Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John O’Reilly (1844-1914)


Born at Hamilton, Ontario on 1 November 1844, son of Hamilton Robert O’Reilly and Margaret Land, he entered Trinity College, Toronto, taking his BA degree in 1866. In 1874 he travelled from Ontario to Manitoba by the Dawson route and entered his father’s law office. He practised with his father until 1881 when he became associated with Daniel Carey, under the firm name of Carey and O’Reilly. In 1882 he dissolved the partnership and became associated with T. S. Kennedy KC, until 1884. For ten years he was a law partner of N. F. Hagel. In 1894 he moved to Selkirk and acted as Crown Counsel until October 1910, when he received the appointment as Registrar for the Portage la Prairie district. He saw active service during the Fenian Raid in 1866, and was present with the Queen’s Own Rifles at the battle of Ridgeway. In 1881 he married M. Ermina Nagy of St. John, New Brunswick. They had five children. In 1877, he was a member of the First Convocation of the University of Manitoba. He died at Portage la Prairie on 29 April 1914 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.


The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

“Well known lawyer dies at Portage,” Manitoba Free Press, 30 April 1914 [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B6]

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 December 2017

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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