Clementina Comfort was born on 4 Apr 1895 in Rosedene, Gainsborough, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. She is the fourth child, and third daughter, of Alonzo Comfort and Myra Marr. Clementina’s family lived on the stretch of land that separates Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
|Niagara Peninsula Counties|
This landform touches the area of New York state where Niagara Falls separates the two countries. Gainsborough was just over 35 kilometers north of Lake Erie and 15 km south of Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls was just over fifty km to the east.
After her birth, Clementina’s family was joined by the birth of Florence Almina in 1898 and Carrie Octavia in 1900. Clementina grew up in a home full of six girls. The only son of Alonzo and Myra was born and died in 1891.
In 1901, the Alonzo Comfort family was enumerated by the Canadian Census. Clementina was only five, so she was not yet attending school. Her siblings S. May, and Laura were all attending school. Although she wasn’t attending school, the census taker recorded Clementina as being able to read and write. Incidentally, Clementina’s younger sister Almina could not read or write at the age of three. Interestingly, the youngest of the family, who would have been about 11 months old, was recorded as being 11 (years old), attending school, and being able to read and write.
The family could speak English, as they claimed English as their nationality but they could not speak French. Alonzo was a farmer. The family practiced the United Brethren religion. Though a great many neighbors professed to belong to the Methodist faith.
In 1911, Clementina’s family lived on Lot 9 Concession 2 in Gainsboro, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. This time, Alonzo identifies his family tribe as German. Why it did this is a mystery. The Comfort family left British America after the American Revolution for British Canada. They were essentially British. It’s possible that Myra answered the census recorder. Part of her ancestry might be German but it is not fully established yet. At the age of 16, Clementina was indexed as having ‘none’ occupation. So did her older sisters and mother. Children 10 and older had to have an occupation listed. Perhaps ‘student’ or ‘working on family farm’ wasn’t important enough to identify. However, Clementina, age 16, Almina, 13. and Carrie, 11, attended school. Fay was not yet in school. The family continued to practice the United Brethren congregationalist religion.
In 1914, Clementina’s older sister Susannah May married James Merritt. The following year, her sister Laura married John Barwell. Sometime during the 1910s,
Clementia began teaching public school in Smithville, Ontario, Canada. She taught at S.S. No. 1 Caistor and was principal of Smithville Public School. She also met her sweetheart Robert Victor Zumstein who went off to America to study physics at the State University of Iowa. In 1920, he returned to Canada and the couple got married on her family farm. At the time of their marriage, they followed the Congregationalist religion. Interestingly, since they were married in July 1920, Clementina did not appear in a 1920 Census for Canada or the United States. The United State Census was taken prior to her immigration to Iowa in September and the Canadian Census would be taken the following year.