Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Rodwell (1880-1949)


Born in Yorkshire, England on 28 May 1880, son of grocer Edward Rodwell and Anna Houseman?, he attended school in Scotland and embarked on a 40-year career in deaf education. He first worked in England and Scotland before moving to North America in 1909. He settled at Faribault, Minnesota and worked as a teacher at the Minnesota School for the Deaf (later renamed the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf). There, he met fellow teacher Mary Dempsey (1873-?), Assistant Matron of the Institution, and they were married at Niagara Falls, Ontario on 7 June 1910. He became Principal (?-1915) some time before January 1915, when he departed for Regina, Saskatchewan as the Superintendent (1915-1916) of the Saskatchewan School for the Deaf. In July 1916, he enlisted with the 69th Overseas Battery at Toronto. He served overseas with an engineering company of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. Following military discharge in May 1919, he returned to his Principalship at Faribault (c1921-1923) before coming to Manitoba to serve as Superintendent (1923-1935) of the Manitoba School for the Deaf. Upon his June 1935 resignation, he returned to England with his wife. He died at his Yorkshire residence on 27 March 1949.


Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

1910 US Census, Ancestry.

Ontario marriage registrations, Ancestry.

“Thomas Rodwell for Saskatchewan,” Kansas Star, 1 January 1915, page 4.

“Mr. Thomas Rodwell of Faribault, Minn. school,” Kansas Star, 15 February 1915, page 2.

“Local notes [To take up the duties...] ,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 August 1923, page 4.

“M. S. Blanchard named head of Deaf School,” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 July 1935, page 2.

“Thomas Rodwell dies in England,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 April 1949, page 10.

“Former Manitoban dies in England,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 April 1949, page 25.

Condron family tree, Ancestry.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 20 April 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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