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Memorable Manitobans: William Cairns (1853-1949)

Click to enlargeAgricultural implements and lumber merchant, municipal official.

Born in Lambton County, Ontario on 12 September 1853, he came to Manitoba in 1878 and settled on a farm near Gladstone. He moved to Austin a few years later then, in 1883, moved to Macgregor where he opened a store and lumber yard.

He was married twice, first in 1875 to Jane Duncan (1852-1891) while whom he had two children, William Bertie Cairns (b 1882) and Jennie Maud Cairns (b 1884; Mrs. William Moore), and second in 1892 to Annie Baird (?-1942) of Portage la Prairie. They had three children: Bessie Marion Cairns (b 1893; Mrs. D. D. McLennan), Eva Lillian Cairns (b 1896; Mrs. H. I. Collins), and Janet Baird Cairns (b 1899; Mrs. H. Kilpatrick). He served as Reeve of the Rural Municipality of North Norfolk for eight years and a trustee of the local school district. He was a member of the United Church and superintendent of the Sunday School, and a Mason for 67 years.

He died at Macgregor, Manitoba on 18 July 1949 and was buried in the Macgregor Cemetery.


Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Oldest Mason, W. Cairns dies at Macgregor,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 July 1949, page 9.

“William Cairns,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 July 1949, page 6.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 21 April 2013

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