Memorable Manitobans: Annie B. Stewart (1842-1935)
Born at Brantford, Ontario on 18 April 1842, daughter of Scottish immigrant and Brantford furniture merchant Charles Stewart, she attended the Brantford Collegiate and Toronto Normal School. Between 1864 and 1883, she taught at two local schools before moving to Winnipeg in 1883, where she resided at the residence of her sister Helen (wife of William Hunt). Continuing her career at Central School No. 1 / Victoria School (1883-1921), she stay at the school during its 1898 remodeling from a six-room to 12-room facility.
She was Acting Principal at least once during her career, simultaneously serving as such for both Central School No. 1 (in the absense of Frank H. Schofield and Central School No. 2 (for Sadie Sharpe in September 1891). Her tenure set a Winnipeg School Board record for continuous service at a single school, as well as a purported Canadian record for long service by an educator, spanning 57 years. She had a spotless record of having never been late to work and lost only 24 days to illness and 18 days for bereavement leave. In recognition of her career, she was given the standing of Honourable Lifetime Member of the Manitoba Educational Association (1924).
In addition her to classroom duties, she helped to raise her sister’s children, after the early death of their mother. In retirement, she lived in California from 1921 to 1926, returning to Manitoba to reside at her niece Isobel S. Black’s residence at East St. Paul, known as “The Log Cabin.” There, she received countless friends and former pupils. Her birthday was an annually celebrated event, with many former students sending letters from near and far to the renowned “School Ma’am.” She was a life-long member of the Women’s Teachers’ Club, Winnipeg Teachers’ Association, and Manitoba Teachers Federation. A member of the First Baptist Church for over 50 years, she also taught Sunday School there.
She died unmarried at her Winnipeg home, Suite 4 - St. Mary’s Court, on 11 July 1935. Following a well-attended funeral service, she was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. On 13 August 1935, the Winnipeg School Board observed a minute of silence in her honour.
“School will keep,” Manitoba Free Press, 1 September 1891, page 8.
“Schools,” Manitoba Free Press, 1 October 1891, page 3.
“Change in school staff,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 February 1892, page 6.
“86th birthday,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 April 1929, page 3.
“Beloved educationist is eighty-seven today,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 April 1930, page 5.
“Pioneer teachers recall early experiences when celebrating birthdays,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 April 1933, page 6.
“Reception held in honor of Nonogenarian,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 April 1933, page 6.
“Annie B. Stewart celebrates her 92nd birthday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 April 1935, page 3.
“Annie Stewart, teacher since 1864, dies at 92,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 July 1935, page 3.
Death notice, Winnipeg Tribune, 11 July 1935, page 15.
“Miss A. B. Stewart, pioneer school teacher, is dead,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 July 1935, page 5.
“Former pupils pay tribute to Annie Stewart,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 July 1935, page 4.
“Trustees will consider step in September,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 August 1935, page 3.
“School Board Meeting,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 August 1935, page 9.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 18 December 2020