Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Skirving Ewart (1852-1933)

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John Skirving Ewart
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Lawyer, Canadian nationalist.

Born in Scotland on 8 August 1852, he came to Canada in 1860 and attended school at Upper Canada College and Osgoode Hall. He practised law in Toronto before moving to Winnipeg in 1882. In Manitoba he became involved in the Manitoba Schools Question on behalf of the Roman Catholic minority, arguing the case before the Supreme Court and the Privy Council. As a result of this and other experience, he became a specialist in constitutional law, moving to Ottawa and undertaking only cases before the highest courts of appeal. He served as a Bencher for the Law Society of Manitoba in 1883 and was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1884.

After 1900 Ewart became an ardent Canadian sovereigntist, insisting that full Canadian independence from Great Britain was necessary in order for the nation to fulfill its destiny. He served as the founding President of the Canadian Club of Winnipeg. His most important books were The Kingdom Papers (1911-1914), The Roots and Causes of the Wars (1914-1918), and The Independence Papers (1925-1930).

He and wife Jessie Campbell (1855-?) had four children: Alan Campbell Ewart, Seaton Ewart (1878-?), Kathleen E. Ewart (1885-1926), and Gladys Louisa Ewart (1891-?).

He died at Ottawa, Ontario on 22 February 1933. He was commemorated by the community of Ewart in southwestern Manitoba. There are papers at the Archives of Manitoba.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Ewart Cairn (RM of Pipestone)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: J. S. Ewart Plaque (Robson Hall, University of Manitoba)


Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“John S. Ewart, once Winnipeg barrister, dead,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 February 1933.

“John S. Ewart, K.C., noted lawyer, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 February 1933, page 1.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 November 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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