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Velvet Joe Caulder

Joseph Ashfield Caulder is one of the in-laws that I just can't resist writing about.

Joseph was born in Bristol, Quebec on April 29, 1884. His parents were Hugh and Margaret Switzer Caulder. He was educated at the Morrisburg Collegiate Institute.

He later moved to Illinois, but kept in touch with the Clark family who were neighbours from Quebec. In 1904 he married Margaret Harrington in East Jordan, Michigan. They settled in Mt. Vernon, Illinois where he worked as a District Superintendent of the Chicago Portrait Company.

In the next few years, Joseph started the Crescent Art Company which sold enlarged photos and portraits and moved the headquarters to East Jordan where they had 25 employees. They moved the headquarters to Brandon, Manitoba in 1906 to expand their territory. They later moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, which at the time was part of the North West Territories.

In 1908 Margaret and Joseph had a daughter - Helen Margaret. Joseph eventually sold the Crescent Art Company and along with his two brothers purchased

"1300 acres and are raising grain on a wholesale scale. So far the fates have smiled at them, and they have literally coined money." - Charlevoix County Herald - February 12, 1910.

By 1910 Joseph had switched from grain to dairy and had started the Saskatchewan Creamery Company. He was also involved in a real estate business. In 1916 he was given a full page (p. 132) of the Northern Who's Who book. It listed his current positions as:

  • Managing Director Saskatchewan Creamery Co. Ltd.
  • Provisional Director, Bank of Saskatchewan
  • Provisional Director, Executors and Administrators Trust Co.
  • Director, Moose Jaw Odd Fellows' Building Association, Ltd.
  • Director, Moose Jaw Cold Storage
  • Member Industrial Committee, Moose Jaw Board of Trade
  • on Board of Management, Moose Jaw Hospital

Besides these, he was the Noble Grand of the local Odd Fellows, and for recreation, he liked to curl. He was also one of the early members of the Rotary club.

In 1918, Margaret and Joseph had a son - Joseph Arnold.

Joseph advocated for standards in the dairy industry, and even wrote a guide book on how to raise dairy cattle, handle the milk, diseases, and delivery of dairy products.

"We nominate "Velvet Joe" Caulder of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for the Hall of Fame, not because he has been nominated for Governor of the Nineteenth District, but because he manufactures ice cream in the immediate neighborhood of the North Pole and has made a highly successful business out of it." - The Rotarian magazine, June 1921

Joseph was the Rotary International District Governor for the 19th District in 1921-22 and a member of the Rotary International Board of Directors in 1928-29 when they lived in Regina, Saskatchewan. He was an active Rotarian for more than 50 years. He was personally acquainted with the first 50 presidents of Rotary International.

"He took it upon himself to prepare four large volumes of Rotary "information" and two larger volumes devoted to information about all Rotary International Presidents from Paul P. Harris in 1910-12 to J. Edd McLaughlin in 1960-61, and all the Directors of Rotary from Canada, the Presidents of R.I.B.I., the General Secretaries of R.I., the Secretaries of R.I.B.I. during Rotary International's first 50 years, and some of the Rotarians of the early era who contributed so much to the development of the organization." -

In 1929 they moved to Toronto, Ontario where Joseph was the President and Managing Director of the Dairy Corporation of Canada. That year their daughter Helen married a lawyer by the name of Wilfrid George Brown. He was the son of Saskatchewan's Chief Justice James Thomas Brown.

Margaret and Joseph lived in Toronto area for the rest of their lives. Joseph did a lot of travelling on behalf of the Rotary Club.

In 1965, they celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary at the Guild Inn in Scarborough, Ontario with both their son and daughter in attendance.

Joseph died on September 27, 1971 and Margaret died in 1973. They were both buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.