We like themes for names when we can find ones that are worthy. This year it started out with names from the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike but there were two sides and which side does one choose? And then when we found we had 3 female chicks to name and only 1 male chick it became considerable more difficult as women were very rarely named in the accounts from the time. So the theme for the female chicks is local women whose contributions were unrecognized, under-reported and/or under-appreciated – which is of course a huge list, so I have chosen five that appealed to me. Much easier to find male names, so I chose men whose reported contributions were just one of many and in some cases, some might say, not even their greatest contributions.
THESE NAMES WERE THE ONES CHOSEN
Sadie Mildred Grimm (1895–1970) – Motorcyclist
Was the winner of the 1914 Manitoba Motorcycle Club’s Gold Medal. This is the first documented award in motorcycling by a woman in Canada in a competition open to men. It is also notable that unlike American Clara Wagner, she was not denied the award due to gender. There was a significant political element to this competition. The Gold Medal was to be presented for the first person to ride the approximately fifty-five miles by motorcycle from Winnipeg to the popular resort town of Winnipeg Beach. The roads at that time, like many in the province, were poor to impassible to non-existent with stretches being nothing but swamps and pastures. With thousands flocking to Winnipeg Beach during the summer, the Canadian Pacific Railway had a de facto monopoly on what was claimed to be the most profitable stretch of track in Canada. To underscore the difficulty of the task, there had been numerous failed attempts by other riders during the winter and early spring prior to Grimm’s accomplishment on June 14, 1914. She actually completed the feat twice on the same day by successfully returning to Winnipeg by a different route. Later that summer, she married amateur motorcycle racer and Indian repair shop owner James (Jim) Roland Cruikshank. Her novel achievement also made her an obvious choice as a spokesperson for the participation of women in motorcycling where she promoted the activity as benefiting both health and independence. On May 30, 2017, it was announced that Sadie Grimm was to be inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
Wikipedia – Sadie Grimm
Metcalfe, R. (2017) Sadie Grimm: First Canadian Woman Motorcycle Medalist
CBC Manitoba – She was a pistol’: Winnipeg teen Sadie Grimm raced into motorcycle history in 1914
Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame – Sadie Mildred Grimm – Class of 2017. A spokesperson for the participation of women in motorcycling in 1914
Berenice Barbara Warne Sisler (1924-2019) – Community activist.
Born at Winnipeg in 1924, daughter of Alfred Warne (1884-1972) and Ruth May Dahl (1894-1990), she received the Governor General’s Medal upon graduation from East Kildonan Collegiate. She attended United College, serving as Lady Stick, and graduated with a BA degree in 1945. After earning a diploma in education from the University of Manitoba in 1946, she taught mathematics at Dauphin Collegiate for a year. On 18 September 1948, she married George Cooper Sisler and they had two children. She was active in the Resident Advisory Group for Assiniboine Park, Westminster United Church, Liberal party, and University of Winnipeg Alumni Association. She served on the national board for YWCA of Canada (1973-1977) and the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women (1980-1984). She worked to reform family law legislation in Manitoba, described in her book A Partnership of Equals: The Struggle for the Reform of Family Law in Manitoba (1995). In recognition of her community service, she received the Alumni 25th Anniversary Award (1970) and an honorary degree (1990) from the University of Winnipeg, she was inducted in the Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1985), and she received the Commemoration of Persons Award (1986). She died at Winnipeg on 5 April 2019.
Florence Edith McTavish Rogers (1876-1947) – Feminist, MLA (1921-1922), MLA (1923-1927), MLA (1927-1932).
Born at Norway House on 26 April 1876, daughter of HBC Chief Factor D. C. McTavish and Lydia Christie (?-1886), great-granddaughter of Alexander Christie, niece of A. M. Campbell. In the 1920 general election, she became the first woman to be elected to the Manitoba Legislature, as a Liberal representing Winnipeg. In 1921, she introduced the legislation that incorporated the Winnipeg Foundation. An active advocate of the Child Welfare Act, she was re-elected in 1922 and 1927. During the First World War she was very involved in volunteer work, and was particularly active in social-welfare work, including a term as President of the Convalescent Home of Winnipeg (1919-1933). She served as the only woman on the Winnipeg General Hospital Board, and was secretary of the Central Council of the Battalion Auxiliaries. On 1 June 1898, she married Robert Arthur Rogers with whom she had four children: Margaret MacTavish Rogers, Jean Emily Rogers (1901-?, wife of Arthur Gorham Lawson), Enid Rogers (1903-1990), and John A. Rogers. She moved to Ontario in 1942 and died at Colborne on 19 April 1947. She was buried in St. John’s Cemetery. There are papers at the Archives of Manitoba.
