Memorable Manitobans: Jeffry Hall Brock (1850-1915)
Born at Guelph, Ontario on 6 January 1850, son of Thomas Reese and Eleanor Brock, he received his elementary education at Guelph and his more advanced studies at the high school of McGill College, Montreal. He was employed in a book and stationery store in Guelph, then as an apprentice with a dry goods firm in Georgetown, Ontario, and later as a salesman in St. Louis, Missouri. From 1869 to 1872 he was business representative for R. G. Dunn & Company at Troy, New York, and from 1872 to 1877 was with Ogilvie & Company, a dry goods firm. When he came to Winnipeg in 1877, the firm of W. R. Brock & Brother was formed. Later he entered into partnership with George Frederick Carruthers and James McIntosh Johnston in a financial and insurance business.
In 1893 Brock was appointed one of the liquidators of the Manitoba Commercial Bank, and a member of the Provincial Board of Health. He was a director of the Northern Trusts Company, and the Northern Mortgage Company, and a promoter of the Winnipeg Mining and Developing Company. He supported the formation of the Red River Valley Railroad. In 1892 he founded the Great-West Life Assurance Company in Winnipeg, the first insurance company west of Toronto, and he was Managing Director until his death in 1915.
On 6 September 1876, he married Louisa Adelaide Clara Gillespie (1856-?), eldest daughter of Rev. John Gillespie. They had eight children: Irene Beatrice Brock (1879-1955, wife of Robert Benjamin McElheran), Geoffrey R. Brock (1881-?), Frederick F. Brock (1882-?), Eustache Alexander Brock, Gladys Louisa Brock (1889-?), Ernest Reginald Brock (1891-?, son-in-law of Edward Francis Head), Dorothy Irma Brock (1896-?), and Cecil G. Brock (1897-?). An Anglican, he served as delegate to the Synod and a warden and active supporter of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Winnipeg. He was a founding member of the St. Charles Country Club, in 1905, and was also a member of the Manitoba Club.
Brock died at Long Beach, California on 27 March 1915 and was returned to Winnipeg for burial in St. John’s Cemetery.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
The Leading Financial, Business & Professional Men of Winnipeg, published by Edwin McCormick, Photographs by T. J. Leatherdale, Compiled and printed by Stone Limited, c1913. [copy available at the Archives of Manitoba]
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
“Leading citizen dies in south,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 March 1915.
“Widow of Canon dies at 76 years,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 October 1955.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 1 June 2023