Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Kelly (1855-1939)

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Thomas Kelly
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Building contractor.

Born in County Roscommon, Ireland on 7 August 1855, he emigrated to the United States in 1864 and was educated in Oneida County, New York. He commenced business in Winnipeg as a contractor in 1881 as a partner in the firm of Kelly Brothers, with his brothers Michael Kelly and Martin Kelly.

In 1908, he formed the firm of Thomas Kelly & Sons and was later connected with a scandal relating to the construction of the Legislative Building for which he was sentenced to two and a half years in Stony Mountain Penitentiary but was released after nine months due to ill health. He then moved successively to Kansas, Missouri, and California.

In 1882, he married Mary Margaret Corbett (1860-1955) of Toronto, Ontario. They had seven children: Robert Emmet Kelly (1884-1915, husband of Bessie O. Noden), Charles Bernard Kelly (1886-1920, husband of Cecilia Rochon), Thomas Harry Kelly (1888-1912), Laurence Corbett Kelly (1889-1965), Maurice Vincent Kelly (1895-1970), Francis O'Donohue Kelly (1897-1928), and Mary Cecilia Kathleen Kelly (1898-1918). He was a member of the St. Charles Country Club and Carleton Club.

He retired to Beverly Hills, California in 1924 and died there on 15 March 1939.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Kelly House (88 Adelaide Street, Winnipeg)

Manitoba Business: Kelly Brothers


Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

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.

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

The Leading Financial, Business & Professional Men of Winnipeg, published by Edwin McCormick, Photographs by T. J. Leatherdale, Compiled and printed by Stone Limited, c1913. [copy available at the Archives of Manitoba]

“Thomas Kelly, of parliament bldg. fame, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 March 1939, page 3.

“$25,000 estate left by Kelly,” Winnipeg Tribune, 23 March 1939, page 3.

We thank David Ennis and Michael Loader for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 24 July 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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