Memorable Manitobans: Charles William “Charlie” St. John (1874-1951)
Athlete, educator, lawyer.
Born in Ontario on 2 October 1874, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. B. St. John, and brother of Cecil Lorne St. John, he went on to become an avid sportsman, and was involved with athletics at Winnipeg since around 1886. He played lacrosse with the 90th team for over five years, during which he departed from the city to pursue legal studies. Upon his return, he resumed playing with the team before making the transition to soccer. He played organized soccer first at Neepawa, where he lived briefly while teaching at Acton School (1892-1893), and then returned to Winnipeg to Captain of the Wesley College team.
In 1898, he played on a powerhouse team for Calgary that swept games against east coast teams, before returning to Captain the Winnipeg YMCAs for two years, and later, Captain of the Winnipeg Shamrocks (?-1905), after which he retired from on-field amateur play. He became a prominent player in Western Canadian soccer, and went on to be President of the Manitoba Football Association (1907-1911). He was a delegate to the 1910 Conference of Amateur Athletics Union of Canada, held in Toronto.
He obtained a BA and went into the field of education, with a career that included role of Teaching-Principal of Melita School (1899) and Principal of Aberdeen School (1900-1903), the latter where he also coached the school soccer team. The team won the city school championship in 1902 and became known locally as “the wonder team,” with many of the players becoming well known within the city soccer league. Following his teaching tenure, he pursued legal studies and became a partner of the the firm of Laidlaw, St. John, and Earl. In 1911, he and his family left Winnipeg for British Columbia, where at Vancouver he entered into a partnership with ex-Winnipegger George McCrossan (son of Thomas McCrossan) and worked as a legal professional for many years.
On 23 August 1906, he married Rose Monro (1882-1952) at Winnipeg and they had two children: David Alexander St. John (1910-1997) and Claire St. John (1917-2003).
He died at Vancouver, British Columbia on 10 September 1951.
1901 & 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.
Marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Death registrations, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
“Personal,” Manitoba Morning Free Press, 4 September 1902, page 7.
“Winnipeg to loose prominent sportsman,” Manitoba Free Press, 22 March 1911, page 6.
“Winnipeg losing a sport leader,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 March 1911, page 7.
“In old days, pupils hunted rabbits after school,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1949, page 3.
“Former Aberdeen pupils to hold reunion Nov 20,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 November 1942, page 13.
Our First Century: Town of Melita and Municipality of Arthur, Melita-Arthur History Committee, 1983, Manitoba Legislative Library F5648.A78.
Henderson family tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 8 July 2022