Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Watson McLean Crossley (1892-1980)

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Watson McLean Crossley
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Farmer, community activist.

Born at Cheverie, Nova Scotia on 23 September 1892, son of Frederick M. Crossley (1860-1950) and Harriet Louisa Crossley (1867-1939), he came to Manitoba with his parents in 1898 and was educated at The Narrows School, The Landing School, and Gladstone School. He received a Diploma in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba.

On 30 June 1920, he married Ethel Frances Thompson (1891-1970) at Oakville and they moved to a farm in the Wicklow district, where they would have two daughters and a son. His winters were spent logging and cutting wood in the Duck Mountains. He lived for the rest of his life on his farm, except for the period from 1928 to 1931 when he worked at Winnipeg as a fieldman for Manitoba Pool Elevators. In 1946, he was elected to the Pool Provincial Board where he served for ten years.

He served on the Wicklow School Board, Wicklow United Church Board, and was Superintendent of the Sunday Schools at Wicklow and Grandview. In his later years, his interest turned to collecting Indigenous artifacts and natural rocks, which he later donated to a museum in Grandview that was renamed the Watson Crossley Community Museum in his honour. He was active in the Association of Manitoba Museums (President), Gilbert Plains / Grandview Agricultural Society, Manitoba Archaeology Society, and Grandview Chamber of Commerce.

In recognition of his contributions, he received a life membership in the Association of Manitoba Museums, Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History, and Award of Merit from the Canadian Museum Association.

He died at Grandview on 6 December 1980 and was buried in the Grandview Cemetery.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Watson Crossley Community Museum (Burrows Street, Grandview, Municipality of Grandview)


Marriage and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary, Grandview Exponent, 17 December 1980, page 15.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 30 May 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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