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Memorable Manitobans: Sophia Mason Thomas (1822-1861)

Linguist.

Born in Red River, she was the daughter of Chief Factor Thomas Thomas and an Indian mother. Upon her father’s death in 1828, she inherited a small estate and was educated at the Red River Academy. She declined the opportunity to become a governess at the school in order to marry the Wesleyan missionary William Mason, who took over James Evans’s mission to bring the printed word to the Indians. Fluent in Cree, she assisted her husband in his work and in preparing the translation of the Bible into Cree syllabics which appeared in print in 1859 under her husband’s name only. She died in London soon after the birth of her ninth child.

More information:

Sophia Mason Thomas, Dictionary of Canadian Biography IX, 784.

Sources:

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

Page revised: 29 March 2008

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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