Annie Winifred Atkins was born on March 5, 1887, to parents William Henry Atkins and Annie Bryan Adams. Born in Dunmanway, County Cork, in the Republic of Ireland (then known as Southern Ireland), Winifred travelled to Canada in 1910, at the age of 23. She joined her sister Belle and her husband, Radcliffe Bannister, on their homestead near Sion, Alberta, north of Edmonton. Belle wanted Winifred to be there for the birth of Belle’s first child. When she arrived in Alberta, Winifred had the equivalent of a grade 10 education from Ireland, and received permission from the Alberta government to teach at Sion school. She then decided to get a teacher’s certificate and attended Normal School for one year in Calgary. After this, Winifred got a job teaching near Castor, Alberta at the Maple Glen School. Later, she also taught at New Lunnon, located northeast of Edmonton. She eventually came to Millet and taught at West Liberty and later at Hillside. She met James Harvey, who farmed at Hillside and was a member of the school board. Winifred married James on August 17, 1921, in Edmonton, Alberta. They had two daughters, Jean and Phyllis.
Before she was married, Winifred followed a teacher’s schedule. After her marriage, she became a farmer’s wife, helping to raise chickens, milk cows, and take care of their children. Winifred grew her own vegetables, which were later canned. Winifred and James also raised animals for their meat. James hauled wheat into Wetaskiwin to be ground into flour. Winifred used the flour for baking. Baked chicken or turkeys were on the menu for Christmas dinners, and the family enjoyed homemade Christmas cake, pudding and mincemeat pie.
Winifred’s community involvement was closely tied to the Hillside school and the surrounding district. James and Winifred were both active members of the Hillside Social Club, and often participated in debates held around many districts of the Wetaskiwin area. Winifred was the secretary for the Hillside School District for many years, and was the pianist for Christmas concerts held at the school. She played the piano for the United Church services held on Sunday afternoons at Hillside School. These services were conducted by the minister of the Millet United Church during the summer months. Winifred also gave piano lessons to several of the neighbourhood children. Additionally, she was an active member of the United Farm Women of Alberta (U.F.W.A.). Winifred passed away in July of 1962.