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Manitoba History No. 89

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Memorable Manitobans: Alexander Roff “Alex” Lillie (1831-1907)

Fur trader.

Born at Fifeshire, Scotland on 19 October 1831, he entered the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1854 and, on arrival at York Factory he was sent inland to Norway House, spending two years there before going to Fort Ellice in 1856. After a short time there, he was transferred to Lower Fort Garry (1856-1861) and instructed to establish an experimental farm. On 6 December 1860, he married Harriet McDermot (1842-1931), daughter of Andrew McDermot and Sarah Mary McNab, at St. John’s Cathedral. They had one child, Jessie Lillie (1861-1948, wife of Christopher Fortescue Forrest). In 1862, he was put in charge of the Saskatchewan District based at Carlton House. After two years working as a freeman in the partnership of McDermot, Bannatyne and Lillie (1863-1865), he went to Cumberland House (1865-1866) and from there moved to Fort Alexander (1866-1870) where he was in charge when the Wolseley Expedition passed through on its way to the Red River Settlement. Later postings included Lac Seul (1870-1872), Fort Frances (1872-1879), Rat Portage [now Kenora] (1879-1880), and Manitoba House (1880-1887). He retired in 1887 with the rank of Chief Factor. In retirement he moved to Lockport where he served as trustee and secretary-treasurer of the North St. Andrews School District. He died at Lockport on 20 August 1907 and was buried in the St. Andrew’s-on-the-Red Anglican Cemetery.


“In memoriam,” Selkirk Weekly Record, 30 August 1907, page 8.

Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Reminiscences of a pioneer,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 November 1907, page 14.

“Last surviving daughter of late famous pioneer dead,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 February 1931.

Burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

Biographical Sheets, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.

This page was prepared by Don Lowe and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 October 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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