Harry Edward Southwell


Family background and early life

Harry Edward Southwell was born at Farley, near Salisbury, in early 1875. [Birth registered at Alderbury in January 1875 quarter] He was the first of four children born to Alfred John Southwell (1833–1918) and his second wife, Ellen née Osman (1842–1916).

At the 1881 census, Alfred John (a carpenter) and Ellen Southwell, were living in Farley village, with their three eldest children including 6-year old Harry, and Ellen’s daughter by her first marriage, 10-year old Annie Pembroke.

Ten years later, Harry was lodging at 28 Garfield Avenue, Christchurch, the home of Stephen Dawkins, a railway porter, and his wife Mary. Harry (now aged 16) was also working as a porter with the London & South Western Railway. In 1901, Harry was still employed as a porter, but had now moved to the Woking area and was living in a lodging house at Parkview, Chobham Road, Horsell.

On 18 July 1902, 27-year old Harry married Agnes Thomson Black, also 27, at her home at 90 King Street, Rutherglen in accordance with the forms of the United Free Church of Scotland. At the time of the marriage, Harry was working as a shipyard labourer and living at 3 Alexander Street, Clydebank. Agnes was the daughter of William Black (1849–1932), a mechanical engineer.

90 King Street, Rutherglen in 2016

The couple’s first child, Joanna Gillespie Southwell (named after her maternal grandmother) was born at 15 Kirkwood Street, Rutherglen on 23 September 1903. Harry’s occupation was now recorded as “tramcar conductor”.


Emigration to Canada

On 4 May 1907, Harry set sail from Glasgow on board the Donaldson Line’s SS Cassandra, arriving in Quebec 11 days later, from where he travelled 700 miles south-west to Woodstock, Ontario. Agnes and Joanna followed him three months later sailing from Glasgow on board SS Ionian of the Allan Line on 24 August.

At Woodstock, Harry worked as a porter at the Hotel Oxford. The couple’s second daughter, Helen Agnes Southwell was born in Oxford County on 13 April 1911.

The family moved 1500 miles north-west to Regina, Saskatchewan in April 1913, where Harry took up employment as a streetcar operator with the Regina Transit system; he worked for the same employer for 30 years until his retirement in 1944.

Agnes died on 11 June 1953, aged 78, at home at Willingdon Apartments, Regina. Harry survived her by five years and died on 19 October 1958, aged 83, at his younger daughter’s home in Dewdney Avenue, Regina. He was buried alongside his wife at the Regina Cemetery.

His elder daughter Joanna married Frank Sissons (1900–1949) in 1923; they had two daughters. The family lived for many years in the United States; Joanna died in Louisiana in June 1984.

Helen married Manley Clarke (1906–1972) in 1936, and had one daughter, Agnes born in 1940. She continued to live in Regina until her death in February 1986.