Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Bryson Baird (1859-1939)

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James Bryson Baird
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Merchant, cattle dealer, MLA (1908-1910), MLA (1911-1914), MLA (1914-1915), MLA (1916-1920), Speaker (1916-1922), MLA (1921-1922).

Born at Appleton, Ontario on 7 March 1859, son of John Baird and Christina Bryson, he was educated at the public schools. He came to Manitoba in 1880, and was elected the first Mayor of Pilot Mound, being re-elected by acclamation for three successive terms. He served as President of the Pilot Mound Board of Trade (2 years) and the School Board (8 years), and was Postmaster of Pilot Mound (1901-1907).

Defeated as a Liberal candidate for the Mountain constituency in an April 1905 provincial by-election, he was elected in the 1907 general election, and was re-elected in 1910, 1914, 1915, and 1920, but defeated in 1922. He was appointed Speaker of the Assembly, serving from 1915 to 1921 in the administration of Tobias Crawford Norris. He was an ardent advocate of woman's suffrage.

In March 1882, he married Margaret Louise Teskey (1857-1940), and they had six children: Nina Ethel Baird (1882-?), Clifford Robert Baird (1887-?), James Leroy Baird (1889-?), John Baird (1892-?), George Baird (1894-?), and Ellwood Baird (1896-?).

He died at his Pilot Mound home on 6 November 1939 and was buried in the Pilot Mound Old Cemetery.


Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

“Post office changes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 1 June 1907, page 3.

Obituary, Western Municipal News, November 1939, page 316.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

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

“Hon. James Baird is dead,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 November 1939. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9]

“James B. Baird, former Speaker of House, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 November 1939, page 2.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 December 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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