Memorable Manitobans: John Burkill Ashby (1850-1937)
Born at Cotes, Leicestershire, England on 15 January 1850 [or 1851], son of John Ashby (?-?) and Elizabeth Ann Burkill (?-?), he was educated at Milton College at Rugby, England. In 1880, he immigrated to Canada and married Edith Wright (c1858-1900) of Toronto on 13 June 1881. Early on, he took up farming in Manitoba and homesteaded at SE & SW 32-6-10W where was also Secretary of the Lorne Agricultural Society and Assessor for Rural Municipality of Lorne.
Following Normal School training at the Central School No. 1 at Winnipeg, he was appointed Assistant-Principal (?-1893) of the Battleford Indian Industrial School. During his time at Battleford, Saskatchewan, he served with the Battleford Rifles and attained the rank of Captain. He was next promoted to lead of the Rupert’s Land Indian Industrial School at Middlechurch, in the Rural Municipality of St. Paul. He served as Principal from early October [or early September, sources vary] 1893 until September 1896, during the start of which the school was transitioned from its previous operation by the Anglican Church to being run by the federal government and being renamed the St. Paul’s Industrial School. In 1896, he was promoted to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British Columbia and left for Victoria in October of that year.
During his time in Manitoba, he was noted as being a member of the Manitoba Cricket Association, AF & AM, IOOF, and IOF.
He died at Salmon Arm, British Columbia on 2 January 1937 and was buried locally in the Mount Ida Cemetery.
1901 & 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.
Death registrations [Edith Ashby & John Burkill Ashby], British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Western Land Grants, Library and Archives Canada.
“Electoral Division Agricultural Societies,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 13 July 1883, page 2.
“An important change,” Manitoba Morning Free Press, 19 August 1893, page 3.
“Rupert's Land Indian School,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 26 October 1893, page 2.
The Canadian Album: Men of Canada or Success by Example, Vol. III, Bradley, Garretson & Company, Brantford, Ontario, 1894.
“Well known cricketer leaving,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 16 September 1896, page 5.
“City and country [Mr. J. B. Ashby ...],” Manitoba Morning Free Press, 17 September 1896, page 8.
Obituary [Mrs. J. B. Ashby], Manitoba Morning Free Press, 6 November 1900, page 6.
Mount Ida Cemetery burial transcriptions, FindAGrave.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 3 February 2023