Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Horace McDougall (1846-1915)

Telegraph operator.

Born at York, Ontario in 1846, he was educated at St. Mary’s, Ontario and Albany (New York) College, where he first found work with a mercantile agency. He was later employed with the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railway Company, and still later with the Northern Pacific Railway at St. Paul, Minnesota. He came to Winnipeg in 1871 and opened the first telegraph office, as Manager of the Great Northwestern Telegraph Company. He sent the first telegraph message, from Lieutenant-Governor Adams George Archibald to Lord Dufferin. He also served as a ticket agent for several railroad and steamship lines.

He served two, one-year terms on the Winnipeg city council (1878, 1891). In 1889, he left the telegraph company to accept a position with the Dun Wiman Mercantile agency. He moved to London, Ontario in early 1891 then returned to Winnipeg in 1896 as Manager of the Winnipeg agency for the Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association. He left in the late 1890s and settled at Toronto. He died at Petrolia, Ontario in August 1915.


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

“An old-timer returns,” Manitoba Free Press, 22 July 1896, page 1.

“Horace McDougall, pioneer telegrapher,” Manitoba Free Press, 31 August 1915, page 3.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 April 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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