March 11, 2014

Women's History Month: Famous 5 Henrietta Muir Edwards

Women's History Month: Famous 5 Henrietta Muir Edwards
Oliver & Henrietta Muir Edwards & children
Henrietta Muir Edwards (1849-1931) was one of the group of 5 women known as the Famous Five. The Famous Five were responsible for forcing Canada to recognize women under the law as "persons" in 1929.

Henrietta Muir Edwards was active in prison reform and dedicated to helping impoverished working women as early as 1875. She also helped establish the National Council of Women in 1890 and much of her focus was on the legal status of women in Canada.

She was born Henrietta Louise Muir in Montreal to William Muir and Jane Johnston. The 1871 census finds 21 year old Henrietta living in Montreal Quebec with her father William age 50 born Scotland, mother Jane age 40 born Quebec, her siblings Amelia 22, Eva 18, Ida 16, William Jr. 13, Ernest 7 and her grandfather George Johnston 82.

There are records of the family found in the online Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 on Ancestry.com

Marriage Henrietta Muir - Oliver Edwards
The marriage of William Muir and Jane Johnston is recorded in Montreal in 1844. The marriage of Jane Johnston's parents George Johnston and Jane Thomson occurred in Montreal in 1817 and Henrietta Muir's marriage to Dr. Oliver Cromwell Edwards is found recorded in 1876, also in Montreal.


In 1883, Henrietta Muir Edwards moved with her husband and three children to Saskatchewan. A brief biography of Henrietta can be found at Canada Online

The Glenbow Archives holds many artifacts such as letters and diaries of Henrietta.  One example of the collection is this diary:

Diaries. -- Fall 1867. -- Consists of diaries kept during her "Grand Tour" of Europe, during which she visited Glasgow, London, Paris, Rome, Venice, and Florence, accompanied by her father and/or Uncle James. -- Volume 1 can be viewed online

Credits: 
Photo of Edwards family courtesy Sandra Smith 
Marriage Record found online on Ancestry.com

 

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