Marjorie Sutherland Henderson

1888 - 1975

Marjorie Sutherland Henderson was my grandmother on my mother's side and the person responsible for my interest in genealogy.  Marjorie, like her mother Edith, was an avid diarist, scrapbooker and photographer.  She kept a diary from 1905 to 1922 and I was fortunate to end up with her albums. Her collection helps to illustrate a very full life that documents her early years in St Paul, Minnesota, school life in Montreal, Quebec and Lexington, Kentucky, travels through Europe, life in a mill town in Powell River, BC, marriage years in San Jose, Costa Rica, an unexpected return to Powell River and her final days in Vancouver, BC.  Below is an account of Marjorie's life using material from her diaries and photographs.

EARLY DAYS 1888 - 1905


Marjorie Sutherland Henderson was born on June 28, 1888 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father Dr. Andrew Henderson, mother Edith and brother Richard Gordon had come to St. Paul from Calgary in 1887. Dr. Henderson had a contract for medical services with the Great Northern Construction Company which was building the western extension of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway. After fulfilling that contract he taught clinical surgery at the University of Minnesota.


Dr. Henderson settled his family at 1946 Marshall Avenue in Merriam Park just outside of St. Paul.  Merriam Park was started in 1881 by John L. Merriam a business entrepreneur who developed 140 acres into a "suburban residence town" situated between St. Paul and Minneapolis.  He envisioned a community for business and professional workers and their families.

The suburb was designed in the popular 19th century mode of a Victorian garden park in which large homes were built to fit the individual taste of the owners.  Located midway between St. Paul and Minneapolis commuters could board a train at the Merriam Park Depot for a brief five mile trip to either city's downtown. The service ran hourly from seven a.m. to seven p.m. with an "after-theatre" train at eleven o'clock each evening.


Marjorie, here with her brother Richard, attended Longfellow Elementary School, named after the American poet.  Later she attended St. Paul High School and graduated from there in June of 1905.

In September of 1905 Marjorie travelled from St. Paul to Montreal, Canada to attend a year of college at the Trafalgar Institute (for women). Trafalgar is now an independent day school for girls though originally it was a boarding school. It was founded in 1887 by Donald Ross. Sir Donald Smith (later Lord Strathcona) was one of several prominent Montrealers who gave financial assistance to the School enabling the Trustees to purchase Chalderton Lodge and its grounds. The school is still situated on this officially designated "historic property."  

Marjorie had a number of aunts and uncles living in Montreal and would spend most of her free time with them.  Much of her diary deals with her time away from school.  On the following link you will find Marjorie's photographs and school excerpts from her Trafalgar Days.


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