The history of Brandon is full of interesting people who have helped to shape the city as we know it today. Use the links below to explore the names from Brandon's past.

People (Glossary)


Beaubier, David W.

D.W. Beaubier was born in approximately 1865, and lived his youth in Perth County, Ontario. In 1882, he moved to Souris and worked as a farmer and as a C.P.R. trainman. Prior to WWI he moved to Brandon. During the war he fought overseas and became a Colonel. After the war he returned to Brandon and became the owner of the popular Cecil hotel. He ran in the 1926 federal election as the Conservative candidate, losing. He did however run again in 1930, winning it. During his time in Ottawa, he was known as a “backbencher”. However, he was the only Manitoba Conservative to be re-elected in 1935, as most were “defeated” by the depression economy. He died in 1938.


Beaubier, Lucy

Lucy Eleanor Beaubier was born in Brandon in 1894. After qualifying as a teacher, she moved to Sonnenfeldt, Saskatchewan, accepting a teaching position there. In 1918, the Spanish Flu epidemic swept through Saskatchewan and claimed thousands of victims. As a precaution, all public buildings were shut down. With her school being closed, Beaubier volunteered as a nurse and tirelessly set up every sick room in the district as well as doing house-to-house checks. Inevitably, she came down with the flu herself and soon died. Eleanor was brought back to Brandon and buried. In 1927, after the arrival of the CPR, the Sonnenfeldt town fathers elected to change the name of the village to Beaubier.


Bigelow, Dr. Wilfred Abram

Born in Kingsport, Nova Scotia in 1878, a leg injury sustained while playing football forced Wilfred Bigelow to change his plans for a career at sea. Bigelow moved to Winnipeg in 1897 where he started out sweeping floors and tending fires for $3 a week at a local doctor’s office. After graduating from the University of Manitoba in 1903, Bigelow moved to Brandon and established Canada’s first medical clinic in the Clement Block in 1913. Both of his sons went on to become doctors as well, with his son Dr. William Bigelow becoming one of Canada’s top heart specialists and a pioneer of pacemaker implants. Bigelow was also an avid fisherman and game bird hunter.


Blake, Emily Hilda

Emily Hilda Blake committed one of the most terrible crimes in Brandon’s history and subsequently became the only woman ever to be hanged in Manitoba. She was born in England in 1878, orphaned at a young age, and came to Canada as a home child in 1888. Home children were British orphans that were sent to Canada to work as farm hands and domestic servants. In 1898, she began working as a maidservant for Robert and Mary Lane, of 333 10th Street. One year later, on July 5, 1899, Hilda shot and killed Mary Lane. Although she fabricated an elaborate tale to cover up her crime, the 21-year old was accused and charged for the murder of her mistress. She was sentenced to death by hanging, and was hanged at the Brandon Court House on December 27, 1899. She remains the only woman ever to be hanged in Manitoba, and one of only two women to be hanged in all of Canada.


Brigden, Beatrice

Beatrice Brigden was a social and political activist who attended Brandon College and spent much of her adult life in Brandon. A socialist and feminist, Brigden’s work with the Methodist Church took her across the country to speak about women’s issues. She also worked for the Brandon School Division, teaching classes for children with special needs. Brigden was a fervent supporter of the labour movement during the postwar labour crisis. In 1919, she and Reverend A.E. Smith left the Methodist Church to organize the Peoples’ Church, a labour church modeled after one that had been established in Winnipeg. Brigden was politically active, running in both provincial and federal elections. She belonged to the Independent Labour Party and was a founding member of the CCF Party (now the NDP) when it formed. Brigden organized the Manitoba Women’s Model Parliament and was a member of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. She was awarded a Manitoba Centennial Medal in 1970, and her good citizenship earned her a Manitoba Golden Boy Award. Brigden died in Winnipeg in 1977.


Brock, J.A.

J. A. Brock was appointed as one of the city's first aldermen in 1882. He was also the owner of one of Brandon's earliest businesses, the J.A. Brock Nursery.


Brockie, George

Born in Paisley, Ontario, George Brockie trained in the funeral business in Toronto before coming to Brandon. From 1906 to 1908, Brockie was the assistant in running Vincent & Macpherson Funeral and Undertakers. By 1916, he was running his own undertaking business, George Brockie & Co. In 1921, he owned Brockie Funeral, located in the Alexandra block. On March 10th of that year, the block was damaged by a small fire and Brockie later relocated to 8th Street. The business is still in existence today under the name Brockie Donovan but was sold to the Lumbard family in 1979.


Brodie, John R.

John R. Brodie was a successful businessman with ventures throughout Western Canada. Born in Quebec in 1879, one of Brodie’s first business ventures was a silver mine in Cobalt, Ontario. In 1902, he moved to Brandon where he established a grain brokerage business. Brodie’s best known business venture was the Great West Coal Co. Ltd., which he founded in 1912. The company was founded in Winnipeg and had collieries in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. Brodie was also a member of the Manitoba Board of Trade.

Brodie lived in Brandon until approximately 1925. Upon his death in 1962, Brodie bequeathed $250,000 to Brandon University with the expressed intent of furthering science education. The John R. Brodie Science Centre opened in his name in 1972.


Brothers, Bell

The Bell Brothers were by far the most prominent building contractors in early Brandon. William Bell, the principal partner in the business, moved to Brandon in 1882. His work spanned four decades. The Bell Brothers were noted for their use of high quality materials and fine worksmanship. They constructed both public and private buildings and at one time employed over forty workers.


Burchill, William

Born in County Grey, Ontario, William Burchill moved to Brandon in 1882 and was a resident for more than fifty years. William became one of the first butchers in the city and developed close relationships with many of the cattlemen which gave him an advantage in obtaining the best stock. He was the founder of Burchill & Howey, a meat market located on Rosser Avenue. William was a member of First United Church. He died after a somewhat lengthy illness in 1934.


Burchill, Jason

Jason Burchill was a butcher who first arrived in Brandon in 1884. In his early career, Burchill was employed at the meat market in the Burchill & Howey Block, which was co-owned by his brother, William John Burchill, and his cousin John Howey. By 1888, Jason had opened his own business. His butcher shop was located in the J. Burchill Block at 719 Rosser Avenue, which was erected in 1911. Burchill was also a prominent member of the Brandon community and served on city council for two years. Jason Burchill passed away in 1937 and is buried in the Brandon Cemetery.