Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 141 years


Pay & Donate in the MHS Online Shop

Prairie History No. 1

No. 1

Fundraising Dinner 2020

Endangered Top 10
Top 10

Jens Munk at Churchill
Field Trip:

War Memorials in Manitoba
in Manitoba

This Old Elevator
This Old

Abandoned Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans

Historic Sites of Manitoba
Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans: Isaac Cowie (1848-1917)

Click to enlarge

Isaac Cowie
Click to enlarge


Born at Lerwick, Shetland Islands on 18 November 1848, son of Dr. John Cowie and Margaret Heddell, he was educated in Edinburgh and attended Edinburgh University for one session in the study of medicine. He entered the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1867, coming to Rupert’s Land by way of Hudson Bay. He was first stationed at Fort Qu’Appelle, and from 1872 to 1874 was manager of that post. He held various positions in the North-West Territories. He was stationed at Oak Point, Lake Manitoba, for a short time, then moved to the post at Fort McMurray.

Cowie left the Company service in 1891 to become secretary of the Edmonton Board of Trade, a position that he held for eight years. In 1902 he moved to Winnipeg. During the Riel Rebellion of 1885 he used his influence to restrain the Métis. He also devoted much time to securing a grant of land for white settlers who lived in Rupert’s Land before it became part of Canada.

In 1884, he married Margaret Jane Sinclair (1864-1901) of Winnipeg. They had six children: Jean Sinclair Cowie (1888-?), Ruby Beresford Cowie (1889-?, mother of Barbara A. Johnstone), William Cecil Cowie (1891-?), Jessie Cowie (1894-?), Mary F. Cowie (1895-?), and Victori I. Cowie (1899-?). He was a member of the St. Andrew’s Society, Old Timers’ of Manitoba, and AOUW. He was the author of The Company of Adventurers (Toronto, 1913).

He died in Winnipeg on 18 May 1917 and was buried in the St. Andrew’s-on-the-Red Anglican Cemetery. His collection of Plains Cree material culture is housed in the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.


1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

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.

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 28 June 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z | 2017

Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Our Inspiration | Acknowledgements

Support the MHS and

Back to top of page


To report an error on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations Policy

© 1998-2020 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.