Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Forsyth (1837-1918)

Farmer, MLA (1894-1895).

Born in Durham County, England on 17 May 1837, he came to Canada in 1858 and settled on a homestead in Upper Canada [now Ontario]. In 1864, he married Anne Featherston (1837-1909) at a church in Lowville and they subsequently had five children: William Joseph Forsyth (1867-1948), George Forsyth (1871-?), John Wesley Forsyth (?-?), Frederick Forsyth (1876-?), and Annie Jane Forsyth (1879-1952, wife of Charles Moses Whelpton). In 1876, he was licensed as an itinerant preacher and conducted local Methodist services. The family moved to Manitoba in 1882.

At first, he worked as an engineer in a flour mill at Minnedosa. Later, he took up a homestead in the Rural Municipality of Odanah, later serving as its Reeve (1888-1889). He moved to the Rural Municipality of Langford to a farm in the vicinity of Gordon School. He served as a municipal councillor (1891-1894) and, during this period, became active in provincial politics as Grand Vice-President of the Patrons of Industry. Elected to a seat in the Manitoba Legislature at a by-election in August 1894, replacing John Andrew Davidson whose election in 1892 had been voided, he sat for the remainder of the term. He was chiefly noted for his skill as an orator. He did not seek re-election in 1896, working instead on behalf of Patrons candidate William Flowers Sirett.

He died on 3 December 1918 and was buried in the Neepawa Cemetery.

See also:

Patrons of Industry in Manitoba, 1890-1898 by Brian R. McCutcheon
MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 22, 1965-1966 Season


1881 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Death of Mrs. John Forsyth,” Neepawa Press, 16 July 1909.

Marriage registration [Annie J. Forsyth, Charles M. Whelpton], Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“The passing of John Forsyth,” Neepawa Press, 13 December 1918.

Death registration [William Joseph Forsyth], Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“William J. Forsyth, pioneer salesman, dies in St. Vital,” Winnipeg Tribune, 28 October 1948, page 27.

Death registration [Annie Jane Whelpton], British Columbia Vital Statistics.

“The Forsyth Saga” in Heritage: A History of the Town of Neepawa and District as told and recorded by its people by Neepawa History Book Committee, 1983, pages 479-481.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 11 February 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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