Memorable Manitobans: Herbert Irving Stevenson (1878-1943)
Born at Richibucto, New Brunswick on 17 July 1878, son of John Stevenson and Mary Ann Irving, he enlisted as a private in the Royal Canadian Dragoons and served in the Boer War in South Africa, earning the Queen’s medal with five clasps. On his return he worked as a naval architect at Baltimore, Maryland then came to western Canada in 1903, first working on a farm west of Brandon then managing the Brandon Laundry, later working for the Hanbury Lumber Company in lumbering operations in the Duck Mountains. In 1912, he began working for the Dominion Forestry Service and devoted the rest of his life to forestry.
During the First World War, he went overseas in command of the First Canadian Mounted Rifles, transferring to the Fort Garry Horse. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and two bars for distinguished conduct in the field. On his return to Canada he resumed his forestry duties and eventually rose to be director of the department in Manitoba. When the federal government transferred natural resources to the province in 1930 he was appointed provincial director, a post he occupied until retirement in June 1942. He was soon brought out of retirement by the government and anticipated carrying on to the end of the Second World War. His replacement by James Godfrey Somers was necessitated by his death.
On 18 September 1909, he married Mary Berenice Donaldson (1881-1969, daughter of Joseph Donaldson) at Brandon and they had six children: Mary Marjory Stevenson (1910-?), Ralph Louis Stevenson (1911-1912), Florence Elizabeth Stevenson (1912-2000, wife of Victor Reginald Stammers), Herbert Irving “Irv” Stevenson (1916-1986), John Donaldson “Kit” Stevenson (?-?), and Josephine Donaldson Stevenson (?-?). He was a member of the AF & AM (Assiniboine Lodge) and Scientific Club of Winnipeg. He was a Director of the Dominion Envelope and Cartons Limited.
He died at Winnipeg on 1 September 1943 and was buried in the Brandon Cemetery.
Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Attestation Papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
“Col. H. I. Stevenson succumbs suddenly,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 September 1943. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 137]
Obituary [Herbert Irving Stevenson], Winnipeg Free Press, 6 August 1986, page 44.
Obituary [Florence Elizabeth Stammers], Winnipeg Free Press, 20 May 2000.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Christopher Stevenson for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 12 December 2020