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Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 143 years

Memorable Manitobans: George Henry Hambley (1896-1983)

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George Henry Hambley
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Cleric, historian.

Born at Port Perry, Ontario on 13 November 1896, he moved with his family to Manitoba in 1902. He was brought up on the family farm at Swan Lake and received his early education there. He complete grade 12 at Regina, Saskatchewan and was working as a school teacher when, in 1915, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and served in France, Belgium, and Germany, being involved in battles at Ypres, Mons, Cambrai, and Vimy Ridge.

Returning to Canada following his military discharge, he took an Arts degree from Victoria College (Toronto) in 1923 then a theology degree from Wesley College, being ordained as a Methodist cleric in 1925. He served at Cypress River United Church (1925), Sidney United Church (1928-1930), High Bluff United Church (1930-1934), Warren United Church (1934-1938), Elgin United Church (1938-1940), Kenton United Church (1940-1946), Shiloh United Church (1940-1946), Grandview United Church (1946-1950), Roland United Church (1950-1954), Basswood United Church (1954-1960), Cadurcis United Church (1954-1960), Victoria United Church (1960-1965), and Napinka United Church (1960-1965). He retired in 1965 but continued to serve as an Assistant Minister at Fort Frances, Ontario for another five years until final retirement in 1971 when he returned to Manitoba and resided at Winnipeg.

On 1 August 1928, he married Florence Elizabeth Blair (1899-1979) at Douglas and they subsequently had two sons and a daughter. He was an active member of the Orange Lodge, Royal Canadian Legion, Canadian Club, National Club, Robert Burns Society, Manitoba Agricultural Museum (President, 1955-1956), Manitoba Historical Society, and West Winnipeg Rotary Club. Over the course of his life, he wrote four local histories:

  • Pioneers, Oh! Pioneers! Historical Records and Accounts of the Early Pioneers of the District of Swan Lake, Manitoba, from its Early Settlement, 1873-1950 (1952)
  • Trails of the Pioneers: Records, Accounts, Historical Data Centred on the Town of Roland, Manitoba (1956)
  • The Golden Thread: Or, The Last of the Pioneers. A Story of the Districts of Basswood and Minnedosa, Manitoba, from Community Beginnings to the Present Day (1971)
  • The Flaming Dance: This is the Pseudo-Historical Story of the Fort Frances-Rainy River District, the Area Between Eastern and Western Canada (1976)

He assisted in the establishment of the Agricultural Museum at Austin, serving as its founding President. In 1973, he received a Margaret McWilliams Award for his local history book The Golden Thread.

He died at Winnipeg on 10 February 1983 and was buried in Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens. A collection of his diaries, manuscripts, and miscellaneous materials are held at the Archives of Manitoba.


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

Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 February 1983, page 61.

Obituary [Florence Elizabeth Hambley], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 May 1979, page 42.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

We thank Kris and Ruth Breckman for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 February 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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