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Memorable Manitobans: Robert Mills Simpson (1864-1945)

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Robert Mills Simpson
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Physician and surgeon.

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Robert Mills Simpson
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Born at Carleton Place, Ontario on 16 October 1864, son of Robert Simpson and Francis A. “Fanny” Cathcart, brother of Harvey Cathcart Simpson and James Cathcart Simpson, brother-in-law of William Blackwood, he was educated at Carleton Place (Ontario), then after coming to Winnipeg 1883, at the University of Manitoba and the Manitoba Medical College, graduating from the latter in 1888. The next year, he practised medicine at Great Falls (Montana) and St. Paul (Minnesota) then went to England and studied in the hospitals there. He became Chief Surgeon to the Hudson’s Bay Company and Surgeon to the Canadian Northern Railway.

He served as President of the Conservative Association of Winnipeg for eight years, President of the America Public Association in 1911, President of the Manitoba Board of Health, a Member of the University of Manitoba Council for two years, Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics at the University of Manitoba, Professor of Principles and Practices of Medicine, Professor of Clinical Medicine, and Professor of Clinical Gynaecology at the University of Manitoba.

He joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CAMC), 1915; (Lieutenant), promoted Colonel in 1918; Appointed Chief Surgeon, No. 1 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples, France; returned to Canada in 1916, A.D.M.S., Camp Hughes; returned to France and was attached D.D.M.S., later appointed O.C., No. 1, Canadian General Hospital, Etaples; Assistant A.D.M.S. of First Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force; A.D.M.S., 2nd Division; finally, D.D.M.S, Canadian Corps (France).

In 1920, he married Monica Doreen (1894-1936) and they had one son. He was a founding member, in 1905, of the St. Charles Country Club, and also a member of the Manitoba Club, Carleton Club, and Adanac Club.

He moved to Ottawa, Ontario in December 1944 where he died on 2 February 1945. He was buried in the St. James Cemetery.


The Canadian Album: Men of Canada or Success by Example, Vol. III, Bradley, Garretson & Company, Brantford, Ontario, 1894.

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.

A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

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]

“Critical roadbuilding of 1914 an orgy of fraud and theft,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 February 1917, page 1.

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

“Dr. R. M. Simpson dies in Ottawa,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 February 1945, page 4.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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