|Date of Birth||May 14, 1898|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mrs. S. Barnhardt (mother), Cranbrook, British Columbia|
|Trade / Calling||Teamster/Butcher|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Victoria, British Columbia|
|Address at Enlistment||Cranbrook, British Columbia|
|Date of Enlistment||May 19, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||18|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
Early History, Parents and Siblings: Nathan’s only known connection to Kenora was that he was born there on April 14, 1898 to Simeon and Margaret Barnhardt. His parents had only recently moved from Southern Ontario around 1896. Although the ancestral background of the Barnhardts was German, Nathan, who was at least a fourth generation Canadian, identifies himself as Canadian. His father, Simeon Ashley was born in Ontario, September 8, 1864 and Simeon’s father and grandfather Barnhardt were also born in Ontario. Nathan’s mother, Margaret Jane Jenkins, whose ancestral background was Irish, was born in Lansdowne, Ontario, August 20, 1866. Her parents were both born in Ireland and moved to Canada by the 1881 Canadian Census. Simeon and Margaret were married in Gravenhurst, Aurora Township, District of Muskoka, Ontario, February 27, 1889. Simeon was Railway Brakeman at the time.
By the 1901 census, the Barnhardt family had moved to the Yale and Cariboo area, sub-district of Kootenay, British Columbia (B.C.) at which time Simeon had become a Railway Conductor. The family was Church of England in their faith. At this time, the known children, born in different locations in Ontario and British Columbia are: Annie (1889); Enid (1891); Albert (1892); Charles (1896); Nathan (1898); Mary (1900). In the 1911 census, the family, with Margaret as Head of Household, is also living in the same location in B.C. Another son, Edward, was born in 1902. Simeon, Annie and Enid are not recorded living with the family in this census.
In 1916, prior to enlisting, Nathan was employed as a Teamster.
World War 1 Experience: On March 1, 1915, at the age of 17, Nathan managed to enlist with the 11th Canadian Mounted Rifles (CMR’s) but was discharged on May 6th as being underage. Although his given middle name was Nicholas, Nathan used the middle name Butler when he enlisted on May 19, 1916 in Cranbrook. His mother was next of kin. He was placed with the 2nd Depot Battalion, British Columbia Regiment and was stationed in Victoria where he served for 22 months. During this time, he married Loreatter Polk in Victoria, B.C. on April 16, 1918. She was living at 1318 Douglas Street. According to her death certificate, Loreatter was born July 3, 1897, Camden, New Jersey in the United States.
On April 4, 1918, Nathan was promoted to Acting Lance Corporal. On May 23rd, 1918, he embarked on the H.M. Empress of Asia, in Victoria, landing in Liverpool July 2. On July 5th, his rank was returned to Private and he was transferred to the 11th English Reserves for 5 months in Seaford, England. On October 10th, 1918, Nathan was taken on strength to France serving 8 months with the 72nd Battalion. He saw action in the field for less than a month.
Nathan returned to Canada on the Empress of Britain, embarking from Liverpool arriving in Quebec City on June 4, 1919. He was discharged on the 9th of June in Calgary then returned to Cranbrook. When discharged, he had no wounds and no disabilities.
Life After the War: According to the 1921 Census, Nathan and Loretta were childless and living at 41 Hanson Avenue, Cranbrook, B.C. Nathan was earning $800 a year as a Butcher. Nathan is next located as a passenger, travelling without family, on the vessel S.S. Princess Louise, sailing out of Prince Rupert, B.C. and arriving in Ketchikan, Alaska on October 9, 1929. He was employed as a miner. No further record of him as been located; however, in the 1949 Canada Voter’s List, there is a Mr. N.B. Barnhardt and Mrs. A.D. Barnhardt living in Creston, in the District of Kootenay, in B.C. He was a Grain Buyer. It is difficult to draw a relationship between Nathan and this man without further research.
Death and Burial: There is no death record for Nathan in the British Columbia Archives or on available records on Ancestry.ca or MyHeritage. Contact with other Barnhardt family researchers may help fill in the missing information. Loreatter died a widow, on March 29, 1980 in Vancouver, B.C., thus, Nathan died before this date.
Prepared by Susan (Hillman) Brazeau in support of the Kenora Great War Project – honouring all who served, remembering those who died.
Library and Archives Canada: Soldiers of the First World War
British Columbia Marriages
Canadian Census: 1901, 1911, 1916, 1921
Canadian Passenger Lists
Alaska, Passenger and Crew Manifests (available on ancestry.ca)
British Columbia Archives: Death Registers
Other resources checked: U.S. Census to 1940, Canada Voters’ Lists, MyHeritage and ancestry.ca