Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Weir “Jim” Cowan (1910-1959)


Born at Clanwilliam on 7 May 1910, eldest of four children of Rev. John James Cowan (1876-1946) and Mary Christina McKillop (1888-1965), he received a BA degree from Manitoba College then taught school in Manitoba for 27 years, including service at Petersfield School (1939-1940). He was the Principal of Elkhorn School (1945-1946) and Sanford School (1946-1948) before moving to St. James in 1948 where he was Principal of Bannatyne School (1952-1953) and Strathmillan School (1953-1959). He had been selected to become the Principal of Silver Heights Collegiate but died before taking office. On 20 July 1939, he married Edith Jane Osborne (1912-1991) of Bunclody, at the Knox Presbyterian Manse in Roland, with whom he subsequently had two daughters. He was an elder of Deer Lodge United Church. He died at the Grace Hospital on 20 July 1959 and was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.


Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.

“Cowan – Osborne,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 July 1939, page 11.

“Rev. J. J. Cowan dies Wednesday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 August 1946, page 10.

“James W. Cowan dies in hospital,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 July 1959, page 9.

Obituary [Mary Christina Cowan], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 October 1965, page 50.

A History of Silver Heights Collegiate Institute, 1957-1974 by Mrs. J. Betty Watson, Mrs. Joyce B. Frame, and Mrs. Clara R. Evans. [St. James Assiniboia School Division]

Obituary [Edith Jane Cowan], Winnipeg Free Press, 10 June 1991, page 26.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 April 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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