Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Peter Jansen (1852-1923)

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Peter Jansen
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Farmer, politician, land promoter.

Born in Russia on 21 March 1852, his father Cornelius Jansen, the German consul in Russia, was banished from that country in 1873. The family emigrated to Canada, settling at Berlin [now Kitchener], Ontario. The next year they moved to Nebraska where they raised sheep and farmed. Peter Jansen served in the Nebraska state legislature and helped in 1896 to nominate William McKinley for the US presidency.

An advocate for German immigration to North America, he visited Canada in 1902 to tour Doukhobor settlements on the prairies. Being so impressed by the potential of the land he saw, Jansen purchased land in Saskatchewan and Alberta. He served as Second Vice-President and Director of the Saskatchewan Valley and Manitoba Land Company and, being fluent in English, Russian and German and a friend of William Hespeler, he worked to encourage the settlement of German-speaking immigrants on the prairies.

In 1906, he organized the Saskatchewan Elevator Company with himself as President, Alexander D. McRae as Vice-President, his son John P. Jansen as Manager and Secretary, and Andrew Duncan Davidson and Alexander Rae Davidson as its principal shareholders. He retired from politics and moved to Winnipeg to live for a time before going to Beatrice, Nebraska. There he was elected to the state senate in 1910, serving a two-year term.

See also:

Memoirs of Peter Jansen: The Record of a Busy Life, An Autobiography, self-published at Beatrice, Nebraska, 1921, 140 pages.

Sources:

“Personal view convinced them,” Manitoba Free Press, 31 May 1902.

“Twenty townships being settled,” Manitoba Free Press, 4 November 1903.

“A true German,” Manitoba Free Press, 20 February 1904.

“West’s new grain co. now organized,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 October 1906.

We thank Jeremy Wiebe for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 July 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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