Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Benson Reynolds (1867-1948)

Educator, editor.

Born at Solina, Darlington Township, Durham County, Ontario on 25 December 1867, son of Joseph Wellington Reynolds (1820-1899) and Ann Coone [Coon] (1829-1879), he attended school at Solina and passed his high school entrance at the age of 12, though deferred future schooling in favour of working on the family farm for five more years until his father (since remarried) retired to Oshawa. He then continued with his education, graduating from the Bowmanville High School and enrolling at the University of Toronto, where he took a year of studies with a focus on mathematics. Next, he taught three years at Enfield, Ontario before returning to university and attaining a BA (1893) degree.

He began working at the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph where he was a Professor of Physics and English (1893-1915) as well as the English Chair (c1904-1915). Upon his departure, he was given an engraved gold watch for his 22 years of service. During this period, he started a family, was a gold medalist and MA degree graduate, and acquired (circa 1911) the former Jesse Gale farm west of Port Hope, taking up farming in addition to his lecture duties. On 23 December 1897, he married Margaret Herod Gowdy (1876-1946) at Durham and they had four sons: Arthur Gowdy Reynolds (1900-1901), Walter Benson Reynolds (1902-1965), James Alfred “Jim” Reynolds (1903-1989), and Edgar Francis Reynolds (1906-1977).

In 1915, he came to Manitoba as Principal/President of the Manitoba Agricultural College, serving in that capacity from 1 October 1915 through 31 July 1920. He resided at the Principal’s Residence in Fort Garry and, whilst in Manitoba, also served as Secretary of the Manitoba Food Committee (1917). In August 1920, he returned to the Ontario Agricultural College as President (1920-1928), and was awarded an honourary doctorate (1927) from Queen’s University for pursuits in the welfare of farmers. Following his tenure at the College, he took several years off to farm before engaging as a Director (?-?) and President (?-1938) of of Toronto Milk Producers’ Association, as well as the President (1938-?) of the Milk Foundation of Toronto. He also served as the Editor of the Ontario Milk Producer (c1934-1948). Due to failing health, he resigned these posts in August 1948. That same year, he was elected to the University of Toronto Senate for his contributions to agricultural science.

He died at Bowmanville, Ontario on 13 November 1948 and was buried in the Port Hope Union Cemetery at Port Hope, Ontario. His 47-acre farm was sold to the Ontario government and became part of the Ontario Veterinary College.


1901 & 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.

1916 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.

Ontario death registration, Ancestry.

“"Oshawa [Rev. C. W. Reynolds ... Mr. Jos. B. Reynolds],” Canadian Statesman [Bowmanville, Ontario], 18 January 1893, page 8.

“Reynolds given watch and gold,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 16 October 1915, page 10.

“J. B. Reynolds slated to head College,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 11 September 1915, page 1.

“Guelph Professor new College head,” Manitoba Free Press, 17 September 1915, page 5.

“‘Too small for job,’ Winkler view of Black,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 17 September 1915, page 5.

“W. J. Black considers he has job,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 17 September 1915, page 1.

“Lecture courses for farmers arranged,” Manitoba Free Press, 25 January 1916, page 10.

“Urges conscription of farm labor,” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 January 1917, page 8.

“Will urge housewives to pledge support to food saving campaign,” Winnipeg Tribune, 27 August 1917, page 1.

“College Board may not name successor to Prof. J. B. Reynolds,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 21 May 1920, page 26.

“Saskatchewan man succeeds Reynolds here,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 25 May 1920, page 1.

“To become head of Agricultural College in July,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 26 May 1920, page 1.

“Urges more interest in our rural life,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 August 1920, page 8.

“Dr. J. B. Reynolds President of newly formed Milk Foundation,” Canadian Statesman [Bowmanville, Ontario], 7 april 1938, pages 1 & 7.

“Heads milk body,” Manitoba Free Press, 5 April 1938, page 11.

“Back in 1928,” Acton Free Press [Acton, Ontario], 10 June 1948, page 5.

“Outstanding teacher and editor Dr. J. B. Reynolds resigns offices,” Canadian Statesman [Bowmanville, Ontario], 19 August 1948, page 8.

“Two Durham county bows elected to Varsity Senate,” Canadian Statesman [Bowmanville, Ontario], 18 November 1948, page 2.

“Solina,” Canadian Statesman [Bowmanville, Ontario], 18 November 1948, page 6.

“Dr. Reynolds' farm bought for Veterinary College,” Canadian Statesman [Bowmanville, Ontario], 16 December 1948, page 11.

“The last graduation,” Canadian Statesman [Bowmanville, Ontario], 12 October 1966, page 12.

“W. Reynolds Chairman Durham H. S. Board,” Canadian Statesman [Bowmanville, Ontario] 20 January 1955, page 1.

Hurst family tree, Ancestry.

Port Hope Union Cemetery burial transcriptions, FindAGrave.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 15 June 2020

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