Fonds F0673 - Edgar Dewdney fonds

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Edgar Dewdney fonds


  • 1861-1926, predominant 1861-1903 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

88 cm of textual records

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Edgar Dewdney, 1835-1916, was born in Devonshire, England, and educated as a civil engineer. He came to British Columbia in 1859. He married twice: to Jane Shaw Moir, 1842-1906, in 1864 and to Blanche Elizabeth Plantagenet Kemeys-Tynte, 1853-1936, in 1909. There were no children from either marriage. He surveyed and built the Dewdney Trail, completed in 1865. His brother Walter, 1837-1892, followed Edgar to British Columbia. Walter had a son, Edgar Edwin Lawrence "Ted" Dewdney, 1880-1952, whose son was Peter Dewdney, 1917-2008.

Edgar Dewdney was elected to the British Columbia Legislative Council in 1869, and to the Canadian Parliament as Conservative member for Yale in 1872, 1874 and 1878. He was Indian Commissioner and Lieutenant-Governor for the North-West Territories, 1879-1888 and 1881-1888 respectively. During this period he carried on regular correspondence with Sir John A. Macdonald regarding current affairs and, in particular, the 1885 Riel Rebellion (North West Rebellion). He was elected to Parliament as member for Assiniboia East in 1888 and 1891, and served as Minister of the Interior, 1888-1892. From 1892-1897 he was Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. He then retired to become a mining broker in Victoria, where he died. I

n 1975 the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated Dewdney as a National Historic Person. For further information see the MA thesis, "Edgar Dewdney, Commissioner of Indian Affairs and Lieutenant Governor of North-West Territories" / by Jean B.D. Larmour.- Regina : University of Saskatchewan, 1969. See also E. Brian Titley's entry "Edgar Dewdney" in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, volume XIV. -- Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1998, p. 295-298; The Frontier World of Edgar Dewdney / Brian Titley. -- Vancouver : University of British Columbia Press, 1999; and "The Honourable Edgar Dewdney, 1881-1888" in On Behalf of the Crown : Lieutenant Governors of the North West Territories and Alberta, 1869-2005 / Sandra E. Perry and Karen L. Powell. -- Edmonton : Legislative Assembly of Alberta, 2006, p. 249-269.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Purchased from Peter Dewdney, 1966.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of correspondence, reports, appointments, newspaper clippings, etc., pertaining to the Dewdney Trail and his early career in British Columbia; correspondence, speeches, diaries (1879, 1882-1883, 1885-1886, 1888), reports and newspaper clippings related to his duties as Lieutenant-Governor and Indian Commissioner of the North-West Territories; appointments and correspondence as Minister of the Interior; some correspondence as Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia; and a series of personal correspondence of Blanche Dewdney (1914-1926).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Use of originals is restricted due to fragile condition.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

    Script of material

      Language and script notes

      The material is in English.

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      Allied materials area

      Existence and location of originals

      Existence and location of copies

      Related units of description

      Other Dewdney papers are held by Library and Archives Canada, and the Nelson Museum Archives. A microfilm copy of the NAC material is available at Glenbow. There are also original Dewdney documents in the Peter O'Reilly fonds at the Provincial Archives of British Columbia.

      Notes area


      Title based on contents of records.


      Two telegrams from file 67 (pages 1429-1430) have been photographed. The negative number is NA 4488.


      The National Archives material is found on microfilm AC Dewdney - NAC.



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      Dates of creation revision deletion

      Monday, March 21, 2016




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