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Memorable Manitobans: Ewan Alexander MacPherson [McPherson] (1879-1954)

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Ewan Alexander MacPherson
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Lawyer, MLA (1914-1915), MLA (1916-1920), MP (1926-1930), MLA (1933-1936).

Born in Worth County, Missouri on 27 January 1879, son of Peter MacPherson and Ellen Wallace, he was educated at Portage la Prairie, a schoolmate of T. A. Crerar. The family came to Manitoba in 1879 and settled at Portage la Prairie. MacPherson was articled in law to S. R. Wright and Edward Anderson, and called to Manitoba Bar in 1903. He practiced for a time with Arthur Meighen then took over the practice of Judge MacDonald in 1906. He formed partnerships with A. C. Williams (killed in France), E. P. Garland, and E. G. Porter. He was appointed a King’s Counsel in 1916. He served as a Bencher for the Law Society of Manitoba.

On 26 October 1904, he married Winnifred Mabel Finn (c1878-1952), with whom he had four children: Donovan MacPherson, Wallace MacPherson, Glen MacPherson, and Margaret MacPherson.

He served as an alderman of the City of Portage la Prairie in 1906. He first ran for public office in 1910. Over the next 15 years he contested seven elections, winning four. He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature, 1914-1915; defeated, 1920. In 1926, he defeated Arthur Meighen to become Liberal MP for Portage la Prairie. In 1932 he became Provincial Treasurer in the Bracken government, and was famous for not saying anything in the Legislature. He was also Municipal Commissioner (1935-1936).

He was named chief justice of the Court of King’s Bench in 1937, and was Chief Justice of Manitoba from 1944 to 1954. He was also Chairman of the Winnipeg Foundation. In 1948, the University of Manitoba awarded him an honorary doctorate.

He died at Kenora, Ontario on 18 November 1954 and was buried in Brookside Cemetery.


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

“Chief Justice,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 March 1949. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 87]

“Chief Justice’s wife dies at age of 74,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 May 1952. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10]

“Store clerk to jurist Mcpherson’s story,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 1954, pages 1 and 5.

The Canadian Directory of Parliament, 1867 - 1967, edited by J. K. Johnson, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa [Library and Archives Canada], 1968.

Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Sarah Ramsden.

Page revised: 11 December 2014

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