Memorable Manitobans: Leslie Ernest Grace (1881-1954)


Born at Geelong, Victoria, Australia on 14 August 1881, son of William P. Grace and Harriet Burton, he graduated from Geelong College and worked as a teacher in Western Australia. During the Boer War, he reportedly joined the Third Westralian Bushmen at Perth in October 1900, was stationed to South Africa, where by his own account he was wounded and attained the rank of Second Lieutentant prior to military discharge in February 1902. [In 1951, the Australian Imperial Forces Base Records Office could not locate records substantiating his Boer War involvement.] Alternatively, he may have arrived in Canada via some time in England, as suggested by the 1906 census.

In 1904, he immigrated to Manitoba and continued with his teaching career. He taught at Ninette School (1904-1905) and Bradwardine School (1906), and was Principal of Sidney School (1909-1911). While at Sidney, he married Victoria May Gray (?-?) at the Rural Municipality of North Norfolk on 7 August 1909. They had no known children. Part way through the spring of 1911, he left Sidney School to be a Principal at Oxbow, Saskatchewan (1911), residing there alone, returning to Manitoba to be Principal of Tyndall School (1911) that autumn, after which he was Principal of Lauder School (1912-1913).

At some point in the next two years, he moved to Calgary, Alberta where, in November 1915, he enlisted for military service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force under an inflated age [born 1875] and attested to his Boer War experience. At the time of his enlistment, his wife was declared as being at Boston, Massachusetts [and later at New York City, her whereabouts after 1916 being undetermined]. As of April 1916, he was stationed in England and there spent the duration of his First World War service until being demobilized in February 1919, upon which he returned to Alberta and taught at Barons School (1919-c1920). By 1921, he and his wife had divorced and he was working [perhaps as a side-job] as a confectionary merchant at Barons.

He returned to Manitoba in or before 1923 when, on 24 December 1923, he married Elizabeth Margaret “Bessie” Turner (1883-1931) at Winnipeg and they had at least one child: Audrey G. Grace (c1925-?, wife of J. Coliett). Three months after being widowed in February 1931, he re-married on 9 May 1931 to Margaritta [Margarita] Baylog [Balog] (1904-1970) at the Rural Municipality of Bifrost. He had two more children: Margaret Grace (?-?, wife of Murt Macdonald) and Frank E. Grace (?-?).

He made a second appearance as Principal of Tyndall School (1926) followed with teaching at Sundown School (1929-1930), High Plains School (1931-1932), Cowan School (1943), Clear Creek School (1944-1946), and Providence School (1946-1947). He formally retired and spent time at an extended-relations farm; however, the yearn for the classroom remained. In the latter 1940s or early 1950s, records suggest he returned to the classroom in the vincinity of High Bluff for a full school year and started the following school year near [but not at] Edrans School, yet that a few weeks into the fall term, a medical condition forced him to leave the classroom permanently and undergo surgery. He was also active with the Red Cross.

He died on 3 July 1954 and was buried in the Lakeland Cemetery.


Birth registrations [Leslie Ernest Grace], Australia (Victoria Province) Vital Statistics.

Marriage [Leslie Ernest Grace to Victoria M. Gray, Leslie Samuel Grace to Elizabeth Margaret Turner, & Leslie Earnest Grace to Margaritta Baylog] and death [Bessie Grace] registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1906 and 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.

1921 and 1926 Canada censuses, Library and Archives Canada.

Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Army - Boer War: 1899-1902, Personnel dossier B4418: Grace LE, National Archives of Australia.

Summative half-yearly returns for school districts (A 0051), GR0571, Archives of Manitoba.

School division half-yearly attendance reports (E 0757), Archives of Manitoba.

Obituary, Winnipeg Tribune, 9 July 1954, page 12.

“Boer War veteran L. E. Grace dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 July 1954, page 8.

“Funeral service held for Leslie E. Grace,” Portage la Prairie Leader, 15 July 1954, page 9.

“Funeral held at Langruth for L. E. Grace,” Portage la Prairie Leader, 15 July 1954, page 19.

Obituary [Margarita Grace], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 December 1970, page 30.

St. Clements Church Yard Cemetery burial transcriptions [Bessie Grace], FindAGrave.

Lakeland Cemetery burial transcriptions, FindAGrave.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 3 October 2023

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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