Memorable Manitobans: Frederick Arthur “Fred” Twilley (1882-1976)
Born at Leicester, England on 21 February 1882, son of James Twilley and Eliza Richardson, brother of Gertrude Twilley Richardson, he came to Canada in 1902 and settled on a farm in Ontario, later moving to the Roaring River district of Manitoba. In 1916, he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and served overseas with the 12th Infantry Battalion.
While in England, he met and, on 28 April 1918 married Edith Elizabeth Watson (1882-1982) of Leicester. They returned to the Roaring River area and farmed for the next 55 years and had three children: Elizabeth Joan Twilley (?-1987, wife of Robert K. Wallcraft, daughter-in-law of William Wallcraft), Dorothy Twilley (?-?, wife of David Shewfelt), and Jack Twilley (?-1966, husband of Marjorie Henderson).
Interested in local history, he operated a private museum and wrote Between the Hills: Life in the Swan River Valley, 1787-1958 (1958), Swan River Vignettes (1962), and Life in the Old West (c1968). He was a member and Sunday School Superintendent of the Roaring River United Church, was Secretary-Treasurer of the Roaring River School Board for 25 years, Secretary of the Sevick branch of the Manitoba Pool Elevators, and President of the local Royal Canadian Legion.
He died at Swan River on 7 October 1976 and was buried in the Birchwood Cemetery. After this death, the contents of his museum about the Swan Valley area were moved to the Archibald Museum and, after 2015, to the Swan Valley Museum.
His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
1921 Canada census, Ancestry.
“Roaring River,” Swan Valley Star and Times, 2 May 1968, page 6.
Obituary, Swan Valley Star and Times, 28 October 1976, page 2.
Obituary [Edith Elizabeth Twilley], Swan Valley Star and Times, 28 January 1982, page 2.
Obituary [Elizabeth Joan Wallcraft], Swan Valley Star and Times, 17 September 1987, page 33.
We thank Nonni Jonsson for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 19 September 2022