Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Nesbitt Kirchhoffer (1848-1914)

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John Nesbitt Kirchhoffer
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Lawyer, businessman, MLA (1886-1888), Senator.

Born in Ballyvourney, County Cork, Ireland on 5 May 1848, son of the Reverend Richard Kirchhoffer and Isabella Fairtough, he was educated at Marlborough College, Wiltshire, England. He came to Canada in 1864 and studied law in his uncle’s office. He took part in the Fenian raid in 1866, becoming Captain in the Port Hope (46th) Battalion. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1871, practising in Port Hope.

In 1883 he moved to Manitoba. He founded the Plum Creek settlement and the town of Souris. He was Reeve of Rural Municipality of Glenwood from 1883 to 1886, and later Mayor of Souris. He served as Chairman of the Western Judicial District Board, President of the Glenwood Agricultural Society, and of the Agricultural Society of Brandon. He practised law in Brandon and was elected member from Brandon West in the Legislature of Manitoba in the 1886 general election, being defeated by Herbert Clement Graham in the 1888 general election.

He was married twice, first on 15 June 1870 to Ada Matilda Smith (1852-1874) with whom he had a daughter, Aileen Sheila Kirchhoffer (1871-?). On 12 October 1875, he married Clara Louisa Howard (1846-1933) at Guelph, Ontario and they had three daughters: Mary Ada Kirchhoffer (1878-c1889), Kathleen Kirchhoffer (1881-1958), and Ella Frances Kirchhoffer (1886-1886).

He was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 1892 where he served until his death on 22 December 1914. He was buried in the Brandon Cemetery.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Oakland Commemorative Monument (Nesbitt, Municipality of Oakland-Wawanesa)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Kirchhoffer Lodge / The Chimney (Delta Marsh, RM of Portage la Prairie)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Kirchhoffer Block / Empress Court (1102 Rosser Avenue, Brandon)


A Political Manual of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories by J. P. Robertson, Winnipeg: Call Printing Company, 1887.

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 April 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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