Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Johnson (1855-1929)

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James Johnson
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Farmer and grain dealer, municipal official, MLA (1897-1899), MLA (1900-1903), MLA (1903-1907), Speaker (1904-1915), MLA (1908-1910), MLA (1911-1914), MLA (1914-1915).

Born at Mitchell, Ontario on 18 November 1855, son of John and Martha Johnson, he was educated the Mitchell public school then he farmed in Fullerton Township, Perth Company, Ontario from 1877 to 1882. At this point, he came to Manitoba and took up farming near Boissevain. He was also President of the Boissevain Land Company.

In 1879, he married Susannah Olver (1855-1932) of Mitchell, Ontario. They had three sons: Edwin Thomas Johnson (1880-1968), John Bainbridge Johnson (1884-?), and Albert Olver Johnson (1891-?). He was a member of the Masons. He served as councillor and Reeve (1887-1888) of the Rural Municipality of Riverside, councillor and Reeve (1897) of the Rural Municipality of Morton, and councillor of Boissevain. Elected to the Manitoba Legislature in a November 1897 by-election, he was re-elected in 1899, 1903, 1907, 1910, and 1914. He was a member of Hugh John Macdonald’s short-lived provincial government, serving as Speaker from 1903 until the defeat of the Roblin government in 1915.

He died from complications of the flu at Boissevain on 6 February 1929 and was buried in the Boissevain Cemetery.


1901 Canada census, 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.

A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

“James Johnson dies of flu at Boissevain,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 February 1929, page 10.

Funeral notice, Manitoba Free Press, 8 February 1929, page 4.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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