Memorable Manitobans: John Leonard [Leamond] “Jack” Hyland (1876-1964)
Railroad and lumber contractor, entrepeneur.
Born in the United States in January 1876 to Irish parents, he and his brother Daniel (a former customs collector at Baudette/Rainy River in the late 1890s) operated lumber camps and maintained almost 1,000 acres of timber lands in Minnesota under the name of Hyland Brothers. He lived at Beaudette, Minnesota in 1901 and worked as a railway contractor, including for the construction of the Canadian Northern Railway Bridge (1901) at Rainy River, Ontario. In December 1902, he acquired sole ownership of the firm’s assets via a receivership sale, and that same month relocated his operations to Winnipeg. He entered the urban and rural real estate markets, along with ventures into local lumber, fuel, real estate, and railway logistics under the name of the J. L. Hyland & Company. His business contracts included lumber transport contracts from the Canadian Pacific Railway, and by 1909, he formally expanded his interests to the transport industry, and was President and General Manager of the Hyland Navigation & Trading Company.
The firm established a presence on the Red River at the foot of Lusted Avenue in Winnipeg and his private amusement park, Hyland Park, in East St. Paul. He commissioned the steamboats Bonnitoba and Winnitoba and acquired thousands of acres of river-front property between Winnipeg and Lake Winnipeg. Following the ruin of both steamships and onset of the First World War, attendance and revenue began falling off and business grew dire. Creditors from which he had borrowed heavily came calling. For the next year, he mortgaged extensively in hopes of a turnaround that failed to materialize. Between 1914 and 1915, his company was involved in a series of lawsuits, including a sizable one filed against it by William John Christie. In 1915, he submitted no response to the filings and automatic judgements were made against him, among which was one for Christie for over $275,000. The resulting lawsuits claimed everything. Soon after, he moved to New York City where he reportedly managed a small shop. At some time between when he left Winnipeg and 1933, he invented a lifeboat capable of being deployed and launched by a single person within 30 seconds, from either side of a stricken vessel (including with a list of up to 45 degrees). By 1939, the invention was allegedly given sea trials by the Royal Navy, though its adoption and implementation is unknown.
He was married twice at Winnipeg, first to educator Mary Birdie [Bryde] A. Roundy (c1880s-?, daughter of Thomas Roundy) at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on 25 June 1901. They had a child then, in February 1904, were divorced at St. Paul, Minnesota on account of spousal cruelty. She was granted sole custody of the child. He remarried at Winnipeg, in 1905, to Genevieve “Jennie” Myles (1883-?) with whom he had a daughter Leonore Marguerite Myles Hyland (1906-?).
He died at the Roosevelt Hospital in New York City on 16 May 1964.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
1911 Canada censes, Library and Archives Canada.
“Down from Rainy Lake,” Saint Paul Globe, 28 January 1896, page 2.
“Local news notes [Daniel Hyland, Rainy Lake],” Saint Paul Globe, 22 April 1896, page 4.
“They feared sandstorm,” Star Tribune [Minneapolis], 5 July 1900, page 8.
“Lake Spike driven,” Warren Sheaf [Warren, Minnesota], 22 November 1900, page 1.
“From Quebec to Winnipeg,” Ottawa Journal, 4 January 1901, page 5.
“Keep up the fight,” Minneapolis Journal, 10 June 1901, page 1.
“[Leland Hotel,” Manitoba Free Press, 17 June 1901, page 3.
“Hyland - Roundy,” Manitoba Free Press, 26 June 1901, page 3.
“Official proceedings,” Bemidji Pioneer [Minnesota], 15 August 1901, page 5.
“Town Notes [Daniel Hyland, Port Hyland],” Bemidji Pioneer [Minnesota], 15 August 1901, page 7.
“Judge favors prohibition,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 February 1902, page 3.
“Roosevelt, Minn,” Minneapolis Journal, 10 December 1902, page 17.
“Notice of receiver's sale,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 December 1902, page 4.
“J. L. Hyland’s big buy,” Manitoba Free Press, 17 December 1902, page 5.
“[Advertisement] J. L. Hyland & Co.” Manitoba Free Press, 28 January 1903, page 15.
“Fergus Falls, Minn [Daniel Hyland],” Minneapolis Journal, 11 June 1903, page 13.
“Court frees young wife from husband,” Saint Paul Globe, 20 February 1904, page 2.
“Warroad,” Manitoba Free Press, 20 December 1904, page 9.
“[Advertisement] J. L. Hyland & Co.” Manitoba Free Press, 18 February 1905, page 23.
“Hates to give up his job,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 June 1906, page 1.
“I’m making an investment,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 March 1911, page 9.
“Red River to be surveyed to line,” Manitoba Free Press, 19 July 1912, page 9.
“[Photo caption; J. L. Hyland of New York],” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12 February 1933, page 54.
“‘Fool proof’ lifeboat,” Decatur Herald [Decatur, Illinois], 22 September 1936, page 16.
“Presenting the wide world in picture,” The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 25 September 1936, page 7.
Obituary, Daily News [New York], 19 May 1964, page 137.
“John L. Hyland,” Daily News [New York], 19 May 1964, page 29.
Winnipeg civil files (ATG 0012A), #1987/1914 - John L. Hyland vs Cusson Lumber Company Limited, GR0275, Archives of Manitoba.
Winnipeg civil files (ATG 0012A), #810/1914 - John L. Hyland vs Canadian Northern Railway Company, GR0274, Archives of Manitoba.
Winnipeg civil files (ATG 0012A), #1800/15 - Hyland Navigation Company Limited vs William John Christie, GR0275, Archives of Manitoba.
Winnipeg Court of Queen's Bench Judgement roll pockets (ATG 0011), #441/1915, Great West Life Assurance Company vs. John L. Hyland, GR0763, Archives of Manitoba.
Winnipeg Court of Queen's Bench Judgement roll pockets (ATG 0011), #605/1915, John L. Hyland vs. John Galloway, GR0763, Archives of Manitoba.
Winnipeg Court of Queen's Bench Judgement roll pockets (ATG 0011), #673/1916, William John Christie vs. Hyland Navigation & Trading Company et al, GR0763, Archives of Manitoba.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
1920 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.
1925 New York State Census, Ancestry.
Page revised: 24 February 2019
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