MHS Memorable Manitobans – Florence Edith McTavish Rogers
Metis Museum – Florence Edith McTavish
Rootsweb – Obituary – Florence Edith McTavish – the obituary is pasted into the post, so scroll down – it is an interesting read – her daughter Margaret’s Obituary is also included.
Wikipedia – Edith Rogers (Manitoba politician)
Hugh Amos Robson (1871-1945) – Lawyer, judge, MLA (1927-1930).
Born at Barrow-in-Furness, England on 9 September 1871, son of Robert and Jane Robson, he came to Canada in 1882. He was a law student at Regina, North West Territories (NWT) in 1885 and was an eyewitness at the trial of Louis Riel. Called to the territorial bar, he practised law before joining the law firm of James Aikins at Winnipeg, in 1899. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1909. He served as a Bencher for the Law Society of Manitoba from 1918 to 1925. With J. B. Hugg he co-authored several important law texts, including Cases on Municipal Law (1915 and 1920). He was appointed as a judge in the Court of King’s Bench in 1909, but resigned to take up the chair of a public utilities commission for the province (1911-1914), introducing public hydroelectric power. He was replaced in the position by P. A. Macdonald. Robson was chosen Liberal leader in 1927 and elected to the Manitoba Legislature, serving until his appointment to the Court of Appeal in 1930. He served on the court until 1943 and was Chief Justice of Manitoba from 1944 to his death. He served as President of the St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg (1935-1937). He was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Manitoba in 1914. He died at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 9 July 1945, following a prolonged illness, and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. He is commemorated by Robson Hall at the Fort Garry campus of the University of Manitoba.
* what isn’t mentioned here is that he was the Chair of a Royal Commission that looked into the causes and effects of the Winnipeg General Strike.
MHS Memorable Manitobans – Hugh Amos Robson
CBC Manitoba – Trials and deportations: 1919 Winnipeg strike leaders were punished first, vindicated later
THESE NAMES WERE THE ONES NOT CHOSEN
Helen Jury “Ma” Armstrong (1875-1947) – Union leader, radical.
Born at Toronto, Ontario, she came to Winnipeg in 1905 with her husband George Armstrong. Becoming leader of the local chapter of the Women’s Labour League, she was referred to as “business manager for the Women’s Unions” and later dubbed by eastern newspapers “the Wild Woman of the West.” In 1917 she intervened on behalf of “aliens” arrested for breach of contract, and mounted public platforms to demonstrate against conscription. In April 1918, she was elected president of the Hotel and Household Workers’ Union in Winnipeg. Armstrong resigned as president of the Women’s Labour League in February 1919 when it supported the Minimum Wage Board. She was in charge of arrangements for the kitchen maintained by the Women’s League during the Winnipeg General Strike. Arrested several times during the strike for disorderly conduct, she was an ardent feminist as well as a socialist. In 1923, she ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Winnipeg City Council. She died at Los Angeles, California on 18 April 1947 and was buried there.
Margaret McTavish Rogers Konantz (1899-1967) – Community activist, MP (1963-1965)
Born in Winnipeg on 30 April 1899, daughter of Robert Arthur Rogers and Edith McTavish, sister of J. A. Rogers, she was educated at the Winnipeg Model School, Bishop Strachan School (Toronto) and Miss Spence’s School (New York). She married Gordon Edward Konantz on 11 February 1922. Their sons were William Konantz (husband of Mary Anne McPhee) and Gordon Konantz. She served as President of the Junior League of Winnipeg (1928-1929) and President of the Central Volunteer Bureau during the Second World War. Daughter of the first Manitoba female MLA, Konantz kept a vow to her husband to remain out of public life that ended only with his death in 1954. By 1959 she was national Vice-President of UNICEF and in 1961 became national Vice-President of the UN Association. She first ran for Parliament in 1962, and became Manitoba’s first female MP in 1963, when she was elected to represent Winnipeg South, but was defeated in 1965. She was National Vice President of the UN Association from 1961 to 1964, and a Canadian delegate to the 18th and 20th UN General Assemblies. She was the first woman given the Golden Boy Award for service to Manitoba, and was inducted into the Order of the British Empire. The University of Manitoba awarded her an honorary doctorate in 1967. She died at Fredericton, New Brunswick on 11 May 1967. Her papers are at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections and the Archives of Manitoba.
