jane vanished from the family history sometime after the birth of their 3rd child in 1848. Their 3 young children were raised by others. The family story is that James Boyce returned to England for a family emergency and never returned. This doesn't seem realistic. I suspect James and Jane Myers Boyce had a marriage breakup. Later Boyce family generations never acknowledged the existence of Jane Myers Boyce beyond 1850, but we have now found she remarried some years later and had at least 2 more children. She lived relatively close to her "Boyce" children in Wentworth Ontario for many years, so they had to have known her circumstances. yet none of that was relayed down to later generations.

Their lack of records is compounded by the loss/damage of the 1851 Canada Census data for the Township of Nassageweya, Halton County, Ontario where they probably lived. The marriage and death records for Herbert Boyce (married-1870) and James Boyce Jr. (m-1872), indicate James Sr. and Jane Boyce were their parents. A death record for James Boyce Jr in 1937 indicates James Boyce Sr born in England and Jane Myers born Ontario, were his parents.

Family history carried down said James Sr. was born in England. The family story is that he may have been a school teacher or worked as a minister. No documentation has been found to support this.

Jane Myers Boyce declared herself a widow (not verified) and remarried in 1876. She also stipulated Peter and Eunice Myers were her parents. She had been living with Thomas Tynan since at least 1859 and the birth of Timothy. Mary was born 1864. Perhaps she could not get officially married to Thomas until the death of James Boyce could be confirmed. The name has been shown as Tynan, Tyning and Twyning (which version seems to have been carried forward).

Thomas and Jane Tynan (Tyamen) are on the 1881 census with Thomas's son Timothy aged 24.

James Boyce Sr. and Jane Myers were the parents of:

Herbert Boyce :
Born February 1845. In 1870 he marries Mary Ann MacGorman born 1853 and they reside in Nassagaweya. They are found on many of the Canada census' from 1891 forward near Hamiota Manitoba. On the 1861 Canada census Mary Ann MacGorman is 8 y.o. and she and her family are found on the same page of the census as James Boyce (b. 1848) and his grandfather Peter Myers (b.1781). So she lived close to her future brother-in-law, was near the same age, and probably attended the same school. Mary MacGorman and James Boyce were witness in 1869 to the marriage of James Darrah. James Darrah was a witness to the marriage of Herbert Boyce and Mary MacGorman in 1870.

Matilda Boyce :
Born February 1847. In 1869 Marries Egerton Ryerson McKay born 1845. This family moves to the US in abt 1882 and is found in many US census in Sanilac, Michigan. On the 1861 Canada census Matilda is 15 y.o. and a servant in the home of the Methodist Minister (New Conexion) Frederick Haynes and his family.

James Boyce Jr. :
Born May 1848. In 1872 marries Margaret Waldie born 1848. At the time James resides in East Flamboro and Margaret in Nassagaweya. They are found in 1875 living at Westover, Beverly Twnshp, Wentworth County on a search of the Halton Map. On the 1881 Census they are farming in Wentworth County. In about 1886 they move for a short time to Port Huron then Brown City, Michigan and later (abt 1892) move to farm near Miniota Manitoba where they reside for the rest of their life, and raise 9 children (including my grandfather Ernest Brock Boyce).

Margaret Waldie (wife of James Boyce Jr.):
Was born near Hamilton or Brantford, Ontario. Margaret's parents were William Waldie (b. 1822) and Christine Davidson (b. 1821) both born in Scotland. Her grandparents were William Waldie (b. 1800) and Isabel Crozier (b. 1803) both born in Scotland. The Waldie's immigrated to Canada in 1832 and settled near Brantford Ontario. William Sr. and Isabel lived into their 90's and are were buried in Oxford Ontario in the 1890's.

Other of my Canadian Ancestors who came to Ontario from Scotland, England and Ireland include the names Waldie, Davidson, Crozier, Blythe, Little, Beattie and Anderson


contact me at
[email protected] with any information you might have or if you feel I can help you .


Some pictures of my (g-grandfather) James Boyce Jr. family.

James Boyce Jr. and Margaret Waldie in 1872. (this is possibly a wedding picture)


BOYCE Genealogy

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Ernest Boyce - History

Photo above, "courtesy of Linda Mae Boyce-Morgan."

