Bernice Harris (1925 – 2018)

Novelist James Michener once said, “If it isn’t written down, it doesn’t exist.” Nowhere is it truer than in pursuit of local history. So much local history depends on the oral tradition of memory and storytelling. As older generations fade away, so too does history. The fascinating history of Smith Township will take much longer to fade, because of the dedication of Bernice Harris.

For over 25 years, Bernice worked to preserve what hadn’t necessarily been written down. Bernice was a founder of the Smith Ennismore Historical Society, and the Smith Ennismore Heritage Centre. Her research skills and meticulous eye to historical detail provided literary fodder for such illuminating and immensely readable publications as ‘At The Edge of the Shield: The History of Smith Township,’ ‘The Collected Poems of William Telford,’ ‘Bridgenorth, The Centre of the Universe’ and ‘Adam Scott, Master Millwright.’

Local history is part of who we are and will live on because it’s been written down. For that, we owe a continuing debt of gratitude to Bernice Harris.

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