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MHS Centennial Business: James Richardson & Sons Limited / Pioneer Grain Company / Richardson Pioneer

Link to:
Chairmen | Presidents | Pioneer Grain / RIchardson Pioneer | Country Elevators | See Also | Sources

In 1857, James Richardson was 39 years old when he began devoting his full time to his Kingston, Ontario grain business, after 13 years running his own tailor shop. Many of his customers had been farmers who had paid with farm products and he found that he could sell them later for more money than the original price of the clothes. He was joined by sons David and George, and by 1880 the firm hired its first representative in Manitoba, Edward O’Reilly. Their first cargo of grain arrived by the Great Lakes in 1883, to be housed in Kingston’s first elevator, with a capacity of 60,000 bushels. O’Reilly was initially based at Portage la Prairie, but by 1896 had an office in the Winnipeg Grain & Produce Exchange on Princess Street.

James Richardson died in 1892, but his sons carried on the business, and George was the first member of the family to visit Manitoba. On George’s death in 1906, his sons James and George joined, and the centre of operations moved increasingly westward. In 1912 the business was incorporated as James Richardson & Sons and moved into the Winnipeg Grain Exchange Building on Lombard Avenue. Operations expanded rapidly during the First World War, and on one day in 1916 the grain office handled more grain than any previous year. By 1923 the Executive Office had been transferred from Kingston to Winnipeg, and Winnipeg became the Head Office in 1939.

While the business moved into new fields of investment, including radio, real estate, air transportation, and oil and gas, the family remained personally involved. James A. Richardson’s wife Muriel Richardson directed growth for 27 years after her husband’s death in 1939, and sons George T. Richardson and James A. Richardson continued the family involvement. Hartley T. Richardson is the present Chief Executive Officer. The Richardson Building holds a dominant place on the Winnipeg skyline, as the Richardson family does in Winnipeg life.

In January 2004, an MHS Centennial Business Award presented to James Richardson & Sons by the Manitoba Historical Society was accepted by Kathleen Richardson.

Chairmen

Period

Chairman

1966-1968

James Armstrong Richardson (1922-2004)

1968-1993

?

1993-2000

George Taylor Richardson (1924-2014)

2000-2021

Carolyn A. Richardson Hursh

2021-present

Hartley Thorbjorn Richardson

Presidents

Period

President

1857-1892

James Richardson (1819-1892)

1892-1906

George Algernon Richardson (1853-1906)

1906-1918

Henry Westman Richardson (1855-1918)

1919-1939

James Armstrong Richardson (1885-1939)

1939-1966

Muriel Sprague Richardson (1891-1973)

1966-1993

George Taylor Richardson (1924-2014)

1993-present

Hartley Thorbjorn Richardson

Vice-Presidents

Period

Vice-President

?-1954

John Burdette Richardson (1900-1954)

1954-?

?

?-?

Norman James Alexander (1914-2004)

1977-?

Frederick M. Fulcher

1971-1977

Roderick Oliver Alexander “Rod” Hunter (1915-2001)

1982-1997

John Keith Knox

1977-?

K. Bruce MacMillan (1924-2014)

1977-?

R. Ross Smith (1930-2008)

Pioneer Grain Company / Richardson Pioneer

Arising from a 1913 reorganization of the parent firm, the Pioneer Grain Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Richardson International. It operated country elevators around Manitoba and, through the years, it acquired additional elevators from other firms, including Thorson-Olson (1921), Goose Lake Grain & Lumber Company (1923), Saskatchewan & Western Elevator (1931), Reliance Grain Company (1948), Western Grain Company (1951), Independent Grain Company (1953), Weyburn Flour Mills (1964), and Inter-Ocean Grain Company (1972). It later operated under the name of Richardson Pioneer.

Chairmen

Period

Chairman

1964-1969

William McGillivray Rait (c1891-1973)

1969-1988

?

1988-?

