Memorable Manitobans: George Robson Coldwell (1858-1924)
Born in Clarke Township, near Newcastle, Ontario on 4 July 1858, son of William Edward Coldwell and Mary Robson, he grew up on his parent’s farm in Hullet Township, Ontario near the village of Constance (now Kinburn). He attended the Kinburn Public School, Clinton Grammar School (Clinton, Ontario), and Trinity College (Toronto), receiving a BA degree from the latter. In 1882, Coldwell moved to Winnipeg, where he finished his legal apprenticeship with the firm of Kennedy and Sutherland. He was called to the Manitoba Bar in November 1882 and partnered with Thomas Mayne Daly the following year.
He was an active community member, serving as an alderman on the Brandon City Council from 1888 to 1908, and Rector Warden at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church from 1898 to 1904. He was a founding member of the Brandon Opera House Company and an original director of the Brandon Winter Fair and Livestock Association. He served as a Bencher for the Law Society of Manitoba and he attending the 1905 founding meeting of the Union of Manitoba Municipalities. In 1907, he was elected by acclamation to the Manitoba Legislature for the Brandon City constituency and served as the Provincial Secretary, Minister of Municipal Affairs (1907-1915), and Minister of Education (1908-1915).
On 27 August 1883, he married Annie Anderson (1858-1953) of Churchville, Ontario, with whom he subsequently had seven children: William Edward Coldwell (b 1887), Mary Elizabeth Coldwell (b 1888, wife of Charles Gould Washbon), George Alfred Coldwell (1891-1944), Thomas Coldwell (b 1893), John Robson Coldwell (b 1896), Victoria Ann Coldwell (b 1898), and Robert Henry Coldwell (b 1901). From 1896 to 1924, the Coldwell family lived at 122 - 18th Street in Brandon, now restored and operated as Daly House Museum.
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.
“Former Minister of Education is dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 25 January 1924, page 5.
Obituary, Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B7, page 234.
Obituary [G. A. Coldwell], Winnipeg Free Press, 4 May 1944, page 2.
We thank Janet L. Washbon for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 17 August 2016
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