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Memorable Manitobans: James Spencer Lynch (1841-1894)

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James Spencer Lynch
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Physician, MP (1871-1872).

Born near London, Canada West (now Ontario), brother of Walter Lynch, he graduated in medicine from the University of Toronto. He moved to the Red River in 1868. A fervent Canadian annexationist, he was a member of the party captured by Louis Riel at John Schultz’s house in December 1869 and was the last prisoner released in February, at which point he left the settlement. Lynch was in Ontario in April 1870 to be part of the various rallies protesting the “murder” of Thomas Scott, and he testified that month before a Senate committee on affairs at Red River. In the March 1871 by-election where Manitoba’s first Members of Parliament were elected, he tied with Angus McKay at 282 votes, the House dissolving before the tie could be resolved. He lost the 1872 federal general election in Marquette to Robert Cunningham.

He left politics and in 1872 became a staff member at the newly founded Winnipeg General Hospital. He testified before a parliamentary inquiry in 1874 that the Red River Rebellion of 1869-1870 had been a plot by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1877 he was first President of the new College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. He served for twenty years as medical adviser to the Hudson’s Bay Company and was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society. In 1881, his home at the corner of Garry Street and St. Mary Avenue was designed by architect B. C. Kenway.

He died at Winnipeg on 22 July 1894 and was buried in St. John’s Cemetery. After his death the Council of the College awarded a silver medal, the Lynch Clinical Medal, for the best report of cases treated in the Winnipeg General Hospital.

Uncle of Edwin D. Lynch.


Obituary, Manitoba Free Press, 25 July 1894, page 8.

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

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank Brad Lynch for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 November 2017

Memorable Manitobans

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