Memorable Manitobans: Margaret Lillian Arnett MacLeod (1877-1966)
Born at London, Ontario on 14 January 1877, daughter of Angelina Hughes (1850-1944) and Lewis Arnett, who came to the Red River Settlement in 1870 with the Wolseley Expedition. She was educated in Brandon and Winnipeg before taking a teaching job at Stonewall. Her husband, Alexander Neil MacLeod, was a Stonewall physician. Her son, Alan Arnett MacLeod, who died during the First World War, was awarded the Victoria Cross. She also had two daughters, Helen MacLeod and Marion MacLeod.
In the 1930s, she began researching and writing history. Her first work, The Frozen Priest of Pembina, was published in 1935. Her next book was Bells of Red River (1938). She edited The Letters of Letitia Hargrave (1947), wrote Songs of Old Manitoba (1960), and co-authored Cuthbert Grant of Grantown (1963) with William Lewis Morton. She also researched the songs of Pierre Falcon. She became a life member of the Manitoba Historical Society (1964) and a member of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1964). She was the first woman elected to the executive of the Champlain Society.
She died on 17 February 1966 as a result of a fire at her home at 138 Maryland Street and was buried in the Old Kildonan Cemetery. Her personal papers are at the Archives of Manitoba and her research papers are at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. The latter contain research notes for her publication on the correspondence of Letitia Hargrave. Research material about the Red River Settlement and some original letters of the era are also included.
Her articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:
Ontario birth registration, Ancestry.
“Manitoba historian goes to two eastern meetings,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 June 1952. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10]
“Historian dies in house fire,” Winnipeg Tribune, 17 February 1966.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 19 February 1966, page 38.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
We thank Alan Arnett MacLeod Adams and James Arnett for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 1 October 2022