Memorable Manitobans: James Shirriff (1851-1930)
Born at Huntingdon, Quebec on 19 November 1851, son of physician Francis Walker Shirriff and Anna Markland MacNider, brother of David Shirriff, he apprenticed in the agricultural wood working trade then worked as a journeyman.
He came to Manitoba in 1874 and, after staying for a year, returned to Quebec and took a job that he held until 1880 when he resigned and came back to Manitoba. He worked for three years as an agricultural implements salesman, travelling between Grand Forks (North Dakota), Emerson, and Brandon. In 1886 he was stationed at Brandon as a representative for the Cochrane Manufacturing Company of St. Thomas, Ontario. He later started the Brandon Machine Works, and served as agent for the North West Thresher Company, Stillwater Mining Company, Bell Engine Company, and other companies.
In 1883, he married Selina Henderson (1853-1887) of Huntingdon, Quebec. After her death, he remarried in 1892 to Harriet Beecher Hossie (1856-1944). They had a daughter, Helen Emmaline Shirriff (1898-1992, wife of Robert Alexander). He was a member of the Woodmen of the World and served for four years on the Brandon School Board.
He died at Swift Current, Saskatchewan on 8 May 1930 and was buried in the Brandon Cemetery. A memoir by his daughter at the University of Saskatchewan Archives & Special Collections entitled “The Unforgotten Years” documents the genealogy of the Shirriff and Alexander families and their lives in western Canada between the 1860s and 1932.
Birth registration [Helen Emeline Sherriff], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
We thank M. L. Stubbs, Nathan Kramer, and Marilyn Garnett for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 19 May 2022