Emily Gowan Ferguson was born in Cookstown, Ontario
March 14, 1868. As one of six children, young Emily learned to
share family chores equally with her male siblings, never
questioning that certain work would be considered
appropriate based on gender.
At the age of 19, she married Arthur Murphy, a young
minister whom she had known for four years. The two had four
daughters, only two of whom lived to adulthood. Murphy took
up the pen, becoming a best-selling author and journalist
under the pseudonym Janey Canuck.
When a diphtheria epidemic struck their community,
daughter Doris (aged seven) died and Arthur Murphy was left
in a weakened condition. On a doctor's suggestion, the
family moved to Swan River, Manitoba. A few years later the
family relocated to Edmonton, where Arthur Murphy left the
ministry and sold real estate for a short time. Emily often
accompanied him on his journeys around the countryside.
As the quicklinks excerpted from her book, Janey
Canuck in the West attest, Murphy fell in love with this
frontier city—its youthful bustle suited her temperament
well, and she soon became a key figure in Edmonton's leading