Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Johnson (1852-1914)

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Thomas Johnson
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Salesman, sportsman.

Born at Manchester, England on 7 April 1852, he emigrated to Canada in 1871 and took a job as a travelling salesman based at Toronto, Ontario. He eventually arrived in Manitoba and sold supplies to the builders of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1881 he went to work for the Blue Ribbon Limited owned by G. F. Galt and J. Galt, eventually becoming its Manager before his retirement in 1910. Said to be the first travelling salesman in western Canada, he was a founding member and President of the North West Commercial Travelers Association, holding membership certificate number 1.

In 1871, he married Elizabeth Jackson (?-?) in England. Their only son, Alfred, died at the age of 18. He was an avid gardener and dog breeder at his home along the Assiniboine River, and he wrote articles for the Sporting Press, Town Topics, and other papers. He had a lavish hunting lodge near Lake Manitoba and is commemorated by Johnson Lake within Delta Marsh.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 3 Academy Road, on 7 January 1914 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.

Sources:

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Field Trial Record of Dogs in America by J. M. Taylor and N. J. Rutherford, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Nicholson Printing Company, 1907.

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

Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Thomas Johnson, old-timer, dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 8 January 1914, page 2.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 January 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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