Born at Glasgow, Scotland on 24 May 1873, daughter of Alexander Macrae and Mary Maclean, within a couple of years she was sent to Stornoway, in the Western Hebrides, where she was raised by her great-aunt Isabella Munro Mackenzie. She was active in social work with the London county council before coming to Canada in 1920. She became connected with the labour movement in Winnipeg, serving as a member of the Winnipeg School Board for 17 years, and Chair of its Management Committee in 1937, the first woman to hold the position. She was actively interested in vocational training, believing that “idle hands will get into mischief.”
She served as secretary to the United Blind Pensions Committee of Manitoba and was instrumental in achieving pensions for the blind, appearing before the House of Commons on the issue in 1935. She was President of the League of Nations Society and a member of its national executive, and a member of the executive of the St. Johns Ambulance Association. She ran in two Manitoba provincial elections as an Independent and as a member of the Labour Party (1932). She also ran for Winnipeg City Council in 1934. She was married with five children. Her daughter Muriel married zoologist C. J. Triggerson.
She died at her Winnipeg home, 247 Ruby Street, on 15 June 1942 and was buried in Old Kildonan Cemetery.
“Mrs. Jessie Maclennan dies Monday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 June 1942. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 114]
We thank Brenda Triggerson for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 23 June 2018
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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