Image of the City of Regina

Craig, Regina Mary "Polly" Rowell

Farmer, Homemaker, First Baby Born to Regina Settlers

Regina Mary Rowell Craig made history without even trying. On December 13, 1882, she became the first settler child born in what is now Regina. The birth of the first settler baby was a momentous occasion for the new town and the town of Regina honoured the baby Regina with a generous gift that would prove to be less generous than it appeared.

Thomas Rowell and his wife came from Durham County, England, to take up the offer of free land that the government of Canada was offering to homesteaders. They named their daughter Regina in honour of their new hometown - after all, she was the first baby born to settlers in the area. The town also recognized the importance of Regina's birth and honoured her by presenting Regina with "Deed No. 1, Regina" on April 11, 1883. Young Regina received Lot 23 in Block 282, somewhere in the vicinity of 11th Avenue and Smith Street.

This generous gesture on the part of the town's trustees was short-lived, however. Typically, if a town granted land to a minor, the town would waive property taxes until the minor reached the age of 21. However, this procedure was not followed in the case of Regina's gift to Regina Rowell and the property was soon seized by the town for non-payment of property taxes, then sold. Understandably, Regina Rowell was not impressed by the town's actions in the matter and her "birthday gift" from Regina remained a sore spot for many years. The only benefit Regina Rowell ever received from the gift was that the deed served as proof of age when she put in a claim for an old-age pension.

Regina Rowell's family began their farming careers on a homestead near Earl Grey, then moved to Qu'Appelle in 1899 because of a lack of water on the Earl Grey property. Regina married Henry Craig, a farmer and Massey-Harris dealer. In 1909 Henry and his brother-in-law George Webster moved further west to Fiske to homestead and open a Massey-Harris dealership and Regina joined them in 1910. The Craigs lived there until 1927, when they sold the land and moved to the west coast. The land deal fell through and the Craigs eventually moved back to Fiske, where they lived until 1935.

Henry and Regina Craig had 2 sons, Lorne and Beryl Garnet "Bud" Craig. Regina's husband Henry died in 1934. Regina herself died in 1965.

Regina Mary Rowell was honoured in a more permanent fashion by the City of Regina by having a street, Rowell Crescent in northwest Regina, named after her.