Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Francis Tennant (1848-1924)

Civil servant.

Born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England on 25 December 1848, a son of Thomas and Catherine Tennant, brother of Henry James Tennant, he came to the Fort Garry Settlement with the Red River Expedition in 1870, earning a medal and one bar. He saw active service during the Fenian Raid of 1870-1871. He was engaged as a land guide scout in 1871 and was a Dominion Government Land Guide for a number of years. He served on the International Boundary Commission, 1872-1874, and made over the last of the stock from that Commission to the North West Mounted Police at Fort Dufferin on their organization in their first camp in the West. He served as Collector of Customs on the International Boundary for a number of years under the Dominion Government. He was later employed by the Manitoba government as an Immigration Agent, County Court Clerk, and Police Magistrate.

In 1879, he married Laura Alta Hutcheson (1858-1935) of Emerson and they had seven children: May Tennant (1880-?), Nora Tennant (1884-?), William Hutcheson Tennant (1885-?), Myrtle Catherine Tennant (1888-?), Edith Tennant (1891-?), Reginald Tennant (1894-?), and Dorothy Magdale Tennant (1896-?). He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the AOUW. He held office as a Councillor and Mayor of West Lynne and Councillor for the Rural Municipality of Morris and the Town of Emerson. He was Mayor of Gretna in 1913. He wrote several provincial immigration pamphlets, was a correspondent for several newspapers, wrote the book Rough Times, 1870-1920, A Souvenir of the 50th Anniversary of the Red River Expedition and the Formation of the Province of Manitoba.

He died suddenly at Yorkton, Saskatchewan while visiting his daughter. He was buried at Gretna.


Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

“Veteran dies,” undated newspaper clipping. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B8]

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 15 February 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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