Elizabeth Weekes and Peter Finlay MacEwen

Elizabeth Weekes
1876 - 11.18.1957

Spouse: Peter Finlay MacEwen
12.26.1875 - 8.17.1962

Marriage: 8.3.1904, Carleton Place

Grave: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Cobalt

James Weekes and Annie Smith
Peter McEwen and Catherine McDougall

Children: Kenneth Fullerton MacEwen MD

Golden Anniversary Article Aug. 12, 1954

Peter MacEwen

11101-04 Peter Finley McEWEN, 28, laborer, Beckwith, Smith Falls, s/o Peter McEWEN & Catherine McDOUGALL, married Elizabeth WEEKES, 28, Port Elmsley, Carleton Place, d/o James WEEKES & Annie SMITH, witn: James WEEKES & Nellie STEVENS, both of Carleton Place, 3 Aug 1904 at Carleton Place.

James and Annie had eleven or twelve children, who seem to have been an adventurous lot. Their firstborn, John, died at a young age in Montana. Their last child, William, spent many of his years in Saskatchewan. And several of the other children, including at least Alexander, Eva, Elizabeth and Charlotte lived in the area of Cobalt, Ontario during the mining boom years in that district.

Elizabeth was the first of the family to move to Cobalt. In 1904 she married Peter Finlay MacEwen and it appears that they moved to Cobalt straight away. In the book Temiskaming Treasure Trails (1904-1906) by Peter Fancy we read 'Pete McEwen's wife Elizabeth claims the title of Cobalt's first woman resident when she moves into a one-room log cabin at the north end of Cobalt Lake. "My first sight of the new town" she will later say, "was a bit fearsome, as I looked up that hill from the station platform and saw nothing but thick mud and ugly stumps. At the top was the timber store...and at the left the Bank of Commerce in a tent and all the rest seemed a jumble of stumps, tents and half-built shacks in the midst of a dark unfriendly forest of evergreen trees." '

Silver and other minerals had been discovered in Cobalt just months before, in August 1903 and the town was in the earliest stages of an explosion in activity and population. More than 10,000 people lived in Cobalt at its peak, with more added from nearby towns. Thirty-six million pounds of silver alone came out of the town. In its heady years royalty visited, the Montreal Canadians played the local team, an opera house was opened, a street car system was built, the first OPP detachment was established and great fortunes were made by some. Casa Loma was built with a portion of the money that one man, Henry Pellat, made in Cobalt.

While times were good for some, they were very difficult for others. Fires destroyed portions of the town and the region several times, killing many and leaving thousands more homeless. Disease also swept through. In 1909 there was a typhoid epidemic. In Peter Fancy's book covering the years 1907-1909 there is another quote from Elizabeth in which she describes how "each morning the dead were laid along the roadside waiting for removal"

A street in Cobalt, Ont. c.1910

In addition to being the first woman in Cobalt, Elizabeth became the town's first teacher. Peter owned a grocery store at the corner of Silver and Prospect Streets for many years and for at least part of that time Elizabeth's brother Alex worked in that business.

The families connected through the Weekes women also invested in mines in the area, though we don't yet know how they fared. They did well enough, it seems, to move to nearby Haileybury, from which the successful families in town commuted on the street car that joined the two towns.

Cobalt's mines are closed today and its population is just 1200 or so. It does remain, however, a town rich with both Canadian and family history.

Photo from the exhibit at the Cobalt Northern Ontario Mining Museum (Randy Weekes)

Perth Courier, August 19, 1904

Temiskaming Speaker - November 28, 1957

Kenneth MacEwen and Elaine Clarke

Dr. Kenneth Fullerton MacEwen - 1964
From a photograph of the Board of Directors of
Wellesley Hospital

Dr. Kenneth Fullerton MacEwen
3.18.1911 Cobalt - 11.18.2000 Ottawa

Spouse: Elaine Marne Clarke
10.1.1916 - 12.3.1994

Marriage: May 14, 1941

Grave: Beckwith United

Parents: Elizabeth Weekes and Peter MacEwen

Children: Peter