Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Holt Turnbull (1858-1943)

Manufacturer, athlete.

Born at St. John, New Brunswick on 25 April 1858, son of John Turnbull and Ann Farrar, he was educated in the public schools of St. John then he came to Manitoba in 1882, and started the sash and door manufacturing firm of Turnbull and McManus Limited. He also served as Director of the Northern Trust, Northern Mortgage Company, and Royal Canadian Securities, and President of the British Mortgage Company.

An active sportsman, he won the sculling championship of New Brunswick in 1880 and won a sculling race in Winnipeg in 1882. He won the double scull championship with A. C. L. Fox in 1887 and, with Fox, he held the double scull championship of Winnipeg and Minnesota Rowing Association. The same year he also won with Fox the double scull championship of Canada at Ottawa. He also stroked the Junior Four at Ottawa in 1887 and won the championship there. He won the doubles championship at Winatonka, Minnesota, with Fox, in 1889. He won the four-oared championship of America at Pullman, Illinois with a crew consisting of G. F. Galt (stroke), J. H. Turnbull (No. 2), A. C. L. Fox (No. 3), and Harry Garwood (bow). He continued rowing up to 1892. He was also prominent as a curler and bowler, winning many trophies and medals.

On 20 December 1887, he married Sarah Jackson (?-1941). They had four sons and three daughters. He was a member of the Manitoba Club, St. Charles Country Club, Canadian Club of Winnipeg, and Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 28 Edmonton Street, on 1 May 1943 and was buried in St. John’s Cemetery.


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

“J. H. Turnbull, early lumber man, dies at 85”, Winnipeg Tribune, 3 May 1943. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 131]

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 January 2014

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