Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 6, 1885
Place of BirthRhynie, Aberdeenshire
Service Details
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 28, 1963
Age at Death78
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Marr, William

William Marr was born on 6 April 1885 in Rhynie, Aberdeenshire in Scotland. His father John Marr was from nearby Auchindoir while his mother Isabella Smith was from Rhynie where the couple married on 22 November 1882. Over the years John worked as a general servant and a railway carter. William had an older brother John, born in 1883, and younger siblings Jemina born in 1887, Henry in 1890, Isabella in 1891, and Albert in 1899. There were likely other children born to the family that died in infancy or early childhood. By the time of Albert’s birth the family had moved to Glenmuick in Aberdeenshire, a community about 170 kilometres southeast of Rhynie/Auchindoir. For the 1901 census William was working as a cattleman on the Balnault Farm in Crathie and Braemar.

William married Bella Primrose McRae on 21 February 1908 in Rothiemay in Banffshire. Born in 1886 in Rothiemay, Bella was the daughter of William McRae, a farm servant/carter, and Jane Scott. At the time of the marriage William was working as a general labourer and Bella as a domestic servant. By the time of the 1911 census William and Bella were also living in Glenmuick, William working as a general labourer.

William and Bella immigrated to Canada in 1913, arriving aboard the Scandinavian on 9 June, on their way to Crystal City in southern Manitoba where William was to work as a farm labourer. The 1916 census found the couple in nearby Louise where William was managing a farm. In November of 1920 William and Bella made a trip to Scotland, returning to Canada in March of 1921 aboard the Minnedosa. At some point the couple adopted daughter Rhoda Valentine who was born around 1927 in Winnipeg.

The family ended up in Red Lake in northwestern Ontario by 1940 where William worked as a guard at the Hasaga Gold Mines. A 1949 Voter’s list for Red Lake gave his occupation as powderman and his last employment in Red Lake was as caretaker of the Red Lake Red Cross Memorial Hospital. Their daughter Rhoda worked as a cook in the same hospital and in 1954 she was working as a cleaner for the Patricia Transportation Company, Ltd in their Red Lake office. In August of 1955 Rhoda married Ainsley Dickinson and moved down east. During the 2nd Annual Kinsman Winter Karnival in March of 1949 Rhoda was crowned Karnival Queen while William was awarded the prize for most colourful beard.

Sadly, Bella died on 12 December 1955 and by 1957 William was living in Pinecrest Home for the Aged in Kenora. After Bella’s death he married widow Kate Elizabeth (née Appleton) Elliot, likely in Kenora as Kate was also a resident of Pinecrest. Born in 1883 in Chesthunt, Hartford in England, Kate was the daughter of John Appleton and Ann Dennis. After immigrating to Canada in 1913, she married Robert Henry Elliot in 1915 in Renfrew, Ontario. The couple lived in northwestern Ontario near Oxdrift before moving to California, moving back by the mid 1930’s. Robert died in 1936 and is interred in the Oxdrift Cemetery.

William died on 28 September 1963 in the Kenora General Hospital. He had left Pinecrest for a short period, returning in February of 1962. Although details of his WW1 service are unknown, according to his obituary he was a member of both the Red Lake and Kenora Branches of the Canadian Legion. William is interred in a military plot in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, his foot stone inscribed WW1. Kate left Pinecrest to live with a daughter in Dryden and died on 8 February 1968. She is interred in the Oxdrift Cemetery. William and Bella’s daughter Rhoda died in 1994 in Bancroft, Ontario and is interred in the McGillivray Cemetery in Paudash.

By Judy Stockham

Marr-William-2 Marr-William-3 Marr-William-4 Marr-William-5 Marr-William-6 Marr-William-7

Photograph of William and Kate courtesy of Pinecrest Home for the Aged
Kate’s obituary provided by Anna Turcotte, Dryden, Ontario
Rhoda’s obituary provided by Arnold Weirmeir
Rhoda’s grave marker photograph as found on Gravemarker Gallery