Memorable Manitobans: Percy Dewart Harris (1871-1953)
Born at Leamington, Ontario on 22 August 1871, son of Alexander G. Harris and Sarah M. Williams, he was educated at Forrest, Ingersoll, and Parkhill before attending Victoria College at Cobourg from 1888 to 1891. He came to Manitoba in 1891 and taught at Elgin School to mid-December. He attended a ten-week training course for teachers at Virden under the supervision of Sidney Edward Lang, then taught at Mayville School from March to December 1892 and at Binscarth School from January to December 1893.
He returned to Toronto in 1894 to attend Victoria College, now affiliated with the University of Toronto. Graduating in the spring of 1895, he came back to Manitoba and, after a stint at the Central Normal School, he served as Principal at Virden School (1896-1900) and Selkirk School (1900-1903) before moving to Winnipeg in 1904, as a teacher at the Central Collegiate. In 1919, he was Secretary of the Commission on Status and Salaries of Teachers.
He served as Principal of General Wolfe School (1920-1923), Principal Sparling School (1923-1925), and Isaac Brock School (1925-1938), then retired from the latter in 1938. He was Secretary (1911-1920) and President (1920-1921) of the Manitoba Educational Association, and spent 14 years as chairman of a committee investigating teachers’ status and salaries for the provincial government.
In the fall of 1899, he married Nina May Harding (1873-1926) of St. Mary’s, Ontario, at Virden. They had three children: George Harding Harris, Florence Ada Harris, and Mary Elizabeth Harris (1905-1974, wife of D. Harold Turner). He was a member of Young United Church, Masons (Prince Rupert Lodge), and IOOF (North Star Lodge).
Ontario birth registration, Ancestry.
1901 and 1911 Canada censes, Automated Genealogy.
Obituary [Nina May Harris], Winnipeg Tribune, 3 January 1927, page 18.
“Personalities,” Manitoba School Journal, Vol. 6, No. 9, May 1944, page 2.
Winnipeg School Days, 1871-1950 by W. G. Pearce, Winnipeg School Division, Education Resource Centre.
“Veteran educator in city schools, Percy Harris dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 June 1953, page 10.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 5 June 1953, page 28.
The History of the Manitoba Educational Association by Ernest Butterworth, MEd thesis, Faculty of Graduate Study and Research, University of Manitoba, 1965.
Obituary [Mary Elizabeth Turner], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 August 1974, page 45.
Obituary [Florence Ada Harris], Winnipeg Free Press, 12 February 1983, page 61.
We thank Evelyn Ward de Roo for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 September 2022