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Memorable Manitobans: James Spencer Lynch (1841-1894)

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James S. Lynch
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Physician, MP (1870-1872).

Born near London, Canada West (now Ontario), he graduated in medicine from the University ofToronto. He moved to the Red River in 1868. He was married, and his residence was at the corner of Garry Street and St. Mary Avenue.

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 1871 he lost a federal election in Marquette to Robert Cunningham, and in 1872 he tied with Angus McKay at 1,282 votes, the House dissolving before the tie could be resolved.

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 1869-70 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. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society. In 1881, his home on Garry Street 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.


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 J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 30 August 2014

Memorable Manitobans

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