Memorable Manitobans: Amelia LeSueur Yeomans (1842-1913)
Born in Quebec, Canada East on 29 March 1842, the daughter of Peter Lesuer who was at one time secretary of the Civil Service Commission. She was educated in the Provincial School, and married Augustus A. Yeomans of Belleville, Ontario, in 1860. After her husband died in 1878 she decided to join her daughter Lillian in medical studies at Michigan State University, and she graduated in 1883.
In 1882, Lillian Yeomans took up medical practice in Winnipeg and was joined by her mother a year later, although Amelia was not licensed until 1885. She passed the examinations of the Medical Board and became a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. Amelia became an active practitioner of “social medicine” in the city’s tenement districts, speaking out for better working conditions, housing reform, and the eradication of venereal disease through an ending of prostitution. She helped found the Winnipeg Humane Society in 1894. She quickly came to see alcohol as the symbol of the deterioration of society, becoming a leader of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and its President (1896-1897). Reform would not be possible without the enfranchisement of women, she believed. She thus acted the part of Premier in the mock parliament organized by the WCTU in 1893 and helped demonstrate in favour of the suffrage in 1894, subsequently leading in the founding of the Equal Franchise Association, which was committed to empowering women.
Yeomans joined her daughters in Calgary in 1906 in semi-retirement where she died at the age of 71 on 23 April 1913. At the time of her death she was Vice-President of the Dominion Womens Christian Temperance Union and also Vice-President of the Ottawa Equal Suffrage Society and the Calgary WCTU.
“Mrs. Amelia Yeomans dead at Calgary,” Manitoba Free Press, 24 April 1913.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 29 January 2017