Winifred (Atkins) Harvey




Life and Work

Winifred’s community involvement was closely tied to the Hillside school and the surrounding district. James and Winifred were both active members of the Hillside Social Club, and often participated in debates held around many districts of the Wetaskiwin area. Winifred was the secretary for the Hillside School District for many years, and was the pianist for Christmas concerts held at the School. She played the piano for United Church services held on Sunday afternoons at Hillside School, conducted by the minister of the Millet United Church. Winifred taught piano lessons to several of the neighbour children.

Annie Winifred Atkins was born on March 5, 1887, to parents William Henry Atkins and Annie Bryan Adams. Born in Dunmanway, County Cork, in the Republic of Ireland (then known as Southern Ireland), Winifred travelled to Canada in 1910, at the age of 23. When she arrived in Alberta, Winifred had the equivalent of a grade 10 education from Ireland, and received permission from the Alberta government to teach at Sion school. Then, she decided to attend Normal School for one year in Calgary.

She eventually came to Millet and taught at West Liberty and later Hillside. She met James Harvey, who farmed at Hillside and was a member of the school board. Winifred married James Harvey on August 17, 1921, in Edmonton, Alberta. They had two daughters, Jean and Phyllis.

Before she was married, Winifred followed a teacher’s schedule. After marriage, she became a farmer’s wife, helping to raise chickens, milk cows and take care of the children. Winifred grew her own vegetables, which were later canned. Winifred and James raised animals for their meat. James hauled wheat into Wetaskiwin to be ground into flour. Winifred used the flour for baking.

She was an active member of the United Farm Women of Alberta (U.F.W.A.). Winifred enjoyed being involved with the community because she was interested in politics, enjoyed participating in community debates, and socializing. Winifred’s life revolved around her family and the farm. Her contributions to the community are memorable and her dedication lives on through her decedent, especially her daughter Jean Scott who is still an active volunteer with many organizations within Millet.