Memorable Manitobans: Frederick Edward Molyneux St. John (1838-1904)
Journalist, civil servant.
Born at Newcastle, England on 28 November 1838, son of Major G. F. B. St. John, he was educated at Rossall College, Lancashire. He entered the Royal Marines as second lieutenant in 1855, and subsequently left the service after a promotion to first lieutenant. He came to Canada in 1868. He joined the Toronto Globe, and in 1870 accompanied the Wolseley expedition to Red River as a special correspondent. Later he accompanied Lord Dufferin’s mission to British Columbia in the same capacity.
He remained in Manitoba after 1870 and held various official posts. Defeated as a candidate in the December 1870 and December 1874 provincial general elections, he served as the first clerk of the Manitoba Legislature and secretary of the Protestant Board of Education. Later he was appointed Sheriff and Indian Commissioner of the North West Territories. He went to England in 1879 and for some years was emigration agent and London secretary for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He returned to Montreal in 1891 as chief of the Company’s advertising dept. He was editor of the Winnipeg Standard and later of the Manitoba Free Press from which position he resigned in 1895 when the newspaper changed its editorial policy.
He wrote A Sea of Mountains (a description of Lord Dufferin’s trip to British Columbia) in 1877 and was also a playwright. He married Kate Ranoe.
St. John later lived in Ottawa and for two years before his death served as gentleman usher of the Black Rod. He died in Ottawa on 30 January 1904.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 21 October 2018