Minnie Bell Sharp

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Minnie Bell Sharp Adney (January 12, 1865- April 11, 1937) was a Canadian music teacher and political candidate.

She was the daughter of Francis Peabody Sharp, a famous Canadian pomologist, and on September 12, 1899 married Edwin Tappan Adney, the Klondike publicist and Malicite ethnographer. They had one child, Francis Glenn Adney, born on July 9, 1902 in Woodstock, New Brunswick. He became a minor jazz pianist and band leader in the US. Sharp and her husband lived together for only about a quarter of their 38-year marriage.

Born and reared in Upper Woodstock, NB, Sharp trained in music at New York City beginning about 1883. She claimed as instructors William Mason and Gonzalo Nunez for piano and Ange Albert Pattou and Frank Tubbs in voice. After some teaching at New York, Fredericton and Woodstock, in 1893 she purchased the business name and goodwill of the Victoria Conservatory of Music at Victoria, British Columbia, of which she was the principal until 1900. Thereafter she returned east and conducted the Woodstock School of Music for about two decades.

In 1919, the now impoverished and decidedly eccentric Sharp announced her candidacy for the constituency of Victoria—Carleton in the first post-war Canadian federal election. Although women could then vote they could not run for office, so her name did not appear on the ballot. She stood for elective office on at least three other occasions. The only time her name appeared on the ballot was the federal campaign of 1925, when she received 84 votes. Although apparently in favour of legislated prohibition, the only point in her political platforms that was vaguely feminist was her pledge to build an economy in which children could be reared in security.

In September 1897 Sharp was arrested at Woodstock on a judgment debt for non-payment of school taxes and was in gaol (jail) for 17 days. She sued for false imprisonment and eventually won.

As a music teacher Sharp was gifted. But like her gifted father before her, she had no head for business and, like her gifted husband, she was stubborn, defensive and eccentric in ways that exasperated many.

She is buried in the Upper Woodstock Cemetery, Woodstock, New Brunswick.

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