Born in Ross-shire, Scotland on 1 July 1850, son of Angus Smith and Christie McIver, he came to Norway House in 1868 where he worked for 13 years as a boat-builder for the Hudson’s Bay Company. From 1881 to 1885 he was engaged in steamboating on the Saskatchewan River, serving on the steamer Northcote during the 1885 North West Rebellion. Later that year he settled at Selkirk and went into the wholesale liquor business. In partnership with John Morrison, he co-owned the steamboat Mikado and had a part interest in Wolverine. He made two trips to the Yukon, in 1897 and 1898. For thirty years he worked in the fish business.
In 1871, he married Janet Morrison (?-?) of Keewatin. They had twelve children: Mary Ann Smith, Christine Smith (1874-?), Jean Smith, Peggie Smith (1878-?), Hector M. Smith (1882-?), Murdoch Angus Smith (1883-?), Jessie Smith (1886-?), Mary Ann Smith (1888-?), Kity Smith (1890-?), Roderick A. Smith (1894-?), Malcolm Smith (1896-?), and John Smith (?-?). He was a member of the COF, the IOOF, and Clan Stewart.
He died at Selkirk on 11 September 1925.
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Smith House (322 Eveline Street, Selkirk)
1901 and 1911 Canada censes, Automated Genealogy.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
Death registration for R. Smith, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Hundreds pay tribute to late Capt. R. Smith”, newspaper clipping dated 13 September 1925. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B8]
We thank Mike Dixon for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 31 July 2019
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