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 Fanny Elizabeth <I>McKenly</I> Reid

Fanny Elizabeth McKenly Reid

Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica
Death 25 May 1982 (aged 93)
Burial Corozal, Panamá, Panama
Plot 12800
Memorial ID 31143235 · View Source
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Fanny Elizabeth McKenly Reid was born in Wraywood Parish, St. Thomas, Jamaica in 1888. She longed to study to become a school teacher but upon the death of her father,Henry McKenly, she soon went to work with her godmother in her general store. Her mother was Eliza Barnes McKenly and her maternal grandparents were Matilda Davis and David Barnes. Both Eliza and Henry were from Wraywood, St. Thomas.

She fell in love with Joshua Austin Reid and just before Joshua left Jamaica to try his luck in Panama, during the building of the Panama Canal, about 1906, they promised each other to wed as soon as things looked promising in Panama.

Fanny arrived in Panama in 1911, when she was 23 years old, in search of her beloved Joshua. Although he was disillusioned with the meagre wages he was earning as a Dispensary Director in Paraiso, Canal Zone, and with the harshness of life under the Silver and Gold Roll system they were married in February of 1912 in the Wesleyan Church of Paraiso, Canal Zone.

They soon had to move off the Canal Zone as their family grew. Fanny became the mother of seven children, four boys and three girls. In order of birth her children were Berenice, Cobert, Newton, Eric, Clifford, Uthelma, Gwendolyn. They all grew to maturity but Eric, her most promising child, who graduated from the National Institute of Panama, died at age 19 in 1938.

Widowed on November 20, 1929, at age 41, she had to go to work at the Ancon Laundry in the Canal Zone to support her seven children who were still quite young. She remembers vividly the day she went to seek employment at the Canal Administration personnel division office. The clerk,a white man, she remembers, handed her a bag of onions and a letter stating that she was eligible for employment on the Zone and where she was to report. She was sent from office to office for approximately two months, without receiving any death benefits or widows benefits of any kind for her husband who had worked on the Canal for over 23 years. All the while she was scrambling to feed and shelter her seven children.

She finally obtained the employment as a laundry worker she so needed and raised her children single handedly until they were all grown and formed their own families.

She died in 1982 at age 94 after having led a long and active life, and is buried at Corozal "Silver" Cemetery (segregated) in Panama.

This biography was written by C. Roberto A. Reid, grandson to Mrs. Fanny Elizabeth McKenly Reid, and forever, her "Juni."

You may read more about "The Silver People," the West Indian people who first came to Panama as workers on the Panama Railroad (1850-1855) and then on the construction of The Panama Canal (1903-1914) at:

The Silver People Chronicle


The Silver People Heritage Foundation

Family Members



In Loving Memory of Our Dear Mother, Fanny E. Reid

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  • Created by: Mimosa
  • Added: 5 Nov 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 31143235
  • S. Rich
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Fanny Elizabeth McKenly Reid (31 May 1888–25 May 1982), Find A Grave Memorial no. 31143235, citing Corozal Cemetery, Corozal, Panamá, Panama ; Maintained by Mimosa (contributor 47067481) .