Memorable Manitobans: John Beaufort Somerset (1843-1901)
Born near Dublin, Ireland, on 2 March 1843, he was educated in Ireland and emigrated to Ontario in 1861. He taught in several public schools there and in 1871 was appointed inspector of schools for Lincoln County.
In 1882 he accepted the position of inspector of schools for Winnipeg. He was appointed superintendent of education for the Protestant schools of Manitoba in 1883. In this position, with the assistance of a board of education, he organized four hundred additional schools and introduced a system of normal school education. In 1891, after the Protestant and Catholic separate school system was abolished, he became Secretary-Treasurer of the Manitoba Free Press. He was a member of the board of Wesley College (now the University of Winnipeg).
On 10 October 1867, he married Elizabeth S. Darche. They had two sons and two daughters, including Maud Mary Somerset (wife of W. F. Osborne).
In the spring of 1900 Somerset retired to Peachland, British Columbia. He died there on 9 March 1901. He is commemorated by Somerset Avenue in Winnipeg.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
We thank Donna Barraclough for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 29 March 2015
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