|Description: A handwritten letter to Naomi Harris from Maurice William Hime of Kirkland, Washington acknowledging her response to his first letter, which proposed marriage. He agrees that they will be just friends. A poem called "Just Friends" ends the letter. |
Naomi was born in 1883, to Arthur and Mary Harris (née Magrath), of Benares. Naomi and her older sister Annie were raised in an atmosphere of upper middle class comfort. They were educated at home by governesses, and then were sent to Miss Dupont's School for Ladies in Toronto, where they stayed with their aunts throughout the week. As Annie and Naomi grew up, Benares was a frequent area for lawn tennis matches, weekend parties, and croquet games on the lawn.
Naomi never married and lived at Benares her whole life. She helped to take care of her mother, and continued to live alone in the house for 14 years after Mary’s death in 1954. Naomi was the mark of affection for many suitors. It was thought that Naomi was engaged, sometime between 1908 and 1912, to the family’s physician, Dr. Arthur Sutton. He was the first doctor to open an office in Port Credit. Naomi broke off the engagement, but the parting must have been amicable because Sutton continued on as the family’s doctor, and later renewed a friendship with her after his wife’s death. Naomi was a life long member of St Peter’s Anglican Church in Erindale, where she was an integral part of the church’s many activities. Archdeacon Banks, the former rector of St. Peter’s, spoke of "Miss Harris’s deep attachment to St. Peter’s, her love of people, her unfailing interest in the children of the Sunday School and her work with the women’s auxiliary" during her funeral service in May, 1968.
Naomi willed Benares to her two nieces and nephew who donated the estate and most of its contents to The Ontario Heritage Foundation. Ownership was later transferred to the City of Mississauga which has operated Benares as a museum since 1995.