Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 143 years

Memorable Manitobans: James Blair Gowanlock (1853-1926)

Click to enlarge

James Blair Gowanlock
Click to enlarge


Born in Chatham Township, Argeneuil County, Quebec on 31 July 1853, son of Adam Gowanlock and Elizabeth Blair, his earliest education was received in a small country school near the post office of Chatboro. After attending the McGill Normal School, he taught school at Ormstown, Ontario from 1871 to 1874. He spent nine months at the Huntingdon Academy before entering McGill University in the Fall of 1876.

In 1879, he came to Manitoba and, after visiting Emerson and Portage la Prairie, he settled at a farm near the Cypress River. He and his brothers Adam and William brought lumber on a raft on the Assiniboine River to build their respective homes. On 8 January 1886, he married Phoebe Emily McAdoo (1859-1895) at Cypress River. They had three children: Mabel Edith Gowanlock (1886-?, wife of Joseph F. Woodsworth), Evelyn Muriel Maud “Eva” Gowanlock (1888-?), and James Nelson Gowanlock (1895-1953).

After his wife’s death, he married Ruth Isabella Brock (1857-1929) on 3 March 1899, at Winnipeg. He had an agricultural implement business at Cypress River until losing over $1,500 worth of stock in a fire on 3 April 1903 then carried on a loan, insurance, and general financial agency for several years. He also published the Western Prairie newspaper. He moved to Winnipeg and had a real estate, loan, and insurance business with offices in the McIntyre Block and later the McArthur Building. In December 1920, he was appointed a loan inspector in the Winnipeg branch of the Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation.

He died at his home in St. Vital on 1 January 1926 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.

See also:

MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Pioneer Brick Yard


Birth, marriage and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

1901 and 1911 Canada censes, Automated Genealogy.

“J. B. Gowanlock, old timer, passes away,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 January 1926, page 4.

“J. B. Gowanlock dies; lived 46 years in Man.,” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 January 1926, page 2.

Obituary, Manitoba Free Press, 4 January 1926, page 8.

We thank Macy Thiesen and Mary Woodsworth for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 May 2020

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.

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Send corrections and additions to this page
to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban | Firsts | Acknowledgements

Help us keep
history alive!

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations

© 1998-2022 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.