Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Washington Breakey (1865-1952)

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James Washington Breakey
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Financial agent, civil servant, MLA (1914-1915), MLA (1916-1920), MLA (1923-1927), MLA (1927-1932), MLA (1933-1936), MLA (1937-1940), MLA (1941-1945).

Born at Port Hope, Ontario on 25 December 1865, son of James Breakey and Susan McCormac, he came to Manitoba in the early 1880s. In 1894, he became Secretary of the Rural Municipality of Glenwood, a position he held for 40 years. When the Town of Souris was incorporated in late 1903, he became its first Secretary-Treasurer. He was also a Director of the Northwestern Life Assurance Company.

On 18 January 1892, he married Jessie Hopkins (1874-1952, daughter of James Hopkins of Souris) and they had a son, James Washington Breakey (1907-1981). He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in 1914, winning Glenwood for the Liberal Party. He served seven terms, including 1915 and 1922, losing only at the 1920 general election, by four votes. He was re-elected again in 1927, 1932, 1936, and 1941, and served as parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party from 1930 to 1931. He retired from politics in 1945, at age 79.

He died at Souris on 28 February 1952 and was buried in the Glenwood Cemetery.


The Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1925.

“Long-time dean of MLAs dies at 86,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 February 1952. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10]

“W. J. Breakey, Souris pioneer resident died last night,” Brandon Sun, 29 February 1952, page 10.

Obituary [James Washington Breakey], Winnipeg Free Press, 21 November 1981, page 62.

We thank Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 15 April 2022

Memorable Manitobans

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