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Barr Colony Family Stories

Where did your family go after their part in the Barr Colony? Did they stay in or near Lloydminster? Settle elsewhere in Canada? Move to the US or back to England? What were their lives like? If you have family history to contribute, please contact Liz to have it posted here.


Two Blackburn brothers and a sister came on the Lake Manitoba to the Canadian prairies. Robert Neale, Thomas Darwin and Elizabeth Ellen were already in their thirties. Some time later, perhaps in 1904, their mother Ellen and youngest sister Alice also came to Saskatchewan. Elizabeth met and married a fellow Barr Colonist, William Thomas Wallis, eight years younger than herself. She died in 1918 and is buried in Lloydminster. Robert was an engineer who went on to become chief of public works for the province of Saskatchewan. Family history has it that he designed the electrification systems for the provincial buildings across Canada but that may be an exaggeration. Robert is thought to have lived later in Toronto and to have died there in the 1930's. He had two children. Thomas had been an estate agent in England. His activities after he proved his land grant are hazy but by 1920 or so he was residing in Regina, helping to care for Elizabeth's young son after her death. At some time between the world wars, he and Alice returned to England and lived in Ross-on-Wye until after World War II. They came back to Canada then and lived in Victoria BC until their deaths, Alice's in 1951 and Tom's in 1965. Neither had children. Alice's husband died early and she never remarried; Tom never married at all, a pattern in the Blackburn family which has left few fellow researchers to ferret out (or even carry on) the family name.

William Thomas Wallis was the son of a self-employed warehouseman in London. He does not appear in the passenger list of the Lake Manitoba, and it isn't known yet whether he came with the original group of young men in 1902, or later in 1904. He appears to have shared his father's talent for business, because he became a sort of traveling salesman selling farm implements to the Indian tribes. He and Elizabeth and their son Robert lived for a time in Moose Jaw. Robert remembered the Indian women running their fingers in wonder through his light brown curls, to his mother's horror. William eventually moved to Victoria, remarried and died there in 1941. Robert Wallis became a musician, graduated from Ithaca College in Ithaca NY, had his own dance band for a time during World War II, taught music and performed, and died at the age of 84 in Florida.

Do you have family stories to contribute? Please contact Liz. I would like to post as many here as possible.
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