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Memorable Manitobans: Jacob Yost Shantz (1822-1909)

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Jacob Yost Shantz
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Emigration promoter.

Born at Ebytown, Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1822, he farmed and ran various businesses, including a button factory. In 1872 the Canadian government asked him to accompany a Russian Mennonite to Manitoba to investigate a possible settlement there. He described the visit in Narrative of a Journey to Manitoba (1873), which became an important immigration tract. He served at the behest of the Canadian government as Canadian director of Mennonite immigration, raising considerable money through gifts and loans. He was recompensed with land in the Mennonite reserves near Schanzenfeld and Schantzenberg. He later began a Mennonite colony at Didsbury, Alberta. In later years he joined the reform Mennonites and ended up in the Christian Science Church. He died at Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario in 1909.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Shantz Monument (RM of Ritchot)

Vicarious Pioneer: The Life of Jacob Y. Shantz by S. J. Steiner (1988).

Jacob Yost Shantz, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIII, 939-41.


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

We thank Ernest Braun and Edward Krahn for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 15 April 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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