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Memorable Manitobans: John Roger Nesbitt (1873-1948)


Born at Walkerton, Ontario in 1873, he came to Manitoba 1896, moving to Pilot Mound and then relocating to Shoal Lake the same year. He was manager of Shoal Lake Creamery, the first plant in Manitoba to install equipment for pasteurizing cream to make butter. A leading prize-winner in Canadian butter exhibitions, he won the silver cup at Toronto for four years, had the highest average scoring butter at the Royal Winter Fair for three years, and was a winner of the sweepstake at the Provincial Exhibition in Brandon for seven consecutive years. He pioneered the packing of butter in hermetically sealed containers, shipping them to the Yukon beginning in 1897. In 1935, he became a life member of the Manitoba Dairy Association. A supporter of the Shoal Lake Hospital, he served as chairman of the hospital board (1929-1946) and sat on council for eight years. Starting in 1922, he assumed responsibility for the wildlife sanctuary at Shoal Lake. He had five children: Walter Nesbitt, Gordon Nesbitt, Jack Nesbitt, Inez Nesbitt, and Mrs. J. Gillespie. He died on 26 November 1948. He is a member of the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.


“J. R. Nesbitt, 75, leader in west dairying dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 27 November 1948. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 60]

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden.

Page revised: 4 October 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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