Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

A Real Companion and Friend:
The diary of William Lyon Mackenzie King

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Behind the Diary

A King's Who's Who Biographies

Janet "Jennie" Lindsey King (1876-1962)

Janet 'Jennie' Lindsey King, 1906

Source

Janet "Jennie" Lindsey King, 1906

Jennie King was Mackenzie King's younger sister. In 1906, she married Harry Morrison Lay, a widower with a young son. They lived in Walkerton and then Barrie, where they raised Harry's son Nelson and their own four children, John, Jean, Rosabel and Harry. This photograph, inscribed: "Dear Willie, with best love from Jennie," is from King's personal collection.

Jennie was the third child and youngest daughter in the King family. She was often seen as being more mischievous and fun loving than her older siblings. During her childhood, the family lived in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, first on Benton Street, then on King Street. In 1886, they moved to another house called "Woodside," about a mile from the town centre. The family loved Woodside and it is now a national historic site.

In 1893, the family moved to Toronto. Jennie spent much of her time helping at the Nelson Street Institute, where she taught street children and ran a girls' club. After Mackenzie King became Deputy Minister of Labour in Ottawa, one of his friends, Bert Harper, began courting Jennie. Tragically, Bert drowned in the Ottawa River while trying to rescue a young woman who had fallen through thin ice.

In 1906, Jennie married Harry Morrison Lay, a long time friend of the Kings and a widower with a young son. The Lay family first lived in Walkerton and then Barrie where they raised Harry's son Nelson and their own four children, John, Jean, Rosabel and Harry. In the late 1940s Jennie took part in the effort to restore Woodside. She provided drawings of the home as it had been in 1893 and some of the furniture. Harry Lay passed away in 1945 and Jennie died in 1962.