Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Edmond Gelley (1830-1897)

Building contractor.

Born at St. Levis, Quebec in 1830, he came to Winnipeg from Quebec City in 1882, and worked as a building contractor. His firm, Gelley and Company, was responsible for the construction of several public and commercial blocks in the city, including the post office, courthouse, Government House, and the original Parliament Building (since replaced by the present Legislature Building). He lost considerable assets when the Winnipeg real estate market collapsed following the boom of the early 1880s, forcing him to take a position building the Canadian Pacific Railway through the mountains under Andrew Onderdonk. He later turned his attention to mining, developing mines in the northeastern portion of the Lake of the Woods area of Ontario. He had six children: Thomas Gelley, George Gelley, Lucy Marie Gelley, Emma Gelley (wife of Charles H. Royal), and two other daughters. He died at his home at Notre Dame de Lourdes on 22 November 1897.


Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Mr. J. E. Gelley dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 24 November 1897, page 3.

“Women’s musical club official, Mrs. Richard Driscoll, 86, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 September 1949. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 120]

This page is based, in part, on information provided by Sally G. Schultz, granddaughter of Thomas Gelley.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Sarah Ramsden.

Page revised: 24 February 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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