Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 142 years

Memorable Manitobans: Robert Phair (1837-1931)


Born in County Tyrone, Ireland in 1837, he received religious training in the Church Missionary Society at Islington, London then came to the Red River Settlement in 1864. He was ordained a Deacon on 25 March 1864, by Bishop David Anderson, and was sent to work as a missionary among Indigenous people at Fort Alexander, being ordained a priest in 1866, by Robert Machray. He remained at Fort Alexander until 1874 when he was sent to Alberton, Ontario, remaining there until 1888, when he was made an Archdeacon at Islington. He was appointed Superintendent of Indian Missions for the Diocese of Rupert's Land, holding the position until retirement in 1915, after which he lived at Biloxi, Mississippi.

He died at San Diego, California on 11 November 1931 after being struck by an automobile while crossing the street. He was buried at San Diego. He was survived by four children: Dr. W. R. G. Phair, Alice Phair (wife of Rev. Tredennier), Emily Phair (wife of ? Kenrick), and Evangeline Phair (wife of ? Turnbull). His son Canon Ernest Edward Maxwell Phair died aboard the Lusitania and his son Robin Phair died while performing missionary work in China. His nephew was Herbert Edward William “Bert” Phair (father of Mary Emma Frances “Molly” Phair).


“Pioneer missionary of Manitoba expires,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 November 1931, page 6.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 November 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.

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Firsts | Acknowledgements

Support the MHS

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations

© 1998-2021 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.