Edgar Dewdney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Edgar Dewdney
Edgar Dewdney.jpg
Edgar Dewdney
5th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
In office
November 1, 1892 – November 18, 1897
Monarch Victoria
Governor General The Lord Stanley of Preston
The Earl of Aberdeen
Premier Theodore Davie
John Herbert Turner
Preceded by Hugh Nelson
Succeeded by Thomas Robert McInnes
6th Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories
In office
December 3, 1881 – July 1, 1888
Monarch Victoria
Governor General Marquess of Lorne
The Marquess of Lansdowne
The Lord Stanley of Preston
Preceded by David Laird
Succeeded by Joseph Royal
Personal details
Born (1853-11-05)November 5, 1853
Bideford, England
Died August 8, 1916(1916-08-08) (aged 80)
Victoria, British Columbia
Nationality Canadian
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Jane Shaw Moir (m. 1864)
Occupation engineer, railway surveyor
Profession Politician

Edgar Dewdney, PC (November 5, 1835 – August 8, 1916) was a Canadian politician born in Devonshire, England. He served as Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories and the fifth Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.[1][2]

Early life and career[edit]

Following his education in civil engineering, he emigrated from England to British Columbia in 1859. In 1864, Dewdney married Jane Shaw Moir, the daughter of a tea plantation owner from Ceylon. This marriage was without issue.

Dewdney was originally employed as a railway surveyor, and supervised the survey of New Westminster. In 1865, Dewdney was appointed by Governor Frederick Seymour to oversee the construction of a trail to the East Kootenay region of the British Columbia Interior so that coastal merchants might benefit from the burgeoning trade associated with gold mining in that area but also to secure line of communication with the region to prevent an American takeover of that part of the province. Although used for only a few years, parts of the Dewdney Trail, as it was known, remain to this day and are used for recreational hiking. Provincial Highway 3 largely follows the route of the Dewdney Trail. His great grand daughter Joan Skelton married Edwin Shelton who is the only engineer in Edgar Dewdney's descendants.

Entry into politics[edit]

From 1868 to 1869, Dewdney became active in Colonial politics, representing the electoral district of Kootenay in the Legislative Council of British Columbia. After the Colony joined Canadian Confederation in 1871, he served as a Conservative Member of Parliament for the riding of Yale following his election in 1872. He was appointed a member of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald's cabinet in 1879, where he served as Indian commissioner for the North-West Territories until 1888.

First Government House shortly after construction in 1883.

In 1881, Macdonald arranged Dewdney's appointment as Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories, then an executive position. Dewdney resigned his seat in the Commons, but remained Indian Commissioner during his term as Lieutenant-Governor, which lasted until 1888. Responsible government had not been granted to the North-West Territories, so Dewdney was the Territories' head of government. Perhaps his most notable decision in office was changing the territorial capital from Battleford to Wascana — Cree for Buffalo Bones — in 1883: a featureless location without water apart from a short spring run-off Wascana (Buffalo Bones) Creek, trees or topography, but where Dewdney had secured substantial real estate for himself adjacent to the near-future planned Canadian Pacific Railway line. Other townsites were also considered probable territorial capitals, including Fort Qu'Appelle and Qu'Appelle, the latter to the extent of having been designated the cathedral city of the new Diocese of Qu'Appelle by the Church of England in Canada. The matter was a national scandal at the time.[3] Still, the initial major street of Buffalo Bones, when it was renamed Regina by Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne, was called Dewdney Avenue.

After his term as Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories, Dewdney was again elected to Parliament and served as the member for Assiniboia East (now southeastern Saskatchewan) from 1888 to 1891. During this period he also served as Minister of the Interior and Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

In 1892, he was appointed to the non-executive viceregal post of Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. He served in this post until 1897.

He retired from politics in 1900, after unsuccessfully running for Parliament in New Westminster, British Columbia.

In 1909, following the death his wife Jane, Dewdney remarried. His new wife was Blanche Kemeys-Tynte, the daughter of Colonel Charles John Kemeys-Tynte of Halswell, Somerset, England.


Dewdney had the prenominal "the Honourable" and the postnominal "PC" for life by virtue of being made a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on September 25, 1888.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lieutenant-Governors of British Columbia". www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ ERIC J. HOLMGREN. "Sir Edgar Dewdney". www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ Pierre Berton, The Last Spike: The Great Railway 1881-1885 (Toronto: McLelland and Stewart, 1973), 120)
  4. ^ http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/default.asp?Language=E&Page=informationresources&Sub=PrivyCouncilMembers&doc=PCMembersHistList-A-E_e.htm
  5. ^ Last Mountain Lake Bird Sanctuary. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 18 August 2012.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Member of Parliament Yale
Succeeded by
Francis Jones Barnard
Preceded by
William Dell Perley
Member of Parliament Assiniboia East
Succeeded by
William Walter McDonald
Government offices
Preceded by
David Laird
Lieutenant-Governors of Northwest Territories
Succeeded by
Joseph Royal
Preceded by
John Alexander Macdonald
Superintendents General of Indian Affairs
Succeeded by
Thomas Mayne Daly
Preceded by
Hugh Nelson
Lieutenant-Governors of British Columbia
Succeeded by
Thomas Robert McInnes