Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Henry “Bill” Durston (1871-1954)


Born at Somerset, England on 22 January 1871, son of John Durston (1845-1919), he came to Canada with his family in 1874 and lived for a year at Toronto, Ontario. The following year, they moved to a farm north of Portage la Prairie. In 1889, they moved to the Dauphin area where he received a land grant of three quarter-sections at 11-24-19W in the Rural Municipality of Dauphin. He was the first farmer in the region to use a combine to harvest his crops and one of the first to grow legume crops.

He was married twice, first on 27 July 1898 to Agnes Maud Scarff (1881-1932) and second on 8 October 1934 to Elsie May Fellingham (1905-1987). He had five children: Cecil Roy Durston (1901-1968), Florence Ethelina Durston (1903-1956, wife of Clarence J. Seale), Bernard William Durston (1940-2016), Ruth Barbara Durston (wife of Robert Boughen), and Edith Irene Durston (wife of Jerry Webb). He was one of the original members of the Dauphin Pioneers Association, served for 24 years as a councilor for the RM of Dauphin, was a trustee for the local school board (1922-1943), and a member of the board for the Dauphin General Hospital (1932-1939). He donated land for the creation of a public area known as Durston Park.

He died at Dauphin on 26 January 1954 and was buried in the Dauphin Riverside Cemetery.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Private Grain Elevator (RM of Dauphin)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Durston School No. 2066 (RM of Dauphin)


1901 and 1911 Canada censes, Automated Genealogy.

Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Tread of the Pioneers by J. H. Metcalfe, c1932, pages 106-107.

“Pioneer and planned,” Dauphin Herald and Press, 4 February 1954, page 2.

“William H. Durston, 84, Dauphin pioneer, dies,” Dauphin Herald and Press, 4 February 1954, page 4.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

Dominion Land Grants, Library and Archives Canada.

Obituary [Bernard William Durston], Ronald Moffit Memorial Services.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 July 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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