Memorable Manitobans: John Higgins (1807-1884)
Merchant, municipal official.
Born at Sligo, Ireland in 1811, he immigrated to Quebec when he was 19 years old. He spent five years at St. Paul, Minnesota after which he began trading with military posts around Minnesota and Dakota Territory. This led him to come to the Red River Settlement where he operated a business from an ox car for nine years.
In 1865, he built a general store on Main Street in Winnipeg, initially in partnership with William H. Lyon. Around 1873, David Young joined the firm and, later, Samuel Jacob Jackson became its fourth partner. He was one of the founders of the Winnipeg Board of Trade, in 1873, and one of Winnipeg's first aldermen, elected in 1874. He retired from business in 1881 and devoted his time to the care of his residence and grounds in Point Douglas.
He married late in life to Catherine Jane Dahl (1850-1903, later wife of Richard La Touche Tupper) of St. Paul and they had four children: Elisabeth H. Higgins (1875-?), Arabella Higgins (1876-?, wife of ? Ross), Florence Violet Higgins (1880-?, wife of Alexander Edmund Ronald Strath-Gordon), and Robert F. Higgins (1882-?).
Higgins died at his Winnipeg home on 22 November 1884 and was buried in the St. John's Cathedral Cemetery. He is commemorated by Higgins Avenue.
Birth registration [Heber Archibald Ross], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census [Catherine Tupper], Automated Genealogy.
Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Death of John Higgins,” Winnipeg Daily Sun, 24 November 1884, page 4.
“A pioneer gone,” Manitoba Free Press, 24 November 1884, page 4.
Death registration [Catherine Jane Tupper], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Lyle Brennen for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 19 August 2022