|Date of Birth||July 8, 1898|
|Place of Birth||Cloquet, Minnesota|
|Country||United State of America|
|Next of Kin||Joseph Harkins, father, Keewatin, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Teacher|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Dryden, Ontario|
|Age at Enlistment||17|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||May 25, 1938|
|Age at Death||40|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Alexander Harkins was born on 8 July 1898 in Cloquet, Minnesota, USA. His father Joseph Patrick Harkins was from Quebec City and had moved to Keewatin in northwestern Ontario (near Kenora) to work in the lumbering/sawmill industry. His mother Sarah Stewart was from Walkerton, Ontario. The couple married in Keewatin in 1888 and gave birth to their first child, a daughter Agnes Mae, later that year. Their next child, John Jeremiah was born in 1890. Following his birth the family moved to the Cloquet area in northern Minnesota where Joseph worked as a mill labourer. While in the States four more children were born, Joseph in 1892, Archibald in 1893, Alexander, and Isaac Frederick in 1900. Later family obituaries mention another daughter but trace of her could not be found. The family moved back to Keewatin in 1907 where Joseph found employment with the Keewatin Lumber Company. Sadly, it appears that Archibald had died.
At age 17, Alexander signed his attestation papers with the 94th Battalion in Dryden, Ontario on 27 November 1915. His occupation was given as teacher and his father Joseph back in Keewatin as next of kin. However, underage and unable to obtain his parents’ consent, Alexander was discharged from service on December 7th.
Alexander’s brother John Jerry enlisted in October of 1914 and served overseas with the 27th Battalion. He suffered a shrapnel wound just after the Battle of Courcelette and was invalided to England. He rejoined the battalion in March of 1917, and returned to Canada in May of 1919.
For many years Alexander taught school in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and later on in his career in Redditt, a village about 30 kilometres north of Kenora. In 1937 he worked as a weighman on the paving work on the west highway out of Kenora.
Alexander died in an accident just a few minutes before midnight on 25 May 1938. Along with two friends, the group was travelling in a truck from Keewatin to Kenora. Perhaps opening the window, Alexander fell out of the truck and died a short time later. He was predeceased by his brother Joseph in a railway accident in 1926 and his father Joseph in 1930. At the time of his death he was survived by his mother Sarah, two sisters Mrs Charles (Agnes Mae) Ratchford of Kenora and Mrs A Beaubien of Winnipeg, and brothers Fred and John of Keewatin. John died later that year, his mother in 1942, and sister Agnes in 1946. Alexander, along with his parents and siblings Joseph, John, and Agnes, is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
by Judy Stockham