Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Thomas Cairns (1863-1919)


Born in Plympton Township, Ontario on 7 October 1863, son of John Cairns and Jane Lang, he quit school at the age of 14 to work in his brother’s general store. He became a partner in the business in 1885, then quit it in 1890 and established his own store in Kent County the following year. From there he went to Varna (1893) then moved to Kelloe in 1903 where he opened a general store.

On 18 June 1886, he married Annie Murray at Camlachie, Ontario. They had eleven children: Laura Cairns (wife of John T. Newsham), Bertha Cairns (wife of W. W. Wilson), John Harold Cairns, Clara Cairns, Jane Cairns, Gordon M. Cairns, Thomas K. Cairns, Charles E. Cairns, Robert C. Cairns, Delta Cairns, and Grace Cairns. He served as the postmaster of Kelloe from 1904 to 1918. He was a member of the Knights of the Maccabees and the Kelloe Presbyterian Church.

He died at Shoal Lake on 2 January 1919.


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

Post Offices and Postmasters, Library and Archives Canada.

We thank Anna Arrol for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 6 June 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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