Memorable Manitobans: John McKechnie (1844-1918)
Born at Loch Lomond, Scotland on 14 August 1844, the son of Stephen and Margaret McKechnie. His parents came to Canada and settled in Paris, Ontario in 1854. He was apprenticed as a wheelwright. He came to Winnipeg in 1872 and was employed in a sawmill owned by W. J. McCauley, later in Joseph Lemay’s flour mill. By 1874 he had opened the first foundry in the west, which expanded and was organized into the Vulcan Iron Works, of which he was President.
In 1874, he married Catherine MacGregor (1850-1932) of Glengarry County and they had four daughters: Jennie Evelyn McKechnie (b 1879, wife of Herbert H. Goulter), Margaret Ethel McKechnie (b 1881, wife of Claude Isbister, mother of Claude M. Isbister and John M. Isbister), Catherine McKechnie (b 1884), and Mary Florence McKechnie (b 1886, wife of Wallace McLandress).
From 1895 to 1911 he was a member and Chairman of the Winnipeg School Board and, for some years, he served as Treasurer and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. He was a member of the Board of Managers for Knox Church. He was also a member of the St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg, Granite Curling Club, and Carleton Club.
He died at Minneapolis, Minnesota on 30 May 1918 while returning from a period of convalescence in California. His body was returned to Winnipeg for burial in Elmwood Cemetery. In 1946, a fund in his memory was established by his eldest daughter at the Winnipeg Foundation.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
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.
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]
“John M’Kechnie died yesterday,” Manitoba Free Press, 31 May 1918, page 1.
“McKechnie funeral Sunday,” Manitoba Free Press, 1 June 1918, page 6.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Minute Book No. 2 (1943-1955), 5 September 1946, page 301, Winnipeg Foundation.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 2 October 2015
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