Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Wells Robson (1867-1941)

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James Wells Robson
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Farmer, MLA (1903-1907), MLA (1908-1910).

Born at Calcutta, India on 1 March 1867, son of William Robson MD, he was educated at George Watson’s College for Boys (Edinburgh), the law office of Simpson & Lawson, and, after coming to Canada in 1886, the Guelph Agricultural College. He farmed near Macdonald then, in 1900, he moved to Benito, in the Swan River Valley, where he served as the first Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Swan River (1902). He was first elected to Manitoba Legislature, representing the Swan River constituency, at the 1903 general election, defeating A. J. Cotton. He was re-elected in 1907 but was defeated in the 1910 general election by Daniel D. McDonald, whereupon he moved to Pelly, Saskatchewan. There he helped to found the United Grain Growers. On 16 March 1892, he married Jane Balmer (1864-?) of Ridgetown, Ontario at Portage la Prairie. They had five children: Helen May Alberta Robson (1895-?), Muriel Margaret Robson (1896-?), Ruth Eleanor Cairns Robson (1898-?), Marion Bell Robson (1900-?), and William Robson (1904-?). He was a member of the Presbyterian Church and the Conservative Party. He died at Pelly, Saskatchewan on 28 January 1941 and was buried there.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Robson School No. 1163 (Municipality of Swan Valley West)


Birth and marriage 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.

“J. W. Robson,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 February 1941, page 4.

Lasting Impressions: Historical Sketches of Swan River Valley by Swan Valley Historical Society, 1984.

We thank Helen Gillespie for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 24 September 2018

Memorable Manitobans

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