Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Harry James Cowan (1873-1930)


Born at Portage la Prairie on 23 August 1873, son of James Cowan and Janet Cowan, and brother to Samuel Broadfoot Cowan, he graduated from the University of Manitoba (Arts BA, 1894) then farmed for a time in the Portage district. He articled in law to various firms and was admitted to legal practice in 1908. Long connected with Canadian Militia, he joined the Manitoba Dragoons in 1894. In 1906, he organized and assumed command of the 18th Mounted Rifles, serving in the Boer War with the Royal Canadian Regiment. In November 1914, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and helped to rganize the 32nd Battalion, taking it to England. On its being broken up, he carried on Brigade Commander of a Reserve Battalion until 1917. He was gazetted Colonel in France and given command of the 4th Division Infantry, Base Dept, Etaples, then commanded the Amalgamated Base Depot until September 1918. He was attached to Corps Headquarters until his return to England then returned to Canada where he was demobilized in October 1919. On 24 September 1908, he married Annie Ironside James, widow of William John James. He died at Portage la Prairie on 25 August 1930.


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.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 November 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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