Memorable Manitobans: James Henry Howden (1860-1938)
Lawyer, MLA (1903-1907), MLA (1908-1910), MLA (1911-1914).
Born at Milton, Peel County, Ontario on 11 October 1860, son of Robert Howden and Jane Reed, he was educated at Rockwood and St. Catharines. He came West and was articled in law to N. F. Hagel KC. In 1885, he served as Captain with the 90th Regiment in the North West Rebellion. He was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1887 and practised law in Winnipeg for five years then moved to Neepawa in 1892. He was Mayor of Neepawa for eight years, and made a King’s Counsel in 1908.
On 31 January 1894, he married Barbara Jane McIntosh (1869-1943, sister-in-law of James Russell McRae) of Neepawa, with whom he had seven children: Robert Reid Howden (1895-1916), James McIntosh Howden (1897-?), Norman Campbell Howden (1903-1930), William Alexander Howden (1905-1952), Mary Isabelle Howden (1907-?), Alice Jane Howden (1909-?), and George Albert Howden (1914-?). During the First World War, his eldest son served with the 43rd Battalion in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was killed at the Regina Trench, Somme.
He was elected to Manitoba Legislature for the constituency of Beautiful Plains in a 1903 by-election and in the general elections of 1907, 1910, and 1914. He held the portfolios of Railway Commissioner (1907-1908), Minister of Telephones and Telegraphs (1908-1915), Provincial Secretary (1908-1911), and Attorney-General (1911-1915). He did not stand for re-election in 1915.
He died suddenly at a family reunion at Wasagaming, on 16 July 1938 and was buried in Neepawa Riverside Cemetery.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 and 1911 Canada censes, Automated Genealogy.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“J. H. Howden, former cabinet minister, buried at Neepawa,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 July 1938, page 1.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Connor Mah for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 8 December 2020