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Memorable Manitobans: Austin Edward Sperring (1868-1958)

Farmer, municipal official.

Born at Somerset, England on 27 October 1868, he came to Canada in 1887 and settled at Birds Hill in 1897. He farmed and, with the help of neighbours, erected a two-storey house at 41 Birds Hill Road in 1900, about a mile away from the town site. On 7 March 1905, he married Lillian Louisa Mizen (1878-1967) in the Anglican Church at Middlechurch. The couple had three children: Dorothy Mary Sperring (1907-1991, wife of Hendrick “Henry” Smith), Arthur Robert “Art” Sperring (1909-2006), and Henry Ivan Sperring (1912-1978).

He was active in the community, as Councillor (1909-1913) and Reeve (1913-1914) of the Rural Municipality of St. Paul, Councillor and Reeve (1916-1917, 1930-1953) of Rural Municipality of East St. Paul, and school board trustee for 24 years of the Birds Hill School / East St. Paul School District, including about 12 years as Chairman. During his 24-year tenure as Reeve, it is said that he missed only one council meeting, and that on account of illness. He was also President of the Bird’s Hill Farmer’s Institute (1916), Warden (1900-1957) of St. Catherine’s Anglican Church in Bird’s Hill, and was a committee member of the Manitoba Good Roads Association. On his retirement from municipal office, he was feted at a dinner at the Royal Alexandra Hotel and given an easy chair for his many years of service. Present at the dinner was fellow long-serving Councillor H. De Vries and Minister of Municipal Affairs Edmond Prefontaine. A subsequent ceremony at the East St. Paul Consolidated School was attended by some 200 locals as well as Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs R. M. Fisher and Justice A. M. Campbell.

He died at Victoria Hospital on 8 August 1958 and was buried in Middlechurch Cemetery. He is commemorated by Sperring Avenue in East St. Paul.

Sources:

Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Factors on which success depends,” Manitoba Free Press, 27 January 1916, page 4.

“Dorothy M. Sperring is bride,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 December 1937, page 8.

“St. Catherine’s marks birthday,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 November 1943, page 13.

“Beachell re-elected Good Roads leader,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 October 1946, page 13.

“Municipal candidates file in three city suburbs,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 October 1953, page 3.

“Austin Sperring retires as East St. Paul Reeve,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 December 1953, page 27.

“Bird’s Hill couple celebrate golden wedding anniversary,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 March 1955, page 18.

“Former Reeve of E. St. Paul A. Sperring dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 August 1958, page 31.

“She won’t leave it,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 July 1960, page 3.

Obituary [Lillian Sperring], Winnipeg Free Press, 4 October 1967, page 53.

Obituary [Henry Ivan Sperring], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 March 1978, page 49.

Obituary [Dorothy Mary Smith], Winnipeg Free Press, 4 May 1993, page 36.

Obituary [Arthur Robert Sperring], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 April 2006, page 41.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 7 February 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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