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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

William Henry (1864 - 1933)

William was born in Perth County, Ontario on March 11, 1864 to Mary Tait and William Henry Sr.  His father died when he was nine years old and his mother and 10 siblings moved west to Blanshard, Manitoba in 1881.  Mary had 10 children but the eldest three were girls (including my great grandmother Elizabeth) and therefore ineligible to take out homesteads.  He turned 18 in the spring of 1881 and in 1883, he applied for Homestead #14910 the SE 6-14-21, adjacent to the home farm. He also farmed on the south half of 5-14-21 for some years.

Photo taken from White Bank Lea History Book
He married Elizabeth Michael (called Lizzie on the 1901 census) of the McConnell district in 1898 when he was 34. She was born in Ontario of Irish immigrant parents. This later marriage seems typical for Henry brothers as they were busy building up their homesteads before marrying and often working away from Blanshard to save up money.  All went well and in the 1906 census, the couple had 5 children aged 6 and under and 10 years later there were seven children.  William and Elizabeth had a large family of 8 children who were pupils at White Bank Lea School until tragedy befell them in 1920.  Within three days, four of their children died from an influenza epidemic.  The Oak River Post ran the following obituary;


To lose four children in two days has just been the exceptionally sad
lot of Mr. and Mrs. William HENRY, the cause of death in each case being
pneumonia following influenza. George T., aged 18 years and 11 months,
and Della aged 14 years and 5 months, died less than an hour apart on
Friday morning, and Wilfred James, aged sixteen, and Edith aged eleven,
passed away early Sunday morning. The deceased were all of a robust
constitution and particularly well developed for their age, but in spite
of this and all that medical science could do for them, the disease was
of such a malignant type that they could not withstand its ravages.
The four children were buried in White Bank Lea cemetery, the former
two on Saturday forenoon and the latter two on Sunday evening, Rev. Wm.
FERGUSON officiating.
Four pleasant faces will be greatly missed from the life of our
community, and our tenderest sympathies are extended to the fond parents
in their grief.

Photos taken from White Banklea History Book
Children of William and Elizabeth:
  • Mary Ethel (1899-1983) Married William Bedwell and had 2 children
  • George Thomas (1900-1920)
  • William "Clifford" (1902 - ?) married Ellen Agnes Robbins raised one son, moved to Trancona 
  • James Wilfred (1903-1920)
  • Della Etta (1905-1920)
  • Mabel Elizabeth (1906-1980) married Gus Higham moved to Brandon  and had 4 children
  • Edith Edna (1909-1920)
  • Edwin (1918- ?)  was in WW2, married Florence McDonald, moved to Lloydminster and had 3 children

William died in 1932 at the age of 68.  His wife Elizabeth passed away in 1954 at the age of 80.  The parents and five of the children are buried together in White Bank Lea Cemetery, close to the farm where they lived their lives together. 

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