MHS Memorable Manitobans – Margaret McTavish Konantz
Metis Museum – Margaret McTavish Konantz
West End Dumplings – 50th Anniversary: Margaret Konantz O.B.E., Manitoba’s first female M.P.
Rootsweb – Obituary – Margaret McTavish Konantz – the obituary is pasted into the post, so scroll down – it is an interesting read – her mother Florence’s Obituary is also included.
Wikipedia – Margaret Konantz
James Shaver Woodsworth (1874-1942) – Cleric, MP (1922-1925), MP (1926), MP (1926-1930), MP (1930-1935), MP (1936-1940), MP (1940-1942).
Born near Islington, Ontario on 29 July 1874, son of Reverend James Woodsworth and Esther Josephine Shaver, he was educated at Wesley College (BA 1896), University of Toronto, and Oxford University. He became active in social reform and threatened to leave the Methodist Church in 1907, being persuaded to remain by being put in charge of All People’s Mission in the North End of Winnipeg. There Woodsworth worked chiefly with new immigrants, his efforts and ideas discussed in his books Strangers within Our Gates (1909) and My Neighbour (1911). While sympathetic to the plight of new Canadians, he feared their ability to assimilate into Canadian society and the ways in which extensive immigration from eastern Europe would change Canada. A pacifist and opponent of national-service registration during the First World War, he served at a mission on the Sechelt Peninsula in British Columbia before finally leaving the church in 1918. He worked briefly on the Vancouver docks before embarking on a lecture tour in 1919 that brought him to Winnipeg in the midst of the Winnipeg General Strike. After becoming editor of the strikers’ newspaper, he was arrested on charges of seditious libel and later released. Although his involvement in the Winnipeg General Strike was minimal, his strike work and his subsequent arrest made Woodsworth’s reputation among supporters of labour, and he was elected to Parliament from Winnipeg North Centre in 1921 as an Independent Labour candidate, serving the riding until his death, being re-elected in 1926, 1930, 1935, and 1940. He and his fellow labourite A. A. Heaps actually held the balance of power in the 1926 House of Commons, and they forced the King government to pass old-age pension legislation. Woodsworth was involved in the creation of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and became House Leader of the seven CCF members elected to Ottawa in 1935. He was an ardent socialist and social reformer of the moral perfectionist variety. Because of his pacifism, he was forced to step down as leader of the CCF when war again broke out in 1939. Although he was re-elected to Parliament in 1940, he was already quite ill and died soon after, on 21 March 1942. The Woodsworth Papers are in Library and Archives Canada, although there are some papers at the Archives of Manitoba.
Arthur Ernest “Jack” Moore (1882-1950) – Labour leader, MLA (1921-1922).
Born at Lewis-Kent, England on 12 February 1882, he joined the Royal Navy when he was less than 10 years old and saw service around the world for the next 11 years. He came to Winnipeg in 1910 and, the following year, became employed by the Canadian Northern Railway in its Fort Rouge Shops. He joined the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of America and, as chairman of the joint protective board, negotiated the first wage agreement between employees and the company. During the First World War, he served as a sergeant in France with the 44th Canadian Infantry Battalion. On his return to Canada he served on a Royal Commission set up by the Manitoba government to investigate employment conditions for returning veterans. In 1920, he was elected to the Manitoba Legislature on a soldier-labour platform. He was fired from his railway job for his political activities but was reinstated after a storm of public protest and stayed there until retirement. He was an Independent candidate for the Winnipeg constituency in the 1927 provincial general election but was defeated. He was named the first President of the Royal Canadian Legion when it was formed in 1925, holding the post for 22 years. In 1934 he founded the Young Men’s United to host swimming, boxing, curling and other activities for the children of fallen soldiers. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he went overseas to help organize auxiliary services. He died at Winnipeg on 4 October 1950 and was buried in the military section of Brookside Cemetery.
MHS Memorable Manitobans – Arthur Ernest Moore
MHS Manitoba History – The Third Force: Returned Soldiers in the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919