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.
Hales, Benjamin J.
Born in Peterborough, Ontario in 1869, Benjamin J. Hales was educated as a lawyer and a teacher. An alderman from 1920 to 1923, B.J. Hales was also the original head of the Normal School and was the school’s principal from 1911 to 1938, during which time the school was primarily a teacher training facility. With a special interest in nature, Hales had one of every type of tree that will grow in Manitoba planted on the Normal School grounds. Hales founded the B.J. Hales Museum of Natural History in 1913, which is now located at Brandon University. A naturalist and author, Hales was the chairman of the Brandon Parks Board for nineteen years and took a special interest in native Manitoba fauna.
Hall, Charles W.
Charles W. Hall was a prominent local contractor and one of Brandon’s leading industrial men. He was responsible for the construction of countless homes and businesses in the city, among them the Merchants Bank Building, the YWCA’s Meredith Place, the Brandon Collegiate Institute (now New Era School), and 1133 Princess Avenue. He was also one of numerous contractors involved in the construction of the Brandon Mental Hospital. Hall maintained his reputation as one of Brandon’s best contractors, and achieved great success in the city and in surrounding areas.
Joe Hall was a professional hockey player who grew up in Brandon. Hall was born in England in 1882 before moving to Winnipeg with his family at the age of two. The family then moved to Brandon, where Hall would learn how to play hockey. At the age of 20, Hall entered the Manitoba Senior Hockey League when he signed with the Brandon Regals. He would go on to play for several other teams and, in 1905, make the First All-Star Team of the International Hockey League.
Hall, who earned the nickname “Bad Joe” Hall due to his aggressive playing style, later went east to Quebec, playing for the Quebec Shamrocks and then the Quebec Bulldogs. Hall played seven seasons with the Bulldogs and won two Stanley Cup finals. Despite his rough reputation on the ice, Joe was generally well-liked off the ice. In 1914, Quebec fans voted Hall as the most popular player in the business.
When the NHL formed in 1917, Hall was drafted to the Montreal Canadiens. The team made the Stanley Cup final in 1919 and travelled to Seattle to play against the Seattle Metropolitans. Unfortunately, an influenza epidemic caused many of the Canadiens players to fall ill, including Hall. The series was cancelled on April 1. Four days later, on April 5, Joe Hall succumbed to his illness. He was the only member of the team that did not recover. In 1961, Hall was inducted posthumously into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Nicholas John Halpin was a successful druggist and optician. He arrived in Brandon in 1881 and was initially employed at Fleming’s drug store before establishing his own business in 1884. Halpin also served three terms as city alderman. He died of typhoid in 1903.
John Hanbury was born on June 12, 1855, in Markdale, Grey County, Ontario. In 1882 he married Martha Miles of Ospera, Ontario. Together they would have 8 children. John and his wife came to Brandon in 1882, where he began working as a builder/contractor and established a successful business. His company built, among other buildings, the P.O. Block, the Merchants Block, and the Langham Hotel. He continued with this business until 1892, when he started a new business manufacturing doors and windows. In 1898 he purchased the Assiniboine Lumber Company’s Brandon Mill, and their timber rights in Duck Mountain. He also began purchasing mills in B.C. In the same year, his wife Martha died. He would remarry, to a Miss Isbister. In 1901 John founded the Manitoba Hardware and Lumber Company, and as of 1905, employed about 200 people.
In 1911 he began to look west to the B.C. forestry industry. In 1916 he began selling equipment from his Brandon business, and in 1925 sold his Brandon real estate holdings altogether.
During his time in Brandon, John Hanbury was politically active. He was elected alderman in 1890, and ran, unsuccessfully, for mayor in 1902. He had also been a member of the Masonic Order, the Brandon Hospital Board, and the Brandon Board of Trade. Religiously, he was a member of the Episcopal Church.
Harwood, Oscar L.
Born in Woodstock, Ontario in 1881, Harwood moved to Brandon at the age of 17. Four years later, he opened an insurance and real estate office. Oscar was active in community affairs, being a member of the Board of Trade, the Manitoba Winter Fair, and the Brandon General Hospital. In 1937, he was appointed by the provincial government as Supervisor of the City of Brandon to oversee the financial affairs when the city defaulted on its bonds. Harwood enabled the city to get back to a sound financial position before he died in 1945.
The house at 342 13th Street was originally owned by F.G.A. Henderson, Brandon's first City Solicitor and Registrar of the Land Titles Office.
Henderson, Henry E.
Henry E. Henderson arrived in Brandon in 1883. It was not long before he established law firm Henderson & Matheson with partner R.M. Matheson. Henderson also served as city solicitor for twenty-nine years.
D.A. Hopper was among the earliest settlers in the Brandon and Rapid City area. In the 1880s, Hopper was living and working in Rapid City. He moved to Brandon in 1896 and set up practice as a private banker. Hopper served as president of the Brandon Machine Works Co., ran for city alderman, and attended St. Paul’s Church. He, his wife, and their five children were the original occupants of 354-12th Street. The Hopper family moved to Vancouver in 1908.
John Alexander Howey and his wife moved to Brandon in May of 1882 to join John’s cousin, William Burchill, as a partner in the butcher shop on Rosser Avenue. In 1902, he built the Yukon Block at 934 Rosser Avenue and established a haberdashery. In 1904, Howey built the first steam-heated house in Brandon, and drove one of the first “horseless carriages”, a McLaughlin automobile. Howey’s very full life ended in 1915 at the age of 54.