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Memorable Manitobans: Robert Dorrell Hales (1859-1929)

Brick manufacturer.

Born at East Kent, England on 6 November 1859, son of Thomas Hales and Anne Hodge, he was educated at public school until the age of 12, when he began a twelve-year period of employment in local brickyards. He emigrated to Canada in 1885 with his wife Elizabeth Caroline Jordan (1862-1929) and son William Edward Hales. After about a year spent working in an Ontario stone quarry, he moved to Manitoba in February 1887. He worked in a brickyard at St. Boniface for a year then went to Lake Deboed where he managed a brickworks for another year.

He moved to Rapid City and purchased the local brickworks, also becoming a builder, being responsible for many of the brick buildings within a radius of forty miles. He started purchasing farm land in 1899 and, by the early 20th century, had amassed land holdings of some 2,200 acres in township 13 of range 19. He also raised livestock, including Clydesdale horses, cattle, and hogs. He and his family later moved to Winnipeg. Around 1926, he moved to Edrans to become Superintendent of the brick works operated there owned by his firm, the National Clay Products Company.

He served as a councillor for the Rural Municipality of Saskatchewan for eight years and was President of the Rapid City Agricultural Society. He was a member of the Masons, IOOF, and Methodist Church. An active curler, he was an Honorary Life Member of the Deer Lodge Curling Club.

He died at Edrans on 29 May 1929 and was buried in the Brookside Cemetery.

See also:

MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Edrans-Brandon Pressed Brick Company


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

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

“New company to operate clay deposits at Edrans,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 June 1924, page 12.

Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Funeral of R. D. Hales, held Saturday, largely attended,” Manitoba Free Press, 3 June 1929, page 7.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 May 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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