Memorable Manitobans: Corydon Partlow Brown (1848-1891)
Civil engineer, land surveyor, MLA (1875-1878), MLA (1878-1879), MLA (1879-1883), MLA (1883-1886), MLA (1886-1888).
Born at Southampton, New Brunswick on 15 November 1848, son of William Brown, his grandfather was an officer in the British army and settled in New Brunswick at the close of the American Revolution. In 1872 he was principal of St. Mary’s School, New Brunswick, and later he was employed as a civil engineer and land surveyor by the Dominion Government in the North-West.
He was elected in 1874 to represent Westbourne in the Manitoba Legislature and in October 1878 joined the cabinet formed by the Honourable John Norquay. He was acclaimed at the general elections of 1878, 1879, and 1883. On 20 December 1883 a convention of the Manitoba and North-West Farmer’s Union assembled at Winnipeg and a Declaration of Rights was passed and delegates appointed to contact the Provincial Government. Brown was appointed, among others, to go to Ottawa “to procure from the Government of Canada a settlement of the rights of this Province, as claimed by its Legislature.” On 28 August 1886, cabinet changes were made and he was appointed Provincial Secretary. In his later years in office he was frequently attacked as a “boodle politician,” a charge that eventually seemed to stick and made him unelectable after his victory in the 1886 general election.
On 21 February 1874, he married Emma Davidson (?-?, eldest daughter of I. Davidson of Palestine). They had four children: Harry W. Brown (1875-?), Lillian Hartley Brown, Reginald Brown (1880-?), and Muriel Hartley Brown (1889-1954, wife of William Randolph Cottingham).
He died suddenly of pneumonia, in Winnipeg, on 17 December 1891. He is commemorated by Corydon Avenue in Winnipeg.
A Political Manual of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories by J. P. Robertson, Winnipeg: Call Printing Company, 1887.
John Alexander Gemmill (editor), The Canadian Parliamentary Companion, 1887. Canadiana.org.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 23 December 2022