Henry Black was born on February 14, 1875 on the family farm south of Ottawa, in a village called Oxford Station. There he attended public school and took a course at a local business college. He ran a general store in the village of Leonard, in Russell County, Ontario until 1898. At age 23 he left Ontario, accepted a parting gift of cattle from his father, set up camp in a boxcar with the cattle and headed west. He passed through Regina and in 1899 settled in Kaslo, British Columbia. The story is told that Henry (a teetotaler) operated a draying business in the small B.C. town. Business was good, but soon he was caught in a moral quandary. Customers asked him to transport beer. He refused, and the business failed. In 1903, Henry moved to Regina from Kaslo. His brother, Dr. John Calvin Black (aka ‘Uncle Doc’) arrived in Regina a year later, fresh from graduation ceremonies at McGill. Henry Black shared a room with ‘Uncle Doc’ in the Oxford House at 2216 Rose Street. During the first couple of years as a Regina resident, Henry Black operated a menswear store. Others had the same idea and the booming town couldn't support them all. Henry's store ceased operation. He turned to contracting and became very successful. The 1908 Henderson’s Directory lists the contracting firm of McGregor & Black as having its offices at #3 Black Block. Archibald W. McGregor was Henry Black’s partner for a year or so. Amongst the buildings constructed by the firm were the Glasgow House, which later became the Simpsons Department Store.
On December 15, 1910 Henry Black married Jennie Lenore Barker. The couple set up a household in Apartment C of the Rose Block at 2215 Rose Street. By 1911 the contracting firm of McGregor and Black had ceased to exist. In 1912 the Black family was living in the Crescent Apartments, a building that Henry Black had built. On May 19, 1912, the Black’s first child; Henry Kenneth, was born. On June 30, 1912 the Regina cyclone killed 30 people and destroyed 500 buildings. In 1915, the Blacks moved to a house at 2322 St. John Street where they lived until 1921. In 1921 Henry Black built the large red brick house at 2310 College Avenue - during construction the family lived at 2041 Smith Street. By 1922 the family had moved into 2310 College (then 16th) Avenue. Henry lived at 2310 College Avenue until 1950 when he moved next door to a house at the corner of College Avenue and Lorne Street. Henry Black's wife, Jenny Lenore, died in 1950.
The Black family included:
The information on these pages has been gleaned from the Saskatchewan Archives including microfilm of that most liberal of newspapers, the Regina Morning Leader. The conservative daily - the Regina Star - also provided a somewhat different slant than the Sifton-owned Leader-Post. As well, a variety of local history books were used, including “Saskatchewan - A Pictorial History” by Bocking, “Regina from Pile O’Bones to Queen City Of the Plains” by Riddell, “Saskatchewan and Her People” by John Hawkes, Henderson’s Directories of the era and Regina city council minutes and source documents pertaining to the Street Railway System ‘scandal’.
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