Memorable Manitobans: Hugh Amos Robson (1871-1945)
Lawyer, judge, MLA (1927-1932).
Born at Barrow-in-Furness, England on 9 September 1871, son of Robert and Jane Robson, he came to Canada in 1882. He was a law student at Regina, NWT in 1885 and was an eyewitness at the trial of Louis Riel in 1885. He practised law in the North West Territories before joining the law firm of James Aikins in Winnipeg, in 1899. He served as a Bencher for the Law Society of Manitoba from 1918 to 1925.
In 1897, he married Fannie Laidlaw, with whom he had six children: Jean Robson (b 1898), Isabel Robson (b 1902), Hugh Laidlaw Robson (b 1904), Kathleen Madge Sarah Robson (b 1906), Gertrude Frances Robson (b 1906), and Norman Robson (b 1912).
He was appointed as a judge in the Court of King’s Bench in 1909, but resigned to take up the chair of the public utilities commission for the province (1911 to 1914), introducing public hydroelectric power. He was replaced in the position by P. A. Macdonald. Robson was chosen Liberal leader in 1927 and elected to the Manitoba Legislature. He was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 1930 and served until 1943. He served as President of the St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg from 1935 to 1937. He was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Manitoba in 1914.
With J. B. Hugg he co-authored several important law texts, including Cases on Municipal Law (1915 and 1920).
He is commemorated by Robson Hall at the Fort Garry campus of the University of Manitoba.
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 registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1916 Canada census, Ancestry.
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]
We thank Elizabeth Vaitkus for providing additional information used here.
This profile was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Profile revised: 18 May 2013
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