Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Ebenezer McColl (1835-1902)

Indian agent.

Born in Aldborough Township, Upper Canada on 13 August 1835, into a Scottish family who were active Primitive Baptists, he studied in the United States and became a school teacher. In 1875 he worked briefly as field agent for the Toronto Globe before being named the Manitoba region’s inspector of agencies and accounts for the Indian Affairs Branch of the Department of the Interior. Soon after his arrival in Winnipeg, he helped investigate fraud charges in the Winnipeg office of the branch that resulted in the removal of lawyer J.-A.-N. Provencher from his position as Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

McColl travelled extensively to examine the reserves within his superintendency, and in 1890 was named superintendent of Indian Affairs for Manitoba and the North-West Territories. Many native leaders regarded him as a friend. In 1879, he married Ella Beebe (?-?) of Middletown, New York. He had two sons, Samuel E. McColl and Gilbert B. McColl, and five daughters, among them twins Mary Leith McColl and Flora Ella McColl (1880-1961).

He died at Winnipeg on 30 October 1902 and was buried at Dutton, Ontario.

See also:

Ebenezer McColl, ‘Friend to the Indians,’ Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Manitoba and Northwest Territories: A Biography, 1835-1902 by Frances V. McColl (Winnipeg, 1989).

Ebenezer McColl, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIII, 617.


The Canadian Album, Men of Canada (1894).

Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Indian inspector McColl is dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 31 October 1902, page 8.

“Obituary,” Manitoba Free Press, 3 November 1902, page 12.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 August 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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