This profile is an adaptation from the book, Four Generations-A Family History by Clayton Francis Boyce

George Ernest "Dick" Boyce

George Ernest "Dick" Boyce was born on November 14, 1897 according to the date on his head stone in the Valley Cemetery on San Juan Island (We do not know where he acquired the nickname "Dick"). His head stone was the only source we had for his birth date. We now believe that this is date is incorrect and that he was actually born a year earlier. Using the date on Dick's grave stone leaves only seven months and six days between his birth date and that of his next younger brother Cecil. However, in a photo of Leroy, Dick and Cecil, taken when Cecil was about 4-6 months old, it appears that Dick was between a year and a half and two years old. This would corroborate the difference in ages between them according to stories told by Cecil of his childhood. We believe that Dick Boyce's actual birth date was November 14, 1896. This date is further supported by a record in the possession of Jim Allen Boyce.

Dick Boyce lost his life by drowning on August 15, 1913, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Clayton's father told him that Dick had run away from home when he was 16 years old. This would relate to the earlier birth date. An account in the Friday Harbor Journal of August 21,1913, states that Dick had left home several weeks prior, to visit relatives in Spokane, Washington, and had not been heard from since. His parents had no idea he was in Minnesota. According to the Journal account, Dick was drowned while swimming with four other companions in an effort to find relief from the heat. George Ernest "Dick" Boyce is buried in the Valley Cemetery next to his parents.

Pictured at left: George Ernest Boyce.
Photo "courtesy of Katherine (Kitty) Mildred Beryl Wade-Roberts."


10 fascinating facts about Scouting founder Ernest Thompson Seton

He was the first Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of America. He helped write the first Boy Scout Handbook. And today there’s a Scout camp in Greenwich, Conn., that bears his name.

But there’s a lot you probably don’t know about Ernest Thompson Seton, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America. Fortunately, Julie A. Seton, Ph.D., is something of an expert on the man. After all, she’s his granddaughter.

Julie Seton recently rereleased her grandfather’s autobiography, Trail of an Artist-Naturalist, which you can find at your local Scout Shop or online. And she shares these 10 fascinating facts about this Scouting founder:

1. He understood humans first.

Seton gained fame for his understanding of animals, but he knew a lot about humans, too.

The foundations of Seton’s “scheme of education in outdoor life” started with a study of human instinct. He observed and recorded 60 instincts, including hero worship, gang instinct, love of glory, hunter instinct, caveman instinct, play, fear of the dark, initiation instinct and more.

Along with many national leaders, Seton was concerned about the youth of the time. He used his understanding of humans to start an organization for youth designed to have them develop into adults with compassion for the natural world and commitment to community.

2. He started a youth organization that precedes Scouting.

Seton’s hero was the Shawnee warrior Tecumseh, whom Seton considered “physically perfect, wise, brave, picturesque, unselfish, dignified.”

So it makes sense that Seton would name his youth organization the Woodcraft Indians. Boys who joined learned to swim, canoe, identify birds and more.

Seton announced the organization’s creation in the May 1902 edition of Ladies’ Home Journal and started the first tribe of Woodcraft Indians in Cos Cob, Conn.

3. He sent a copy of his Woodcraft Indians handbook to Robert Baden-Powell.

In 1906, Seton sent a copy of The Birch-Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians, essentially that organization’s handbook, to Baden-Powell. B-P was impressed.

He met with Seton at the Savoy Hotel in London on Oct. 30, 1906, and the two men spent several hours in discussion about Seton’s work with boys.

A year later, Baden-Powell held an experimental camp on Brownsea Island in England, which is considered the beginning of the worldwide Scout movement.

4. He helped create the Boy Scouts of America.

The original members of the Woodcraft Indians became the first Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America when the BSA began in 1910.

Seton served as president of the committee that formed the BSA.

5. He helped write the first BSA handbook.

Seton used material from The Birch-Bark Roll and B-P’s Scouting for Boys to create a provisional BSA handbook.

In the preface, he took credit for starting Scouting.

6. He was the BSA’s first Chief Scout.

Soon after the BSA’s founding in 1910, Seton became the first Chief Scout of the BSA.

At the time, though, he didn’t know he’d also be the BSA’s only Chief Scout. Ever.

7. He wrote for Boys’ Life magazine.

Seton wrote for the iconic magazine for boys. His first article — “Smoke Signals, Sign Talk and Totems” — appeared in 1912.

In one timeless section of the article, he responded to boys seeking advice for patrol names.

“We have used animals and birds chiefly, but why not trees, natural wonders, clans of men?” he asked.

Later, Seton’s Boys’ Life column “With the Chief Scout” became a standard feature where he shared his experiences meeting with Scouts across the country. These articles were written as dialogues with individual Scouts and demonstrate “good turns,” such as picking up broken glass and turning off the electricity when leaving the room.

