Memorable Manitobans: Daniel Alexander Macdonald (1858-1937)
Born near Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on 17 August 1858, son of Alexander MacDonald and Mary MacRae, he was educated at the Prince of Wales College (Charlottetown). He studied law, was called to the PEI Bar in 1883, then moved to Manitoba later that year. He practised in Winnipeg briefly with the firm of Ross, Killam and Haggart, later establishing his own practise at Portage la Prairie, in partnership with Ewan Alexander MacPherson. He was appointed to the Court of the King’s Bench in 1906 and he became Chief Justice in 1928, succeeding Thomas Graham Mathers. He served on the 1915 Royal Commission that investigated charge of corruption in the construction of Manitoba’s Legislative Building and, in 1929, on a Royal Commission, along with fellow judges Andrew Knox Dysart and James Frederick Kilgour, that considered charges of campaign fund irregularities made by Fawcett Gowler Taylor against Premier John Bracken. In 1927, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Manitoba.
In 1883, he married Helen St. Luke Rogers (1863-1937). They had four children: Annie Hester Macdonald (1885-1972, wife of William C. Russell, mother-in-law of James Nathaniel Connacher and David Eckford Kilgour), Helen Winnifred Macdonald (1888-?, wife of John Rogers), Katherine Macdonald (1890-?, wife of Vivian McMeans), and Geoffrey Macdonald (1892-1955). He was a member of the St. Charles Country Club and the Anglican church. He was the first Chairman of the Board for The Winnipeg Foundation. His recreations included golf and hunting, and he had a shooting lodge near Woodside in partnership with Charles Frederick Pentland, George William Northwood and William Elliott Macara.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, 1911. C. W. Parker, editor. Canadian Press Association, Vancouver.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“Loss for bench; Chief Justice MacDonald dies Thursday morning in 80th year,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 October 1937, page 5.
Obituary [Annie Hester Russell], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 October 1972, page 36.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Gord Konantz for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 December 2020