Mrs. Elizabeth C. Ascher

Full Text
One of The Standard most faithful employees, Mrs. Elizabeth C. Ascher, served as correspondent at Niagara-on-the-Lake for the past 37 years, being appointed in 1904. Born at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Mrs. Ascher was educated in the Niagara public schools and high school, and early took an active part in the affairs of the town. She has served as curator and is a charter member of the Niagara Historical Society. For 14 years she served as Regent of the Niagara Historical Society, which she is also a charter member. She is now a member of Lincoln Military Chapter. She is a director of the Niagara Agricultural Society.
During the first Great War she took a vital interest in Polish affairs and conducted a press campaign in behalf of the Polish army and the Polish nation. She also collected money and clothing for Polish relief, and later for orphanages in Poland. In recognition of this service she was made a life member of the Polish White Cross Society, the Women's Section of the National Polish Relief Committee and other organizations. She was awarded the Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Restored Poland) on Oct. 22nd, 1922; the Haller Medal on November 27th, 1923; the Order of Miecze Hallerowskie in May of 1926 and the Cross of Merit, May, 1934. These were the first decorations of this kind to be awarded to a Canadian; and as yet the only one; to be conferred upon a Canadian woman.
Mrs. Ascher is a life member of the Polish Army Veterans' Association since 1930, and the 35th Battalion C.E.F. Association since 1935. In addition she has given valuable service to the Cottage Hospital Auxiliary, Ontario Historical Society, Niagara Boy Scout Association and to St. Mark's Church. The Standard is proud of the record of Mrs. Ascher, proud to number her among its employees.
Published by the St. Catharines Standard. April 21, 1941.

Esteemed Citizen Spent Life in the Service of Welfare of this Community.

The entire community mourns the passing of Mrs. Elizabeth Carey Ascher which occurred at Cottage Hospital, where she had been a patient for nearly a year, in her 72nd year and death ended a life that was spent in many ways in the service of the community and which won for her the esteem and respect of all.
The deceased, who was born here, was a daughter of the late Joseph and Margaret Masters. She received her education in the local schools and spent practically all of her life here. She was a member of St. Mark's Church.
She is survived by three brothers, Joseph E. and Arthur E. of Niagara, and Rev. Charles K. Masters of Toronto; also three nephews, Dr. Donald C. Masters, Winnipeg; Gordon M. Masters, Toronto; Frederick A. Masters, Niagara; and five nieces, Mrs. Wm. Wallace, London; Mrs. E.H. Hewgill and Mrs. H.G. Jarvis, Toronto; Mrs. G.A. Woodruff and Miss M. Masters, Niagara. To those bereaved the sympathy of a host of friends is extended.
Had Many Interests
The late Mrs. Ascher was a charter member of Newark Chapter, I.O.D.E., and for 12 years served as Regent. She also held other offices in the Order. At the time of her death she was a member of Lincoln Military Chapter of St. Catharines.
Always keenly interested in the town's history, she joined the Niagara Historical Society in 1896, shortly after its organization, and, in the years between, she held office as secretary, assistant curator and executive member. She was one of the nine ladies who organized the Women's Hospital Aid in 1920, and never lost interest in its work. She was on the executive of the Red Cross and Boy Scout committees, a director of the Niagara Agricultural Society and a member of Niagara High School Alumni.
The late Mrs. Ascher was intensely loyal to her home town and did everything possible to advance its interests, serving on committees in charge of numerous celebrations, and making its beauties and advantages widely known through her writings in the St. Catharines Standard, the Buffalo Times, the Old Mail and Empire and other publications.
Eminent War Worker
The deceased was an active worker in the Red Cross Society during the First Great War, and also on behalf of the men on active service and her interest never waned as she continued to do all in her power to benefit them. The 35th Battalion showed their appreciation by making her a life member and so did the Polish Army Veterans' Association in a similar way, as she was equally active in the Polish soldiers' welfare when they trained at Niagara. The work of Mrs. Ascher on behalf of the Polish soldiers and the Polish relief work was so much appreciated that she was several times decorated by the government and army of Poland, these including the Chevalier's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Miecze Hallerowskie, the Polish D.C.M. and Long Service Medal. She was also a life member of the Polish Red Cross as well as the Polish Army Veterans' Association.
Mrs. Ascher had been on the staff of the St. Catharines Standard as Niagara correspondent since 1904.
The remains of the deceased rested at Butler's Funeral Home Wednesday morning, then to St. Mark's Church until 2:30 p.m. where the service, which was largely attended, was conducted by the Rev. C.H.E. Smith.
Published by the Niagara Advance. Thursday, May 8, 1941.

