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Memorable Manitobans: Edwin Bourke (1836-1915)

Click to enlargeFarmer, MLA (1871-1874), MLA (1875-1878).

Born on 19 September 1836 in the Red River Settlement, the son of John Palmer Bourke and Nancy Campbell, who came from County Sligo, Ireland, to the Red River Settlement in 1812. He was brought up on the site of Hay Field Farm, St. James. He subsequently owned this property which had been bought by his father from the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In 1863 he married Isabella Hallett, daughter of William Peter Hallett and Maria Pruden. They had six children: William Bourke, Walter Palmer Bourke (1865-1866), Edmond Bourke (1866-1958), Maria Ann Bourke (1868-1973), Florence Bourke (1870-1955), Catherine Isabella Bourke (1872-1957), and Arthur Herbert Bourke (1875-1962).

In 1871 Bourke was chosen as a captain of the volunteers who organized to protect the country from the Fenian Raids. He was elected to represent St. James in Manitoba’s first Legislature in 1870. Re-elected, he was a member of the 1876-78 Legislature which abolished the Manitoba Upper House. In later years he served on the St. James council and on the school board.

Bourke died at Ocean Park, California on 18 March 1915. His body was returned to Winnipeg for burial.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Ryan Block (44 Princess Street, Winnipeg)

Sources:

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

“Edwin Bourke died last night at Ocean Park”, undated newspaper clipping [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B6]

“Was member of first legislature”, Manitoba Free Press, 19 March 1915 [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B6]

We thank Ray Chapman, a great-grandson of Edwin Bourke and grandson of Maria Ann (Bourke) Good, for providing a portrait and additional information.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 11 August 2011

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