Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Grant Rattray (1867-1944)

Educator, businessman, municipal official, soldier.

Born at Banffshire, Scotland on 15 January 1867, son of Alexander Rattray (1833-1918) and Jean Tennant (1940-1918), he immigrated to Canada with his family around 1873 and settled in Middlesex County, Ontario. He taught school at Strathroy, Ontario before moving to Manitoba in 1890 where he taught at Lansdowne School (1890-1891), Oakwood School (?-?) and Pipestone School (c1893).

He later operated a hardware business, and published the Virden Advance newspaper, also serving as President of the Virden Liberal Association. He was Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Pipestone (1902-1904) and, in 1905, he attended the founding meeting, in Brandon, of the Union of Manitoba Municipalities. He was a Liberal candidate for the Virden constituency in the 1907 provincial general election.

At the onset of the First World War, he joined and led the 10th Battalion in France. Following a temporary attachment to 1st Division Headquarters, he returned briefly to his Battalion before being re-tasked with the command of a reserve brigade at Bramshott. He was awarded the DSO (January 1916) and was made a Companion of St. Michael and St. George (1918). On his return from Europe, he joined the Manitoba Provincial Police, succeeding Edward Joseph Elliott, and served as its commissioner until late 1922, when he was dismissed.

On 2 October 1895, he married Emily Wallace (1866-1934) in the RM of Whitehead and they had a daughter: Bessie Alexandra J. Rattray (1900-?).

He died at Ottawa, Ontario on 23 June 1944, and was buried in the Pipestone Cemetery.

See also:

The Winnipeg Jewish Community and Politics: the Inter-War Years, 1919-1939 by Henry Trachtenberg
MHS Transactions, Series 3,


Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Western Municipal News, October 1944, page 249.

“Brig-Gen Ruttan and Col. J. Rattray honored,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 June 1918, page 7.

“Retiring Chief rests on laurels; new head is natural leader,” Manitoba Free Press, 5 January 1920, page 7.

“Col. J. G. Rattray dies in Ottawa,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 June 1944. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 153]

Jockthird family tree, Ancestry.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 3 December 2021

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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