The People

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

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  • Parsons, Henry Edmund Image
  • Parsons, Henry Edmund

  • Henry Edmund Parsons was born 2 January 1887 in Rat Portage, Ontario. His parents were Alfred Joseph Parsons and Florence Nightingale Johnstone. Alfred and Florence were both born in Quebec, Alfred in Huntingdon and his wife in Sorel. They were married in Montreal in October 1883 and their first child, Beatrice, was born the following year. A short time later the family moved to Rat Portage in northwestern Ontario and four sons were born there: Alfred Cecil (1885), Henry Edmund/Edmond, Edgar Joseph (1891) and Frederick William (1895). Around 1886 Alfred became the postmaster in Rat Portage, which was later renamed Kenora, and he held the position until his retirement in 1921.

    Henry was usually known as Harry and he moved to Portland, Oregon before the start of the First World War. Beatrice, Cecil and Edgar also moved there but Frederick and their parents stayed in Kenora. Frederick enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the fall of 1915 and he served overseas for three years. The U.S. entered the war in April 1917 and Harry completed his World War I U.S. draft card on 1 June in Portland. He was single, 30 years old, living in Portland and working as a civil engineer for a lumber company. According to his obituary he served with a U.S. Army Spruce Squadron, part of the army’s Spruce Production Division. The men were stationed in the Pacific Northwest and they produced lumber for the construction of aircraft. They also built railways and roads to reach new stands of timber and operated railroads and transport trucks. Most of the troops were demobilized shortly after the Armistice.

    When the 1920 U.S. census was taken Harry was married and living in Portland with his wife, Norma Laura Hummel, and her parents William and Lena Hummel. Norma was born in Portland in 1887 and she married Harry around 1919. In 1920 Harry was employed as a civil engineer for an engineering firm. By 1930 he was working as a civil engineer for an oil firm and at the time of the 1940 census he was a civil engineer involved in gun construction for the U.S. Army Engineers. Sometime after that he had a career in real estate.

    Harry passed away in the Portland Veterans Hospital on 2 March 1959, at age 72. His funeral was held three days later and he’s buried in River View Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, his brothers Cecil, Edgar and Frederick and his sister Beatrice (Mrs. Harry Elliott). His mother had died in Kenora in 1918 and his father in Portland in 1937. Norma passed away in 1988, at age 100, and she’s buried with Harry in River View Cemetery. Also interred there Harry’s sister Beatrice and their father. Edgar died in 1970 and he’s buried in Siskiyou Memorial Park in Medford, Oregon. Frederick passed away in 1978 and he’s interred at Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Grants Pass, Oregon. Cecil died in Florida in 1987.

    By Becky Johnson

    Parsons-Henry-Edmund-90 Parsons-Henry-Edmund-91 Parsons-Henry-Edmund-92

    River View grave marker photos courtesy of FriendsofRiverView (#47910568) on Findagrave.com.

  • Regimental Number:
  • Service Record:
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • U.S. Army
  • Branch:
  • Spruce Production Division
  • Battalion:
  • Spruce Squadron
  • Place of Birth:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Next of Kin:
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Date of Birth:
  • January 2, 1887
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Civil Engineer
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • Religion:
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Saw Service In:
  • United States
  • Date of Death:
  • March 2, 1959
  • Age at Death:
  • 72
  • Buried at:
  • River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon
  • Plot:
  • Sec 07, Lot 104, Grave 14
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Henry Edmund Parsons was born 2 January 1887 in Rat Portage, Ontario. His parents were Alfred Joseph Parsons and Florence Nightingale Johnstone. Alfred and Florence were both born in Quebec, Alfred in Huntingdon and his wife in Sorel. They were married in Montreal in October 1883 and their first child, Beatrice, was born the following year. A short time later the family moved to Rat Portage in northwestern Ontario and four sons were born there: Alfred Cecil (1885), Henry Edmund/Edmond, Edgar Joseph (1891) and Frederick William (1895). Around 1886 Alfred became the postmaster in Rat Portage, which was later renamed Kenora, and he held the position until his retirement in 1921.

    Henry was usually known as Harry and he moved to Portland, Oregon before the start of the First World War. Beatrice, Cecil and Edgar also moved there but Frederick and their parents stayed in Kenora. Frederick enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the fall of 1915 and he served overseas for three years. The U.S. entered the war in April 1917 and Harry completed his World War I U.S. draft card on 1 June in Portland. He was single, 30 years old, living in Portland and working as a civil engineer for a lumber company. According to his obituary he served with a U.S. Army Spruce Squadron, part of the army’s Spruce Production Division. The men were stationed in the Pacific Northwest and they produced lumber for the construction of aircraft. They also built railways and roads to reach new stands of timber and operated railroads and transport trucks. Most of the troops were demobilized shortly after the Armistice.

    When the 1920 U.S. census was taken Harry was married and living in Portland with his wife, Norma Laura Hummel, and her parents William and Lena Hummel. Norma was born in Portland in 1887 and she married Harry around 1919. In 1920 Harry was employed as a civil engineer for an engineering firm. By 1930 he was working as a civil engineer for an oil firm and at the time of the 1940 census he was a civil engineer involved in gun construction for the U.S. Army Engineers. Sometime after that he had a career in real estate.

    Harry passed away in the Portland Veterans Hospital on 2 March 1959, at age 72. His funeral was held three days later and he’s buried in River View Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, his brothers Cecil, Edgar and Frederick and his sister Beatrice (Mrs. Harry Elliott). His mother had died in Kenora in 1918 and his father in Portland in 1937. Norma passed away in 1988, at age 100, and she’s buried with Harry in River View Cemetery. Also interred there Harry’s sister Beatrice and their father. Edgar died in 1970 and he’s buried in Siskiyou Memorial Park in Medford, Oregon. Frederick passed away in 1978 and he’s interred at Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Grants Pass, Oregon. Cecil died in Florida in 1987.

    By Becky Johnson

    Parsons-Henry-Edmund-90 Parsons-Henry-Edmund-91 Parsons-Henry-Edmund-92

    River View grave marker photos courtesy of FriendsofRiverView (#47910568) on Findagrave.com.

  • « Return to all stories
  • Parsons, Henry Edmund Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • Force:
  • U.S. Army
  • Battalion:
  • Spruce Squadron
  • Place of Birth:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Next of Kin:
  • Date of Birth:
  • January 2, 1887
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Spruce Production Division
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Civil Engineer
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • Religion:
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Saw Service In:
  • United States
  • Date of Death:
  • March 2, 1959
  • Age at Death:
  • 72
  • Buried at:
  • River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon
  • Plot:
  • Sec 07, Lot 104, Grave 14
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Parsons, Henry Edmund

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