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Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Cornell (1862-1943)

Telegrapher, insurance agent.

Born at Norfolk, Ontario on 28 November 1862, son of Owen and Mary Ann Cornell, he quit school at the age of 13 years and apprenticed as a machinist. He had to abandon his career due to a prolonged and severe illness, instead going into telegraphy. In 1880 he got a job as a telegraph operator for the Northwestern Railroad, which was later absorbed into the Grand Trunk Railway. He was a telegrapher and station agent in 1884 when he came to Winnipeg to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He worked for four years in its freight department, resigning in 1888 to take a job with the Northern Pacific Railway, staying there for two years. He then became manager of the Western Canadian Hail Insurance Company, which later merged into the Central Canada Insurance Company. He was also managing director of the Saskatchewan Insurance Company of Regina, the Alberta-Canadian Insurance Company of Edmonton, and general manager of the Insurance Agencies Limited.

On 20 April 1887, he married Elizabeth Roberts at Winnipeg. They had five children: Kathleen Mary Cornell, Frederick Charles Cornell, Helen Elizabeth Cornell, Dorothea Eleanor Cornell, and Clara Marjorie Choate Cornell. He was a member of the Masons, IOOF, Brandon Club, Commercial Club of Brandon, Assiniboia Club of Regina, and the Anglican Church. He served on the board of the Brandon Winter Fair Association and the Brandon School Division. The family lived at 610 Victoria Avenue in Brandon.

He died at New Westminster, British Columbia on 8 July 1943 and was buried in the Brandon Cemetery.


Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

“Joseph Cornell,” Brandon Sun, 12 July 1943, page 5.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 December 2014

Memorable Manitobans

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