“Lady Farmer” Isobel “Jack” May is one of those people.
When Isabel “Jack” May moved to Sedgewick, Alberta in 1911, she was already known around the world as the “Lady Farmer.” She came to Canada with Louisa Wittrick, and although it was never confirmed, the two were believed to be partners. They bought adjacent “ready-made” farms in Sedgewick, with Jack doing what was considered the traditional men’s work in the field, while Louisa tended to stick to the more domestic realm. Jack was written about widely and celebrated as “an example of what the twentieth century woman can accomplish alone and unassisted.”
Jack’s clothing really caught people off guard. While the vast majority of women in 1911 were wearing dresses and corsets, Jack was regularly seen in “male attire,” including trousers or leggings, high tan boots and a short skirt.
Jack wouldn’t last long in Canada though, staying for just over a year. She was reported to have left for either England or Australia without Mrs. Wittrick – who would marry David Moore in 1914. They would also leave Canada in 1922.
Although first built in Strathmore, the Nightingale Colony House at Heritage Park is similar to the home May and Wittrick would have lived in during their time in Sedgewick.