Memorable Manitobans: James Maurice Leamy (1878-1933)
Born at Ontario to John C. and Margarethe Leamy, he worked for the Westinghouse Company of Buffalo (New York), which was involved in a potential power development at the Kakabeka Falls near Fort William (present-day Thunder Bay, Ontario). Following the death of Mr. Frenyear, the manager of the newly-formed Canadian branch of the Westinghouse Company, he accompanied Mrs. Frenyear from Buffalo to Fort William. By 1911, he was working for the City of Winnipeg Power Construction Department as an electrical engineer at the Pointe du Bois Generating Station.
He worked as an electrician for Albert E. Esling electrical supply (1913), sales manager for the Manitoba Electric Motor Car Company (1914), electrical engineer with Simon & Boddington (1916), before becoming the Provincial Electrical Engineer (1917-1919), Provincial Engineer of Mechanical Services (1919), Manitoba Power Commissioner (1919-1921, predecessor to Manitoba Hydro), and provincial representative to the Lignite Utilization Board of Canada (1918-1923). In August 1921, he resigned his duties with the Manitoba Power Commission on account of an audit into financial irregularities, for which the accountant, William Wilton Dart, was later convicted. In 1924, he returned to serve as a special consulting engineer to the Power Commission.
On 18 June 1913, he married Elizabeth Skinner “Bessie” McGillivray (c1883-?) at Winnipeg, with whom he had at least one child: John Leamy (b 1914). They resided at Suite 17, Lincoln Apts (1914), 17-792 Wolseley Avenue (1915), 8-28 Woodrow Place (1916), 371 Overdale Street (1921), and 141 Walnut Street (1924). In 1925, he and his family emigrated to the United States and, by 1930, had settled at Evanston, Illinois where he died on 31 March 1933.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
US Naturalization [Elizabeth Leamy], Family Search.
Death registration, Family Search.
“A sad death,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 December 1903, page 25.
Proceedings of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers - Associates Elected - 1911, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Digital Library.
1916 Census, Library and Archives of Canada.
“Electrical Act soon in force,” Manitoba Free Press, 13 April 1917, page 25.
“Will western coal make briquettes?,” Manitoba Free Press, 23 August 1918, page 1.
“Western coal briquettes to solve fuel problems,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 October 1918, page 11.
“Briquetting scheme ready by years end,” Manitoba Free Press, 27 March 1919, page 7.
“Tenders wanted,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 July 1919, page 11.
“Leamy is power commissioner,” Manitoba Free Press, 15 July 1919, page 10.
“Power chief resigns,” Manitoba Free Press, 30 August 1921, page 5.
“Suspended employee committed to trial,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 December 1921, page 16.
“Review of happenings in and around city in 1921,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 January 1922, page 3.
“Verdict of guilty found against Dart,” Manitoba Free Press, 14 February 1922, page 5.
“J. M. Leamy, former Manitoba power commissioner, warns of imminent danger,” Manitoba Free Press, 14 October 1924, page 1.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
1930 US Census, Family Search.
We thank Gordon Goldsborough for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 26 August 2021