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Memorable Manitobans: James C. Kavanagh (1850-1923)


Born in Ontario on 9 March 1850, he was appointed Brandon’s first postmaster in August 1881. He was dismissed from the position in December 1900 for allegedly “offensive partisanship,” apparently with the approval of Clifford Sifton. He moved to Winnipeg in mid-1902, purchased the Leland Hotel from William D. Douglas, and operated it until 1904 when he sold the business to Eli Joel Rochon.

He and wife Nellie Leahy (?-?) had six children: Brary Kavanagh (1885-?), Edward Kavanagh (1888-?), Joseph Gregory Kavanagh (1890-?), Stanley Kavanagh (1893-?), Kathleen Kavanagh (1894-?), and Doreen Kavanagh (1896-?). In 1885, he served as a Brandon city alderman. The family moved to Victoria, British Columbia in early 1907.

He is thought to have died in 1923.


Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Local notes,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 August 1902, page 5.

“Personals,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 December 1906, page 12.

Post offices and postmasters, Library and Archives Canada.

Brandon’s Politics and Politicians by W. Leland Clark, 1981, page 16.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 October 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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