Memorable Manitobans: Benjamin Elswood Chaffey (1859-1953)
Lawyer, municipal official.
Born at Brockville, Ontario on 8 October 1859, son of John and Mary Anne Chaffey, he was educated at Bishop’s College School (Lennoxville, Quebec) and University College (Toronto). He came to Winnipeg in 1883 and commenced a practise of law there three years later. He served as a member of the Winnipeg City Council from 1894 to 1898 and again from 1902 to 1904. He stood as a Liberal candidate for South Winnipeg in the Manitoba Legislature in 1907. In November 1914 he was appointed to the offices of Assistant Secretary-Treasurer and Librarian for the Law Society of Manitoba, succeeding W. A. Taylor. He retired from the position in 1945.
On 23 September 1897, he married Gertrude Sanford Eastman (c1869-1914) of Winnipeg. They had four children: Harward Eastman Chaffey (1899-1918), John Richards Eastman Chaffey (1900-1976), Elswood Roscoe Eastman Chaffey (b 1903), and Frances Eastman Chaffey (b 1904, Mrs. C. Somerville Doupe). He was a member of the Manitoba Club and the St. Charles Country Club. He was a keen boater and a member of the Winnipeg Rowing Club.
In retirement, he continued to be an avid duck hunter, something he had done each fall since he was 15 years old. In 1947, at the age of 88, he survived the capsizing of his hunting canoe in Netley Marsh.
Brother-in-law of H. A. Higginson.
He moved to Montreal, Quebec in 1950, where he died on 25 January 1953.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
“B. E. Chaffey, pioneer city lawyer, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1953.
The Law Society of Manitoba, 1877-1977, edited by Cameron Harvey, Peguis Publishers Limited, 1977, pages 253-254.
We thank Bruce Varcoe for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 November 2015
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