A notable tribute was yesterday afternoon accorded the late Mrs. Elizabeth C. Ascher, whose funeral service was held at historic St. Mark's Church, of which she was an active member. The church was well filled as residents of the town and others gathered to pay their respect to one held in the highest esteem throughout her long and useful life. Prior to the service the casket was open, and then closed and covered with a Union Jack, while on either side of the casket were Union Jacks and a wealth of floral tributes.
Rev. C. H. E. Smith conducted the impressive of the Anglican Church, in which he paid tribute to the deceased for her 37 years as correspondent for The Standard, a service which was improved by Mrs. Ascher's vital interest in the town and its activities. She was a faithful worker in many organizations and representatives of the various groups were in attendance at the funeral.
At the graveside, following the committal service by Rev. Mr. Smith, Col. Francis E. Fronczak, Health Commissioner of Buffalo, spoke briefly. "The people of Niagara,- he said "mourn your passing, and besides your friends there are those of another race, people of different religious views, people who speak a different language come to bid you farewell and pay their respect. Wherever the Polish language is spoken, you may be sure they will offer pious prayers for the repose of your soul."
To the deceased Col. Fronczak-paid tribute as one who had done a great work among the Polish troops stationed at Niagara during the last Great War. Truly, he said, you were an angel of mercy, a Florence Nightingale. "Your name will be inscribed on the honor roll of the Polish nation. Poland will never forget what you did for her sons at Niagara-on-the-Lake."
Dr. Fronczak headed a deputation from Buffalo which included Jos. S. Kaszubowski representing the Polish Consul at New York City, and a group of Polish Army Veterans, Post No. 1, Buffalo. The Ladies Auxiliary of the Post was also largely represented and placed a large wreath on the graveside.
Also in attendance were representatives of the I.O.D.E., and of the 35th Battalion Association, Toronto, as well as of the General Nelles Branch of the Canadian Legion, Toronto.
The casket bearers were: President W. Patterson and William Whittaker of the Legion and the following Polish Veterans: Leon Murszewski, Ignasus Kreinski, Theodore Derlukiewicz, John Mucha, Gregory Borkowski and Frank Kunick. Representing the 35th Battalion Association at the service were: President Bert Marshall, Past Presidents Earl Pond and Bob Downey and former secretary Jack Munro.
In the passing of Mrs. Ascher, Niagara has lost a valued citizen, The Standard an honored employee. Her many good deeds will be fondly remembered, her memory will be cherished throughout the years to come.

Published by the St. Catharines Standard. May 8, 1941.

The funeral of the late Mrs. E. C. Ascher, which was largely attended, was held on Wednesday afternoon last, the services at St. Mark's Church and at the graveside in the adjoining churchyard were conducted by Rev. C. H. E. Smith.
The casket bearers were Messrs. W. Patterson and W. W. Whittaker, of Gen. Nelles Branch of the Canadian Legion, and Leon Murszewski, Ignasus Kreinsek, T. Derlukciwicz, John Mucha, G. Borkowski, Frang Kunick, Polish veterans. Among those who attended the obsequies were J. S. Kaszubowski, representing the Polish consul at New York City; Bert Marshall, Earl Pond and Robert Downey, 35th Battalion Association, Toronto; Col. F. E. Fronszak, Health Commissioner of Buffalo; Mesdames T. Przewozna, H. Szejmejol, W. Kulaszewska, N. Hulecmis, F. Bazuiszewska, G. Ptuk and Miss Mary Zagrabska, of the Ladies Auxiliary, Post No. 1 Polish Army Veterans, Buffalo.

Published by the Niagara Advance. Thursday, May 15, 1941.

Received highest Polish civilian award.

