E. Cora Hind: A Biography
In this website you will learn about Cora Hind's life, achievments, in life and in death, and little known facts on this inspirational entrepueneur.
E..Cora Hind is a legend in her own. She has accomplished many things in her life such as a renowned position in journalism, lecturing, agriculture, and supporting the rights of women.
E.Cora Hind's full name is "Ella Cora Hind." She was born in Toronto on September 18,1861. She was the youngest child of three. She had two brothers named Joseph and George. When she was two her mother Jane Carol Hind died. Then her father Edwin Hind died when she was five.
Her father's family came from Derbyshire, England and settled near Toronto in 1840. He became a stone mason. Some of his work is in St. James Cathedral in Montreal and Osgoode Hall in Toronto.
Her mother's family also came from England and settled in Nova Scotia. They later moved to York County near Toronto.
After her mother died she and her brothers went to live with her grandfather Joseph Hind on his farm in Grey County, Ontario. He took them because their father was always away working. In fact he died in Chicago from cholera while working in 1866.
Cora and her grandfather were very close. He taught her about farming, horses and cattle. All tools that would assist her in the future. They lived much like other homesteaders, living off the land from livestock and grain. As with most farmers the weather varied and some years were better than others.
Cora did not start school until she was eleven because the only school was several miles away. Her Aunt Alice taught her at home until 1872 when they built a school on her grandfather's land. Her family then moved to Flesherton, Ontario where she attended the rest of her primary education. She completed high school in Orillia, Ontario and lived with her Uncle George Hind. That is where she wrote her third class teachers examination in 1882 at the age of twenty.
As it was with most educated women of the time the only jobs available were in teaching. While Cora was waiting for the results of her teacher's examination her cousins Jean and Jacques came on a surprise visit from out west. They told great stories of the opportunities and fortunes awaiting them. Her Aunt Alice upon hearing these stories said, " I'm going out to see for myself what chances there are to build a new life, I'm tired of this humdrum existence! There's no future for me here. So I'm going west." Cora, who had just turned 21, pleaded to go with her. Her cousins told her that teachers were needed in Manitoba.
In 1881 the population of Winnipeg was 7000. When Cora and her aunt arrived in 1882 the population had doubled to 14 000. They had planned on going to Brandon Manitoba but heard it was still primitive and decided to stay in Winnipeg. Winnipeg at that time was a busy place. The streets turned to mud when it rained and the sidewalks were made of wood. The city looked very messy due to the recent building boom since the Canadian Pacific Railway decided to build its main line through Winnipeg.
Aunt Alice found a room for her and Cora in the Dundee Block on mainstreet. From that room Aunt Alice ran a dressmaking shop to earn enough to live on.
A few weeks after they arrived, Cora received a letter saying that she had failed her teacher's exam. Her aunt begged her to study for it again, since the only part she had failed was algebra. But Cora had dreams of becoming a journalist. One of her Uncle George's friends, W.F. Luxton, was the editor of the Manitoba Free Press. With a letter of reference written by her uncle she applied for a job. He told her that a newspaper office was no place for a woman who was totally inexperienced. A few months later she wrote an article and sent it to Luxton who accepted it, but did not give her credit as the author.
While still trying to decide on a career she heard that new jobs were available as typists. A storeowner in town had typewriters for sale. She rented one for a month to see if she could learn to type. She taught herself how to type by the end of the month. When she returned the typewriter to the store the manager told her that a legal firm had just bought one and needed someone to operate it. Cora was given a job for six dollars a week. She worked there until 1893, when she opened her own business as a stenographer or typewriter. She became the first public typewriter in Manitoba.
During that time Cora and her aunt became active in The Women's Christian Temperance Union. As with any boomtown alcohol was a problem. With so many railroad workers with nothing to do but spend money drinking they even had a wagon driver picking up drunk workers so they wouldn't freeze to death. Some of these men would beat their wives, which Cora detested. She also thought women should have the right to vote. So with Dr. Amelia Yeomans the leader of both causes they formed the Manitoba Equal Suffrage Club. The motto of this association was "Peace on earth, good will towards men." Politicians, clergymen, and businessmen found themselves compelled to help them improve conditions in the city. Dr. Yeomans and Cora Hind worked to improve the lives of women and the poor. They spoke out against working conditions in clothing factories, and living conditions in the prisons. She was also a founding member of The Winnipeg Chapter of the Canadian Women's Press Club.
Being brought up on a farm Cora was interested in farming. With the arrival of the railroad more and more grain was produced every year, making Winnipeg the grain trade center of the west. Cora became a regular reporter and the commercial and agricultural editor of the Manitoba free press after the appointment of J.W. Dafoe as the editor of the paper. Cora became very well known for her accurate analysis of crop yields, livestock breeding, food production, and marketing. She did all her own field research.
Cora Hinds interest in agriculture was as strong as her dedication to social reform. With Lillian Beynon Thomas and Nellie McClung in 1912 they formed the Political Equality League, which campaigned for women's voting rights, which were granted in 1916.
Cora Hind received many honors. The Western Canada Livestock Union, The Wool Grower's of Manitoba, and The Canadian Society of Technical Agriculturists all honored her for her contributions to agriculture. In 1935 The University of Manitoba presented her with an honorary LLD degree. In 1942 the year of Cora Hind's death, The United Grain Growers created the Cora Hind Fellowship for research in agriculture. And the Free Press created the Cora Hind Scholarship in home economics.
Cora Hind will be remembered as a tireless advocate for women. Looking back on her life's work Cora wrote: "The usual statement is that I am a remarkable woman because I can do it; the implication is that the average woman is too dumb to succeed at a man's task-and I resent that implication, for it is false."
E. Cora Hind
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Contributers to Canadian Life and Society
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