Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Stewart (1826-1911)

Hudson’s Bay Company employee.

Born in the Orkney Islands in 1826, he married the daughter of Robert McKay, a Selkirk settler, in 1856, the ceremony being performed in Kildonan Presbyterian Church by the Reverend Dr. John Black. They had three sons.

He came to Rupert’s Land in 1851 and was employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company. For a year he was stationed at York Factory and in 1852 was put in charge of the expedition sent with provisions for Dr. Rae’s party which was searching for traces of the Franklin expedition. In 1855 he came to the Company’s store at Fort Garry and served until 1863, when he became a teacher. He headed the party which freed Reverend Griffith Owen Corbett in 1863. At the time of the Riel uprising of 1869 he was in the employ of Dr. John Christian Schultz and was taken and held prisoner for some three months. He later purchased Dr. Schultz’s drug store and operated it until 1888. He served as the first Registrar of the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association (1878-1882). He also was government meteorologist, recording weather and rainfall. He later went into partnership with his son, Robert Stewart, to establish the newspaper The Selkirk Record in 1885. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society. In 1900 he and his wife Robina McKay went to live with their son, Alexander Stewart, in Prince Albert, North West Territories [now Saskatchewan], and for some years he served as police magistrate there.

Stewart died at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on 4 January 1911. He is commemorated by Stewart Street in Winnipeg.


“Real old-timer passes away,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 January 1911, page 4.

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 September 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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