Memorable Manitobans: James Osborne McLenaghen (1891-1950)
Born at Balderson, Ontario on 4 September 1891, son of John McLenaghen and Elspeth McIlquhan, he was educated at Balderson before the family settled at Portage la Prairie. He attended the Portage Collegiate Institute and the University of Manitoba (BA). He was articled in law to Arthur Meighen and was called to the Bar in 1918. He practised with W. R. Sexsmith at Portage la Prairie for a year, then went to Selkirk where he continued his legal career, and was made a King’s Counsel in 1937.
On 29 March 1919, he married Katherine Maria “Katie”Newman (1895-1976, daughter of Thomas Alexander Newman) of Portage la Prairie, with whom he had three children: Thomas Newman (1924-1997), Jean McLenaghen, and Elspeth McLenaghen. He was first elected Conservative MLA for Kildonan in 1927, and was re-elected in 1932, 1936, 1941, 1945, and for the new St. Andrews riding in 1949. He held the portfolios of Health (1940-1944), Attorney General (1941-1950), and Labour (1944-1946). In August 1931, McLenaghen joined Selkirk Mayor J. J. Bell to lobby Public Works Minister William Reid Clubb to develop a bridge across the Red River at Selkirk as a relief project. The bridge was completed in 1937. In 1932, he was elected to the Selkirk School Board and served as its Chair as of 1934.
Ontario birth registration, Ancestry.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Cabinet,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 November 1940, page 11.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
Selkirk: The First Hundred Years by Barry Potyondi, Josten’s Nationa School Services 1981, page 133.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Ken Howard and Oliver Bernuetz for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 17 June 2021