Memorable Manitobans: Maurice Rupert Ford (1886-1967)
Born at Plympton, Devon, England on 6 March 1886, son of John William Ford (?-1885) and Anne Elizabeth Ford (?-1893), he was orphaned at an early age and, in 1899, was sent to Canada as a Home Child. Intended to become a farm labourer, circumstances eventually found him placed with a farm family at Copeland, Ontario who welcomed him into their home. In his early years, he found joy in both music and singing, a passion which would serve him well over the coming decades, including at church events and public concerts. He was living on the Toronto Islands (1911) before heading west to Regina, Saskatchewan around 1912. There, he worked as a clerk with the Saskatchewan Hail Insurance Commission (?-?) and was also President of the First Baptist Church choir.
With the onset of the First World War, he enlisting with the 11th Canadian Reserve Battalion of Canadian Expeditionary Force in September 1914. While overseas France and England, he qualified as a 1st class instructor of the Canadian Musketry School at Hythe in October 1916, as well as served in the regimental depots of several battalions and involved with Canadian military Young Mens’ Christian Association (YMCA) facilities in the London area and Seaford. He was promoted to Lieutentant in November 1916. During the war, he was active participant in patriotic signing to help rouse the spirits of others. Following demobilization in September 1919, he went to Regina, Saskatchewan to work as the assistant to Captain P. C. Reed for the local Military YMCA. There, he reportedly was engaged with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Saskatchewan Sanatorium at Fort Qu’Appelle, the Red Triangle Hut in Regina, and the Earl Grey Hospital. He resumed active participation with the First Baptist Church and was President of their Crest Club (1919-1920). Whilst in Saskatchewan this second time, he spent two years within the province before transferring to the YMCA’s headquarters at Winnipeg in 1921, where he would serve as Secretary.
By the summer of 1921, he and T. D. Patton were at Rock Lake in southern Manitoba establishing a military recreation camp and related programming. On 14 September 1921, he wed Florence Ellen Over (1885-1970) whom he had prior met in London while posted overseas during the war. They married at the Home Street Church in Winnipeg, took up residence at 282 Simcoe Street, and had a daughter; Marguerite Jean “Peggy” Ford (1922-2012, wife of John William Salvis). Around late 1922, he succeeded Alfred H. Hanna as Superintendent of the Knowles Home for Boys / Knowles School for Boys (c1922-1931, later the Knowles Centre) in East Kildonan (soon thereafter, in North Kildonan), serving until being succeeded by Charles J. Hawkins. While in Manitoba, he was elected President of the Social Service Club of Winnipeg (1929-?).
He next resettled to Toronto, Ontario and gained employment with the Canadian SKF, a ball berring company, maintaning employment there 26 years, in addition to serving as Welfare Officer and President of the companys Social Club. He was Superintendent of Sunday School at the Beverley Street Baptist Church in Toronto for many years.
He died at Toronto, Ontario on 27 September 1967.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 & 1911 Canada censes, Automated Genealogy.
1921 & 1926 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Home Children Records [Maurice Ford], Library and Archives Canada.
“St. Valentine remembered,” The Leader [Regina], 18 February 1913, page 9.
“1st Baptist ladies give social evening,” The Leader [Regina], 2 January 1914, page 16.
“Regina boy writes from Salisbury,” The Leader [Regina], 6 February 1915, page 9.
“Lieut. Maurice Ford home,” The Leader [Regina], 29 November 1919, page 20.
“Crest Club organized,” The Morning Leader [Regina], 20 December 1919, page 19.
“Baptists to hear lecture on birds,” The Leader [Regina], 7 January 1920, page 16.
“Ninette patients hear a Y.M.C.A. concert,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 April 1921, page 9.
““I saw it in” the Tribune [T. D. Patton and M. R. Ford],” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 July 1921, page 8.
“Society [The marriage of Miss F. E. Overs ...],” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 September 1921, page 7.
“Ford - Over,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 September 1921, page 9.
“At Saskatchewan’s summer resorts [Regina Beach],” The Leader [Regina], 29 July 1922, page 10.
“Singing for invisible audience at Tribune broadcast tonight,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 31 August 1922, page 19.
“Denies attempt to set Home on fire,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 18 December 1922, page 7.
“Highlanders annual treat for children is enjoyed,” Manitoba Free Press, 20 December 1923, page 5.
“Police think boy shot young Alex. Armstrong,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 June 1924, page 1.
“Knowles School shows progress,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 27 February 1925, page 5.
“Name changed,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 March 1925, page 2.
“Knowles Home boys warm to scouting,” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 May 1925, page 56.
“Says mining will mean much for Manitoba,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 November 1926, page 11.
“Knowles Home boys have Grand Beach camp,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 June 1927, page 49.
“Knowles boys break camp after 7 weeks,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 August 1927, page 45.
“Ragged newsbody first ward of Knowles Home,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 December 1927, page 15.
“M. R. Ford elected head of Social Service Club,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 May 1929, page 3.
“One Hundred Club closes busy year,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 January 1930, page 20.
“Old-timers of Lanark County hold function,” Manitoba Free Press, 22 February 1930, page 21.
“Knowles Boys’ choir,” Manitoba Free Press, 15 March 1930, page 48.
“St. Vital K. of P. will enlarge camp for boys,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 October 1930, page 3.
“Pythians plan camp for Knowles’ boys,” Manitoba Free Press, 15 October 1930, page 4.
“Osler is President of Knowles School,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 1931, page 4.
“One Hundred Club continues support,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 May 1931, page 11.
“Community concerts scheduled for tonight [There will be another popular concert ...],” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 January 1932, page 24.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
Obituary [John W. Salvis], The Star [Toronto], 18 February 2017.
Biography of Maurice Rupert Ford, by John William Salvis, The “Fordie” HomePage.
Salvis family tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 18 May 2020
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