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John Harry Black

Bella’s Castle is rich with history. In fact, it stretches as far back as 1902, when John (Harry) Black had it built. A gorgeous castle type building, I can only imagine the stories it would tell if its walls could talk.

Harry Black was born sometime between 1866 and 1868, the son of Reverend John Black and Henrietta Black (nee Ross). It is most likely that he was born in or near the city of Winnipeg, as his father was noted for constructing a church in 1868 in the Village of Winnipeg. His father was quite active in Winnipeg at the time as a proponent of social growth.

John Black Memorial United Church

The first record of Harry that I could find in Morden was in 1895 when he worked at the Westwood and Dykeman Legal Firm, a legal firm established in 1881.

In 1901, the Morden and North Western Railway company was incorporated. Harry was on the board of directors, along with Charles Dunsford (banker), Benjamin McConnell (doctor), John Hobbs (agent), and Augustus Pigott (agent). They were given the authority to construct a rail line between Morden and Winnipeg, and Morden and the Canadian-American border near Snowflake, Manitoba.

In 1902, Harry built the home now known as Bella’s Castle.

It seems that Harry was a man deeply invested in his community. In 1916, there is record of him as a member of the newly formed Morden Horticultural Society. In 1925, he appeared before council to request a tourist park for the town of Morden. (This park now hosts the Morden Spray park, playgrounds, and a variety of summer events. It is now known simply as the Morden Park.)

In 1928 and 1929, Harry served as the president of the Morden Chamber of Commerce. He also appeared at council several times in relation to various things. There is also record of him serving on the board of directors for a Morden Hospital.

Harry died in 1935 in Winnipeg at the age of 66, but not before he gave a lifetime of service to the town of Morden.


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