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Memorable Manitobans: Jessie Turnbull McEwen (1845-1920)

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Jessie Turnbull McEwen
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Born at Montreal in 1845, she was an early advocate of higher education for women. In 1877 she helped form the Toronto Women’s Literary Club which, in 1883, became the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association, with herself as President. She moved to Manitoba in 1884 when her husband Donald McEwen (1838-1925) began farming northeast of Brandon. The family built a large house called Tullichewen in 1893. McEwen became President of the Brandon branch of the National Council of Women of Canada in 1895, serving until 1916. She became a Vice-President of the National Council in 1900. She helped to organize the first branch of the Red Cross in Manitoba and helped to found the Young Women’s Christian Association in Brandon in 1907. She was an active Presbyterian and, beginning in 1901, she wrote for the Canada Presbyterian as well as the Farmer’s Advocate. As a feminist, McEwen was not considered a radical militant so much as a “persuader.” She died at the Brandon General Hospital on 1 June 1920 and was buried in the Brandon Municipal Cemetery. She was survived by her husband and four children: Grace Campbell (1871-1936, wife of Gordon Bell), ? McEwen (wife of James Henderson), Dr. M. D. McEwen, and D. G. McEwen.

See also:

Jessie Turnbull, Dictionary of Canadian Biography.


Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“The master calls Mrs. Donald M’Ewen,” Brandon Sun, 10 June 1920, page 15.

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

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Eileen Trott.

Page revised: 24 November 2018

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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