Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 142 years

Memorable Manitobans: James Shirriff (1851-1930)

Click to enlarge

James Shirriff
Click to enlarge

Implement dealer.

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 Beacher Hossie (1856-1944). They had a daughter, Helen Emeline 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.

Uncle of John Francis Morrison, Alexander Shirriff Morrison, and George Frederick Morrison.

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.

A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

We thank M. L. Stubbs and Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 July 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.

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.