Memorable Manitobans: Colin Hamlin Burnell (1880-1946)
Farmer, farm leader.
Born at Totogan on 23 August 1880, son of hotelier Henry Burnell (?-?), he began farming near Oakville in 1898, eventually holding 700 acres in grain, a dairy herd, and a line of bacon hogs, along with ten acres of gladioli that he sold as bulbs and flowers. In 1904, he joined the Manitoba Grain Growers’ Association. He was in charge of the Progressive Party campaign in Manitoba in the 1921 federal election and became President of the United Farmers of Manitoba in 1922. One of his major efforts was the organization of the Manitoba Wheat Pool in 1924. He became its first President, and he was also elected President of Manitoba Pool Elevators in 1925, resigning in 1931 in the aftermath of the Williams Commission that investigated charges against the company levied by James Richard Murray, and becoming its Vice-President.
He was married twice, first to Sarah Ann McKeachnie (1883-1925) with whom he had two children, Harry Neil Burnell (1913-1993) and Jean Naomi Burnell (1920-2009), and lived in Portage la Prairie. In June 1927, he married Frances Macdonald “Fannie” Storey (1893-1988, daughter of William T. Storey) and they lived in Winnipeg until 1931 when they retired to the farm. He died on his Willowbrake Farm near Oakville on 15 September 1946 and was buried in the Oakville Cemetery. In recognition of his service to the agricultural community, he was inducted posthumously into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1921 Canada census, Ancestry.
“Colin Burnell, Wheat Pool founder, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 17 September 1946. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9]
Obituary [Frances Macdonald Burnell], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 February 1988, page 33.
Obituary [Harry Burnell], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 October 1993, page 29.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituary [Jean Naomi Demianyk], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 September 2009.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 24 November 2022