K. Bruce MacMillan (1924-2014)

Presidents

Period

President

?-1938

James Armstrong Richardson (1885-1939)

1938-1964

William McGillivray Rait (c1891-1973)

1964-1965

Stanley D. MacEachern

1965-1973

John D. “Jack” MacDonald

1973-1988

K. Bruce MacMillan (1924-2014)

1988-1995

Douglas R. Larson

1995-?

Curtis R. “Curt” Vossen

Vice-Presidents

Period

Vice-President

?-1954

John Burdette Richardson (1900-1954)

1954-?

?

?-1979

James Arthur “Art” Tooth (1924-2007)

1979-1988

Otto Lang

General Managers

Period

General Manager

1922-1964

William McGillivray Rait (c1891-1973)

1965-1973

John D. “Jack” MacDonald

1973-?

K. Bruce MacMillan (1924-2014)

Country Elevators (Manitoba)

Location

Rail

Opened

Closed

Capacity
(bushels)

Comments

Brandon

?

1973

-

?

Bought from Manitoba Pool (1973), renovated (1973), new elevator next to it (1981)

Cardale

?

1981

1981

?

 

Carey 1

CPR

1951

2013

33,000

Built by Western Elevator Company (1903), sold to Pioneer Grain (1951), new elevator (1981), demolished (October 2014)

Carey 2

CPR

 

 

 

Built by Victoria Elevator Company (1914), sold to Manitoba Pool (1928), sold to Pioneer Grain (1971), used for storage until demolition (?)

Cartwright

CPR

1918

1918

5,000

 

Clanwilliam 1

CNR

1972

1977

53,000

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972)

Clanwilliam 2

CNR

1972

1977

82,000

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972)

Dauphin

CNR

2007

-

?

Bought from Agricore United (2007), demolished and replaced by concrete silos (2015)

Dundonald

?

2007

-

?

 

Dutton Siding

CNR

1985

1998

?

New elevator (1985-1986), traded to UGG (1998)

Elphinstone

CNR

1972

1978

71,000

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972), closed (1978)

Glossop 1

CPR

1951

1983

63,000

Built by Spencer Grain (1929), sold to Western Elevator Company (1929), sold to Pioneer Grain (1951), demolished (January 1989)

Glossop 2

CPR

1979

2007

?

Built at Elphinstone by Inter-Ocean Grain (1956), sold to Pioneer Grain and moved to Glossop (1972), renovated (1987), sold to Parrish & Heimbecker (2007-2008)

Kenville

CNR

1918

1988

134,000

Two balloon annexes (?), demolished (1988)

Kenville West

CNR

1959

2013

 

New annex built at Hyas, Saskatchewan (1959), moved to this site and renovated into elevator (1987), demolished (2014)

Killarney

?

2007

2007

?

 

Melita

CPR

1923

1926

6,000

 

Miami

CNR

1918

1921

86,000

 

Minnedosa

?

2007

-

?

 

Mollard

?

1998

-

?

 

Morden

CPR

1972

1979

86,000

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972)

Nesbitt

?

2006

2006

?

 

Shoal Lake

?

2007

-

?

 

Starbuck

?

2007

-

?

 

Strathclair

CPR

1951

1969

45,000

Built by Western Grain (1929), sold to UGG (1969)

Swan River

CNR

1919

1996

?

 

Swan River Valley

CNR

1982

-

?

New elevator (1982)

Waskada

CPR

1924

1924

35,000

 

Winkler

CPR

1930

1945

10,000

 

Winkler

CPR

1972

1990

?

Bought from Inter-Ocean Grain (1972)

See Also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Lombard Building / Wheat Pool Building (373 Main Street, Winnipeg)

Sources:

“Richardson V-Ps named,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 June 1977, page 16.

“Lang quits post at Pioneer Grain,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1988, page 31.

Grain: The Entrepreneurs by Charles W. Anderson, Winnipeg: Watson & Dwyer, 1991.

“James Richardson & Sons, Limited,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 June 1995, page 28.

“City’s first family celebrates,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 June 2007, page 26.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Judith Hudson Beattie.

Page revised: 11 October 2021

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