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MHS Centennial Business: James Richardson & Sons Limited / Pioneer Grain Company / Richardson International

Link to:
Chairmen | Presidents | Pioneer Grain | Grain Elevators | See Also | Sources

In 1857, James Richardson was 39 years old when he began devoting his full time to his Kingston, Ontario grain business, after 13 years running his own tailor shop. Many of his customers had been farmers who had paid with farm products and he found that he could sell them later for more money than the original price of the clothes. He was joined by sons David and George, and by 1880 the firm hired its first representative in Manitoba, Edward O’Reilly. Their first cargo of grain arrived by the Great Lakes in 1883, to be housed in Kingston’s first elevator, with a capacity of 60,000 bushels. O’Reilly was initially based at Portage la Prairie, but by 1896 had an office in the Winnipeg Grain & Produce Exchange on Princess Street.

James Richardson died in 1892, but his sons carried on the business, and George was the first member of the family to visit Manitoba. On George’s death in 1906, his sons James and George joined, and the centre of operations moved increasingly westward. In 1912 the business was incorporated as James Richardson & Sons and moved into the Winnipeg Grain Exchange Building on Lombard Avenue. Operations expanded rapidly during the First World War, and on one day in 1916 the grain office handled more grain than any previous year. By 1923 the Executive Office had been transferred from Kingston to Winnipeg, and Winnipeg became the Head Office in 1939.

While the business moved into new fields of investment, including radio, real estate, air transportation, and oil and gas, the family remained personally involved. James A. Richardson’s wife Muriel Richardson directed growth for 27 years after her husband’s death in 1939, and sons George T. Richardson and James A. Richardson continued the family involvement. Hartley T. Richardson is the present Chief Executive Officer. The Richardson Building holds a dominant place on the Winnipeg skyline, as the Richardson family does in Winnipeg life.

In January 2004, an MHS Centennial Business Award presented to James Richardson & Sons by the Manitoba Historical Society was accepted by Kathleen Richardson.

Chairmen

Period

Chairman

1966-1968

James Armstrong Richardson (1922-2004)

1968-1993

?

1993-2000

George Taylor Richardson (1924-2014)

2000-present

Carolyn A. Richardson Hursh

Presidents

Period

President

1857-1892

James Richardson (1819-1892)

1892-1906

George Algernon Richardson (1853-1906)

1906-1918

Henry Westman Richardson (1855-1918)

1919-1939

James Armstrong Richardson (1885-1939)

1939-1966

Muriel Sprague Richardson (1891-1973)

1966-1993

George Taylor Richardson (1924-2014)

1993-present

Hartley Thorbjorn Richardson


Pioneer Grain Company / Richardson Pioneer

Arising from a 1913 reorganization of the parent firm, the Pioneer Grain Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Richardson International. It operated country elevators around Manitoba and, through the years, it acquired additional elevators from other firms, including Thorson-Olson (1921), Goose Lake Grain & Lumber Company (1923), Saskatchewan & Western Elevator (1931), Reliance Grain Company (1948), Western Grain Company (1952), Independent Grain Company (1953), Weyburn Flour Mills (1964), and Inter-Ocean Grain Company (1972). It later operated under the name of Richardson Pioneer.

Chairmen

Period

Chairman

1964-1969

William McGillivray Rait (c1891-1973)

1969-1988

?

1988-?

K. Bruce MacMillan (1924-2014)

Presidents

Period

President

1938-1964

William McGillivray Rait (c1891-1973)

1964-1965

Stanley D. MacEachern

1965-1973

John D. “Jack” MacDonald

1973-1988

K. Bruce MacMillan (1924-2014)

1988-?

Douglas L. Larson

?-1996

?

1996-?

Curt Vossen

General Managers

Period

General Manager

1922-1964

William McGillivray Rait (c1891-1973)

Country Grain Elevators (Manitoba)

Location

Rail

Built

1972 Capacity
(bushels)

Comments

Carey

CPR

?

33,000

Demolished (October 2014)

Clanwilliam 1

CNR

?

135,000

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972)

Clanwilliam 2

CNR

?

?

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972)

Dutton Siding

CNR

?

-

Traded to UGG (1995)

Elphinstone

CNR

?

?

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972), closed (1978)

Glossop

CPR

?

63,000

Sold to Parrish & Heimbecker (2007-2008)

Kenville

CNR

?

134,000

Two balloon annexes (?)

Morden

CPR

?

?

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972)

Neepawa

CNR

1890

?

 

Strathclair

CPR

?

?

Sold to UGG (1969)

Swan River

CNR

?

157,000

 

Winkler

CPR

?

?

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972)

See Also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Lombard Building / Wheat Pool Building (373 Main Street, Winnipeg)

Sources:

Grain: The Entrepreneurs by Charles W. Anderson, Winnipeg: Watson & Dwyer, 1991.

“City’s first family celebrates,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 June 2007, page 26.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Judith Hudson Beattie.

Page revised: 21 April 2017

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