The name on the gravestone is incorrectly spelled and the grave itself is untended. But the inscription to "Lizzie" Ascher states she was someone the Polish government thought enough of, when she died in 1941 at age 71, to award her the country's highest civilian citation. The stone itself was bought by the veteran's auxiliary of the Polish army, and the grave is in a family plot — not her own — in St. Mark's Anglican Church cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Elizabeth Caroline Ascher was a surrogate mother to young Polish American boys who left their families in the United States to train in Canada during the First World War.
She helped make uniforms and worried about the soldiers the same way their mothers did back in the States. It was her interest in their well being, especially during the outbreak of the Spanish Flu a month before the end of the war in 1918, which earned her recognition from the Polish government and the hundreds of Polish American families who had sons, brothers and grandchildren in military training.
Polish troops from the U.S. and Canada trained here and went overseas to fight side-by-side with the French army to free Poland from German occupation. The U.S. didn't enter the war until it was more than two years old and just 18 months from ending, so patriotic Polish immigrants to the United States had to come to Canada for military training.
Tomorrow the Polish-American Organization based in Buffalo will make its annual pilgrimage to the grave site of 24 victims of the flu epidemic. The simple headstones are in a fenced-in part of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church cemetery which will forever be "a part of Poland". They will lay wreaths at the foot of a stone altar and at the cenotaph on the main street. On Friday a wreath was placed on the grave of Lizzie Ascher by members of the Polish Veterans (St. Catharines) branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. The wreath may have been forgotten this year had there not been an inquiry by The Standard asking what role Lizzie Ascher — a correspondent for this newspaper — played in the war effort.
Twenty years ago, when more than 5,000 Polish-Americans made the annual trek, Lizzie Ascher was de-scribed as "the person who was such a friend to the Polish troops and soldiers . . . befriending them and taking care of them in sickness and health, tending them with the loving hands of a mother". It would be a surprise to see 500 at tomorrow's ceremony — including the 200 in the parade from the grave to the cenotaph. "The old ones die and the young ones forget," said a member of the Polish legion.
Most of the markers are dated September of October 19 18. The earliest is Christmas Eve, 1917. The Spanish Flu, which was wide-spread around the world, hit first in Niagara at the Polish camp which was part of the Camp Niagara training area. Newspaper accounts filed by Lizzie Ascher initially re-ported early in October 1918 that military doctors thought they had the epidemic confined to the Polish Camp. The camp was quarantined Oct. 2 after 12 deaths were reported and 160 were ill.
It was believed the disease was introduced to the camp by men returning from leave-of-absence or by new recruits from the Buffalo area, where Oct. 11 it was reported there had been 41 deaths and 3,000 influenza cases.
By Oct. 14 Niagara-area schools, churches, theatres, bars, pool halls, dance halls and concert halls — any-where the public gathered — were ordered closed. They stayed closed for two weeks, during which time 20 deaths were reported in St. Catharines. The day after the general closure was announced, three deaths were reported at Camp Niagara, where Canadian troops were training.
At the Polish Camp, men were ordered out of their tents each morning for "temperature parade". If their temperature was not higher than 99F, they were ordered into a hospital unit separate from other patients. The quarantine was in effect for five weeks.

Published by the St. Catharines Standard. Undated. Written by Jim Meyers. Photograph by Bev Christensen.
Photo caption: " Stanley Rustyn, former president of Royal Canadian Legion Polish Branch 418, and branch secretary Christina Kolbuc place a wreath on the grave of Lizzie Ascher in Niagara-on-the-Lake."

Elizabeth C. Ascher died 50 years ago, but her years of dedication and community service to Niagara-on-the-Lake are being recognized this Sunday by The St. Catharines Standard and the Niagara-on-the-Lake public library. The 2:30 p.m. ceremony is open to the public.

Mrs. Ascher reported the daily Niagara-on-the-Lake news for 37 years as correspondent for The St. Catharines Standard from 1904 to 1941. She was a founding member of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Historical Society and was decorated by the Polish government in World War I for providing assistance to Polish soldiers mobilized at Niagara camps.

Mrs. Ascher has two living descendants — a niece and a nephew.
Her niece, Elizabeth Masters, 74, was born in Niagara-on-the-Lake and moved to St. Catharines in 1951. "My father was her youngest brother," Miss Masters said. "She and my father were very devoted to each other, they visited every day. She was very good to myself and my brother as children. She had one child who died in infancy." Miss Masters is a former public school teacher who taught in Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines before retiring in 1977.

Mrs. Ascher's nephew, Dr. Donald Masters, 83, is a retired history professor from the University of Guelph. He also taught at Bishop's University in Quebec for 22 years. "She was my father's sister," Dr. Masters said. "I associate Aunt Lizzie with having a good time; she was always kind to me. I used to visit her on the weekends when I went to Ridley College in St. Catharines from 1923 to 1926." Dr. Masters has carried on the family's writing profession. "I have written six books on Canadian history," he said. "I'm now writing about the life of H J. Cody. He was an Anglican clergyman for St. Paul's Church in Toronto. I think Aunt Lizzie would have liked to write a book, but she had to support herself and remained a correspondent."

As part of its 100th anniversary, The St. Catharines Standard will recognize Mrs. Ascher's contributions to community communication, culture and heritage with a plaque. The plaque will be presented at a commemorative ceremony at the Niagara-on-the-Lake library May 5th at 2:30 p.m. Mrs. Dorothy Burgoyne Doolittle will unveil the plaque.

Written by Karen Gibson. Published by the St. Catharines Standard. May 3, 1991.

Meyers, Jim, Reporter
Christensen, Bev
, Photographer
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Item Types:
Articles about Elizabeth C. Ascher published by local newspapers, shortly, before and after her death on May 5, 1941. She was a correspondent for the St. Catharines Standard for almost 40 years, active member of St. Mark's Anglican Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and a faithful worker in many organizations.
Date of Publication:
May 1941
Date Of Event:
5 May 1941
Personal Name(s):
Ascher, Elizabeth C. (1869-1941)
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Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library
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10 Anderson Lane P.O. Box 430
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
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Mrs. Elizabeth C. Ascher

Articles about Elizabeth C. Ascher published by local newspapers, shortly, before and after her death on May 5, 1941. She was a correspondent for the St. Catharines Standard for almost 40 years, active member of St. Mark's Anglican Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and a faithful worker in many organizations.