Memorable Manitobans: Arthur Fenwick Higgins (1864-1954)
Born at St. John, New Brunswick on 24 July 1864, son of Alex R. Higgins, he spent his childhood at Annapolis, Nova Scotia. He came to Manitoba at the age of 17 and joined his father at Morris. He worked for four years working for Lawrie Brothers then took up a homestead claim at Waskada, Saskatchewan. He worked there for thre years then taught school for a year.
In 1888, he came to Roland as manager of a branch store for his former employers, the Lawrie Brothers, serving until 1892 when he went into partnership with Henry Webster in his own store, buying the Lawrie store and operating it as Higgins and Webster. In 1907 they bought the original Lawrie store at Morris, operating it until 1912 when Higgins bought out his partner and changed the name of the firm to A. F. Higgins Company, with an additional store at Carman (1920). He also served as a director of the Occidental Insurance Company of Wawanesa and the Occidental Trust Company of Wawanesa. In 1929, he sold out to Jewel Stores Limited and, in 1935, bought a store at Neepawa and named it the Fenwick department store. It was destroyed by fire on Christmas 1950. He made plans to rebuild and a new store opened a few months before his death.
On 15 July 1891, he married Jessie Ferguson McKenzie (1873-1941) of Guelph, Ontario. They had eight children: Henry S. “Harry” Higgins (1893-1955), Gertrude McKenzie Higgins (1895-1982, wife of Thorne William Shaw), Frank A. Higgins (1896-?), Edith Catherine Higgins (1898-?, wife of William Cecil McKinnon), Eleanor Higgins (1900-?), Reeda Higgins (1900-?), Thomas Kenneth Higgins (1903-?), and Jessie McKenzie Higgins (1910-?, wife of Douglas Joseph Tyson). He was a member of the IOOF, Canadian Order of Foresters, and Trinity Baptist Church, and he served on the Roland school board.
He died at Neepawa in 1954 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.
Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
“A. F. Higgins, 90, Neepawa merchant, dies Sunday,” Gladstone Age Press, 28 July 1954, page 1.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 30 July 1954, page 31.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 November 2021