Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Cathcart Simpson (1852-1930)

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James Cathcart Simpson
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Farmer, stock and grain dealer, MLA (1900-1903), lumberman.

Born at Carlton Place, Ontario on 3 March 1852, son of Robert Simpson and Francis A. “Fanny” Cathcart, brother of Harvey Cathcart Simpson and Robert Mills Simpson, brother-in-law of William Blackwood, he came to Manitoba in 1875 over the Dawson Trail. He returned to Ontario but came back to Manitoba in 1877, bringing with him a number of horses. He was allegedly the first person to ship a load of buffalo hides to eastern Canada.

He began farming at Marquette with his father, later moving to Virden where he farmed and raised cattle and horses. He also engaged in railway construction and built a grain elevator at Virden. He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature at the 1899 general election, defeating incumbent William James Kennedy, and served a single term. He had a seat on the Winnipeg Grain Exchange for a time. He moved to Niverville where he bought the Mays farm of 3,000 acres, later selling the property to James Richardson of Winnipeg. He then went into the lumber business at Minaki, Ontario, later opening another lumber operation at Riverton, under the name of Simpson and Thorvaldson. Two years before his death, Simpson disposed of his lumber properties.

He died unmarried at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 3 May 1930 and was buried in the St. James Cemetery.


Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“James C. Simpson dies in hospital,” Manitoba Free Press, 5 May 1930.

“Jas. C. Simpson, early Manitoba pioneer, passes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 May 1930, page 7.

Obituary, Winnipeg Tribune, 5 May 1930, page 20.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 January 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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