Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Henry Neil (1862-1927)

Building contractor, boat builder.

Born at Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland on 9 July 1862, he came to Canada in 1882 and settled at Winnipeg. He worked as a contractor until about 1922, being responsible for constructing many well-known buildings. He also built motor launches and other pleasure boats. He was married twice, first on 16 June 1885 to Margaret Jane “Maggie” Henderson (1865-1895) with whom he had four children: Thomas John Neil (1886-1928), Eliza Jane “Lyla” Neil (1888-1976), Mary Adelaide Neil (1891-1982, wife of William A. Rowland), and Margaret Emmeline “Emily” Neil (1893-?, wife of T. H. Williams). On 23 October 1896, he married Elizabeth Barbara “Lizzie” Coulter (1869-1945) and they had two children: George Albert Neil (1897-1981) and Henry Wilford “Harry” Neil (1901-?). He was a member of the Orange Order, Canadian Order of Foresters, and McDougall Memorial Methodist Church. He died at his Winnipeg residence, 123 Burrows Avenue, on 20 December 1927 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.

Some of his construction works in Manitoba included:





McDougall Memorial Methodist Church

939 Main Street, Winnipeg



Scott Memorial Orange Hall

216 Princess Street, Winnipeg



Nassau Street Baptist Church

549 Gertrude Avenue, Winnipeg



Machray Apartment Block




See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Neil House (123 Burrows Avenue, Winnipeg)


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“James H. Neil, noted builder here, is dead,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 December 1927, page 15.

Obituary [Elizabeth Barbara Neil], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 March 1945, page 14.

Obituary [Eliza Jane Neil], Winnipeg Free Press, 27 March 1976, page 56.

Obituary [George Albert Neil], Winnipeg Free Press, 15 October 1981, page 73.

Death registration [Mary Adelaide Rowland], British Columbia Vital Statistics.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 2 August 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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