The People

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These are the stories of Kenora participants in the First World War.

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  • Humphrey, John Edgar Alexander Image
  • Humphrey, John Edgar Alexander

  • Private John Edgar Alexander Humphrey was born on 29 November 1894 in Dixville, Barnston Township, Quebec. His father Samuel Edgar Humphrey, a farmer, was from the U.S. and his mother Isabelle Murray was born in Quebec to Scottish parents. Samuel and Isabelle were married in Coaticook, Barnston County in 1884 and they had at least five children: Samuel Jr., Fanny, Gladys, John and Henry. Henry, the youngest child, was born in April 1897. Samuel Edgar passed away six months later, in October 1897, and he’s buried in Dixville Cemetery. Isabelle continued to run the farm until at least 1911 and when the census was taken that year her sons John and Henry were still living at home.

    By 1917 John and his mother had moved to Ignace, Ontario and he was working as a switchman for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Conscription started in Canada that summer and single men aged 20 to 34 were required to register by November. John had his medical in December in Dryden and he was called up the following spring, on 10 May 1918. He was assigned to the Port Arthur branch of the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment and he served with them for four months. He was granted conditional leave in September 1918 and discharged on demobilization on 10 January 1919. His youngest brother Henry was also conscripted and he served in Great Britain for sixteen months.

    After the war John returned to Ignace and to his job with the CPR. He was married in Ignace on 21 September 1921 to Lillian Irene McAllan. Lillian was born in Fort William, Ontario in 1899, the daughter of Edwin and Nettie McAllan. Her parents moved to Ignace when she was a baby and she had one sister, Gladys. John and Lillian had five children: Keith, Allen, John Spencer, Evelyn and Shirley. They moved to Kenora in 1932 and John continued to work for the CPR. Sadly, their son John Spencer died in 1941 at age five and he’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

    John became yard master for the CPR in 1946 and retired in 1959 when he turned 65. He passed away at Lake of the Woods District Hospital on 20 December 1969, at age 75. His wife died in 1972 and they are buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery along with other family members.

    By Becky Johnson

  • Regimental Number:
  • 2383971
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Battalion:
  • 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment
  • Place of Birth:
  • Dixville, Barnston Township, Quebec
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs. Belle Humphrey (mother), Ignace, Ontario
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Ignace, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • November 29, 1894
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Switchman
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Port Arthur, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • May 10, 1918
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 23
  • Religion:
  • Baptist
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Conscripted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Canada
  • Date of Death:
  • December 20, 1969
  • Age at Death:
  • 75
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 37E-14-3
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Private John Edgar Alexander Humphrey was born on 29 November 1894 in Dixville, Barnston Township, Quebec. His father Samuel Edgar Humphrey, a farmer, was from the U.S. and his mother Isabelle Murray was born in Quebec to Scottish parents. Samuel and Isabelle were married in Coaticook, Barnston County in 1884 and they had at least five children: Samuel Jr., Fanny, Gladys, John and Henry. Henry, the youngest child, was born in April 1897. Samuel Edgar passed away six months later, in October 1897, and he’s buried in Dixville Cemetery. Isabelle continued to run the farm until at least 1911 and when the census was taken that year her sons John and Henry were still living at home.

    By 1917 John and his mother had moved to Ignace, Ontario and he was working as a switchman for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Conscription started in Canada that summer and single men aged 20 to 34 were required to register by November. John had his medical in December in Dryden and he was called up the following spring, on 10 May 1918. He was assigned to the Port Arthur branch of the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment and he served with them for four months. He was granted conditional leave in September 1918 and discharged on demobilization on 10 January 1919. His youngest brother Henry was also conscripted and he served in Great Britain for sixteen months.

    After the war John returned to Ignace and to his job with the CPR. He was married in Ignace on 21 September 1921 to Lillian Irene McAllan. Lillian was born in Fort William, Ontario in 1899, the daughter of Edwin and Nettie McAllan. Her parents moved to Ignace when she was a baby and she had one sister, Gladys. John and Lillian had five children: Keith, Allen, John Spencer, Evelyn and Shirley. They moved to Kenora in 1932 and John continued to work for the CPR. Sadly, their son John Spencer died in 1941 at age five and he’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

    John became yard master for the CPR in 1946 and retired in 1959 when he turned 65. He passed away at Lake of the Woods District Hospital on 20 December 1969, at age 75. His wife died in 1972 and they are buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery along with other family members.

    By Becky Johnson

  • « Return to all stories
  • Humphrey, John Edgar Alexander Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 2383971
  • Force:
  • Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Battalion:
  • 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment
  • Place of Birth:
  • Dixville, Barnston Township, Quebec
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs. Belle Humphrey (mother), Ignace, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • November 29, 1894
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Ignace, Ontario
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Switchman
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Port Arthur, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • May 10, 1918
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 23
  • Religion:
  • Baptist
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Conscripted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Canada
  • Date of Death:
  • December 20, 1969
  • Age at Death:
  • 75
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 37E-14-3
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Humphrey, John Edgar Alexander

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