Memorable Manitobans: John Taylor (1834-1925)
Born at St. Paul’s Parish, son of James Taylor, an Orkneyman, chief fisherman of the Hudson’s Bay Company and of his wife Mary Inkster. He was educated at Parish Schools of St. Paul’s at College under Bishop Anderson. In the year of the high water, 1852, he went to teach a Mission school at Oxford House at a salary of thirty pounds a year. He later taught at Norway House. In 1855, he was appointed by Bishop Anderson to the charge of the Parish School at Headingley. He bought his first land in 1856, a six-chain lot fronting on the Assiniboine River at Headingley. His neighbor here was Deholmme Sayer, son of William Sayer, the historic leader of the free trade riot in the settlement in 1845.
After serving on the Convention of Forty (1870), representing Headingly, Taylor was elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1874 and again in 1878. He was taken into the cabinet of John Norquay as Minister of Agriculture but was defeated in the 1879 general election. One of his early opponents was Donald Smith (Lord Strathcona). He was a school trustee for thirty years; secretary-treasurer of the school he taught in as a lad. He was a candidate in the 1891 federal general election, being defeated by Arthur Wellington Ross.
He was married twice, first in 1855 to Flora Campbell (?-1872, daughter of an HBC Factor) and they had eight children, three of whom survived him. A few years later, he married Frances Jane Brown (1854-1925, daughter of William Brown and Charlotte Omand) and they had 14 children, 12 of whom survived them.
He died at his home in Headingley on 3 March 1925 and was buried in the Holy Trinity Anglican Cemetery. He is commemorated by John Taylor Collegiate in Winnipeg and a commemorative monument in Headingley.
Death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Red River days grow dimmer in pioneer's death,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 March 1925, page 1.
“Pioneer woman of west dies at Headingly home,” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 May 1925, page 6.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 25 April 2023