8. He clashed with James E. West.

In 1915, BSA executives removed the position of Chief Scout, and James E. West became Chief Scout Executive.

As recounted in this Scouting magazine story, the relationship between Seton and West had soured.

He and Chief Scout Executive James E. West had never seen eye to eye, and on Dec. 5, Seton called a press conference to announce his resignation from the BSA. His verdict on Scouting was simple: “Seton started it Baden-Powell boomed it West killed it.”

9. He was one of the first recipients of the Silver Buffalo Award.

The tension ended in 1926.

That’s the year the BSA established the Silver Buffalo Award, which is the highest honor available to adults. Seton was part of that first Silver Buffalo class of 22 men, sharing the honor with Robert Baden-Powell, William D. Boyce, Daniel Carter Beard, the Unknown Scout … and James E. West.

10. His legacy is honored at a Scout camp in Connecticut.

Seton Scout Reservation in Greenwich, Conn., honors the legacy of Ernest Thompson Seton.

In addition to starting the first Woodcraft Indians tribe near Greenwich, Seton was the first president of the BSA’s Greenwich Council.

Learn more

For more on Ernest Thompson Seton’s legacy, visit this page on Facebook.


The Boy Scout movement was founded by British Lord Robert Baden-Powell.

Scouting's first manual was both written and illustrated by Baden-Powell in 1908. Baden-Powell was a war hero because of his conduct at Mafeking, a strategic holding action during the South African war with the Dutch Boers in 1899.

The early American troops took their cues from Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys because there was no semblance of a national movement in the United States. The YMCA men who started most of the early troops saw Boy Scouting merely as a promising adjunct to their programs for boys.

Millionaire Chicago publisher William Dickson Boyce became involved in Scouting in 1909. He was visiting London in August of that year. One afternoon, the city was enshrouded in pea-soup fog. Boyce lost his bearings in the murk and was approached by a boy of about 12 carrying a lantern who offered to guide him to the address he was seeking. When Boyce produced a shilling, the boy replied, "No, sir, I am a scout. Scouts do not accept tips for Good Turns."

The Unknown Scout took Boyce to British Scout headquarters. From that moment forward, Boyce's interest in Scouting grew. Boyce came home determined to start Boy Scouting in America. He apparently knew nothing of the troops already operating or of the YMCA's promotion of Scouting.

On February 8, 1910, Boyce filed incorporation papers for the Boy Scouts of America in the District of Columbia The purpose, he said, "Shall be to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are in common use by Boy Scouts."


Ernest Boyce - History

The Boy Scouts of America was created on February 8, 1910 by W. D. Boyce . On June 21, a group of 34 representatives from around the nation met and developed organizational plans. This group opened a temporary national headquarters in New York using a local YMCA office. In September, Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, visited the U.S. and described the program.

The newly formed troops didn't communicate well and as a result there were many inconsistencies. The new National Office struggled to manage the variations in the program. One area that was an obvious inconsistency was uniforming.

Some units used military uniforms while others created their own either by referencing images of English Scout uniforms (from the English Scout Handbook) or by simply putting pieces of "scout-like" items together to form an ad-hoc uniform.

The first "official" Field Commissioners were appointed in 1914. These field representatives issued special awards (like Life, Star, Eagle, and Lifesaving) as well as, the authority to both create new units and to remove commissions from volunteers as needed.

(Note the "wreath of service" on all commissioner and professional's position patches. This wreath is a symbol for the service rendered to units. It also symbolizes the continued partnership between volunteers and professionals. The Wreath of Service represents the unending commitment, on the part of Commissioners, to program and unit service. The position of Commissioner is the oldest in Scouting and is the origin of the professional Scouting positions, which is why professional Scouters wear the Wreath of Service as well. As a direct result of the importance of unit service to the successful delivery of the Scouting program, there are Commissioners at every level of Scouting)

By the 1960's the terminology changed as did the structure. Neighborhood Commissioners were now known as Unit Commissioners and only served a maximum of three units. All Deputy positions were changed to Assistant. Commissioner Service as we know it today began to take shape.

Today organization from the national level, Boy Scouts of America has a National Commissioner. Reflective of national, each Council has a Council Commissioner and Assistant Council Commissioners to ease the work load. It is at the District level that you will find most of BSA's Commissioners serving. Whether as District Commissioner, Assistant District Commissioners, Roundtable Commissioners, or Unit Commissioners. The Unit Commissioner being the most important of all the rest because of the unit service they provide. Without that service, we would have no reason to have the other positions.

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