Memorable Manitobans: William James Harrington (1871-1941)
Physician, MLA (1916-1920).
Born at Wellington, Ontario on 11 May 1871, one of five children of Thomas M. Harrington and Margaret Thomson (1852-1929), he attended Winnipeg Collegiate Institute for some time, interrupting his education to work in the Paulin biscuit factory until the age of 16 when he resumed his studies at the Collegiate. After teaching at Parks Creek School (1897), he graduated with an MD from Manitoba Medical College in 1899. He worked for a year as house surgeon in the Winnipeg General Hospital then six months at the St. Boniface General Hospital, then a year specializing in smallpox quarantine cases. He then moved to Dauphin where he practiced medicine for some 40 years, rising to head surgeon at the Dauphin General Hospital. He served as President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (1916).
On 14 October 1904, he married nurse Jessie Elizabeth McCreight (1875-1914) of Scarborough, Ontario. They had a son, William Gerald “Doc” Harrington (1907-1987). On 14 November 1917, he married nurse Agnes Isabella “Bella” Laidlaw (1883-1972) and they had a son, Thomas Scott Harrington (1921-1996). He enjoyed curling and golf, and was a keen big game hunter. He was a life member of the Manitoba Curling Association. He was active in local politics, being President of the Dauphin Liberal Association. In 1915, he was elected to the Manitoba Legislature for the Dauphin constituency, serving a single term, being defeated in the 1920 provincial general election by George Palmer.
He died at Winnipeg on 13 September 1941 after a short illness, enroute home from a medical conference. He was buried in the Dauphin Riverside Cemetery.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Former M.L.A. of Dauphin dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 September 1941. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 106]
Obituary [Agnes Isabella Harrington], Winnipeg Free Press, 12 September 1972, page 35.
Obituary [William Gerald Harrington], Dauphin Herald, 1 December 1987, page 36.
Thomas Scott Harrington, Laidlaw / Anderson.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 July 2022