Memorable Manitobans: James Emile Pierre Prendergast (1858-1945)
MLA (1885-1886), MLA (1886-1888), MLA (1888-1890), MLA (1892-1895), MLA (1896-1899), judge.
Born in Quebec City on 22 March 1858, son of barrister James Pierre Prendergast and Emeline Gauvreau, he was educated at Laval University. He was called to the Quebec Bar and practised in that province. He came to Manitoba in 1882 and practised law in Winnipeg.
He served on the Manitoba Board of Education (1884-1890), the Council for the University of Manitoba (1895-1902), and the Senate for the University of Saskatchewan (1908-1910). He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature in an August 1885 by-election, and was re-elected in 1886, 1888, 1888, and 1892, serving as Provincial Secretary in the Greenway government. He resigned in 1890 over the Schools Question. He subsequently led the opposition to new school laws in the House and was elected Mayor of St. Boniface in 1893 and 1896. He was re-elected to the Legislature in the 1896 general election but served only a short term until his appointment to a judgeship.
He was a Judge of the County Court (1897-1903), Judge of the Surrogate Court of the North West Territories (1902-1907), Judge of the Surrogate Court of Saskatchewan (1907-1910), Judge of the Manitoba Court of King’s Bench (1910-1922). He was appointed Judge of the Court of Appeal (Manitoba) on the death of Mr. Justice Metcalfe in 1922. The University of Manitoba gave him an honorary doctorate in 1931. He was President of the Saint Jean Baptiste Society of Manitoba (1886 and 1910) and of Saskatchewan (1905 and 1909). He was a special commissioner to enquire into Dominion Government sales of school lands in Manitoba (1901) and one of the commissioners to consolidate Statutes of Saskatchewan (1908).
On 29 July 1886, he married Olivina Mondor (1867-?), with whom he had eleven children: Etiennette Prendergast (1888-?, wife of Joseph Henri Bourgoin), James Prendergast (1889-?), Josephine Marichette Prendergast (1890-1979, wife of Ernest Gagnon), Cécile Prendergast (1893-?), Alice Prendergast (1896-?), Antoinette Prendergast (1897-1981, wife of Simeon Tremblay), Jean Prendergast (1900-?), Pierre Prendergast (1902-?), Joseph Felix Albert Prendergast (1903-?), Francoise Prendergast (1905-2005, wife of Elmer Scott), and Marcelle Prendergast (1908-1968).
He died on 18 April 1945 and was buried in the St. Boniface Cathedral Cemetery.
1901 and 1911 Canada censuses, 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.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“Mme. Prendergast dies Friday night,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 December 1945. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9]
Obituary [Marcelle Prendergast], Winnipeg Free Press, 31 May 1968, page 13.
Obituary [Josephine Marichette Gagnon], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 August 1979, page 63.
Obituary [Antoinette Tremblay], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 August 1981, page 51.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituary [Francoise Scott], Winnipeg Free Press, 3 March 2005.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 October 2020