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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Compass
Identifier: 979.6.530
Donor: Geoffrey Harris Sayers
Item Date: 1820-1840
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2006
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A brass cased compass with glass face and screw lid. The compass face is paper (?) with black numbers and directional letters. The centre has a star burst pattern and north has a fleur-de-lis symbol. The directional arm is blue and indicates north and south. The glass face is cracked. the case is brass and the lid is also brass and screws onto the bottom. The lid and base have signs of corrosion and many black stains. History: This compass is 19th century and most likely belonged to Captain Harris, possibly used during his military career. Captain James Beveridge Harris (1797-1884), born in Plumstead, England, was one of six children of Major General John Harris and Margaret Marshall. He was stationed in Canada in 1829 with the 24th Regiment of Foot but was sent back to Ireland within the same year. The regiment returned to Canada in 1836 in preparation for the possible Rebellion of 1837-38. While stationed at Ile-aux-Noix, Québec, he requested permission to sell his commission for 1,800 pounds and purchased Benares. The following year he brought his wife, Elizabeth Molony (1806-1884), with him to live at Benares. Elizabeth and James had eight children, four boys and four girls. Their youngest son, Arthur, inherited Benares after James and Elizabeth both died in 1884. Throughout his life in Upper Canada, Captain Harris worked his land, became Justice of the Peace, and contributed to the development of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Erindale. This item was donated by Geoffrey Harris Sayers, who was born 23 April 1907 and died 25 November 1997. A retired businessman, he was the first child of Beverly and Annie Sayers (née Harris). A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant 14 June 1938. Two years later, he was appointed Lieutenant. As of 21 April 1941, he was appointed the rank of Temporary Captain, and was recommended for appointment to the Lorne Scots (P. D. and H. Regiment) based out of Brampton. According to his military file, Captain Geoffrey Sayers served with the Canadian Forces from 21 April 1941 until 11 October 1945, when he was honourably discharged. From 17 June 1941 until 13 March 1945, he also served with the British Forces (he had British citizenship). He received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp 1939-45. Geoffrey Sayers and his sisters, Dora Sayers Caro, and Barbara Sayers Larson donated Benares Historic House to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1969. It has operated as a museum under the City of Mississauga since 1995 and was officially transferred to Mississauga in 2000. Geoffrey Sayers and his wife Kathleen (née Colloten) occupied Benares from 1969 until 1981. During that time, they acted as care takers of the estate on behalf Ontario Heritage Foundation. They kept a small display of artifacts in the kitchen, and opened up the house once a year to the public. He also maintained the Benares financial affairs in 1932 for Naomi (Na) and Mary, who were unable to do so themselves.
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Related Links:
   Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN)