Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Hugh “Java” Gunn (1848-1933)

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John Hugh Gunn
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Farmer, municipal official.

Born in the Red River Settlement, at what would later become the Rural Municipality of Kildonan, on 15 September 1848, son of William Gunn (1819-1862) and Mary McBeth (1824-1900), he farmed and dabbled briefly in real estate around 1882.

He served as School Trustee for the West Kildonan School District, and was School Board Chairman from 1909 to 1912, and later became an alderman on the inaugural council of the Rural Municipality of West Kildonan (1914) and served again in 1915 and was Reeve in 1919. From 1905 to at least 1919 he served on the executive of the Agricultural Society of Kildonan and St. Paul’s which organized the annual regional fair complete with fairgrounds, sporting events and, of course, horticultural and agricultural displays, and was as the organizations President for seven years.

On 30 September 1890, he married Margaret Sutherland (c1851-1900), daughter of John Sutherland, and had three children: William Gordon Gunn (b 1892), Hugh Allen Gunn (b 1895), and Sedley Blanchard Gunn.

He died at the residence of his son Sedley at Reaburn on 21 February 1933 and was buried in the Old Kildonan Cemetery. He was commemorated with John H. Gunn School.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: John H. Gunn School (Kingsbury Avenue, Winnipeg)


Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1891, 1901, and 1911 Canada censes, Library and Archives Canada.

“Compulsory education,” Manitoba Free Press, 30 November 1909, page 7.

1921 Canada census, Ancestry.

“New schools for West Kildonan,” Manitoba Free Press, 4 November 1912, page 14.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

“West Kildonan to have labor majority on council,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 1919, page 2.

“I first saw,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 17 March 1924, page 4.

“Deaths and funerals [John Hugh Gunn],” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 February 1933, page 4.

Gunn family tree, Ancestry.

Municipality of West Kildonan Council History, 1914-1919, Miles Macdonnell Alumni Association.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer and Christian Cassidy.

Page revised: 6 January 2016

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