Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Sutherland (1821-1899)

Farmer, Senator.

Born at Point Douglas on 21 August 1821, only son of Alexander Sutherland and Catherine MacPherson, he was educated at St. John’s College. Following the flood of 1852, he moved to Lot 86 in East Kildonan, where he farmed and operated a general store.

In 1866, he entered public life as a member of the Council of Assiniboia and attended twelve meetings before the Council was dissolved. During the Red River disturbance of 1869-1870 he became one of the leading representatives of the Loyalist party and served as delegate from Kildonan at the Council of Forty meeting in 1870. His son Hugh was killed in February 1870 by Norbert Parisien. That same month, he was chosen Collector of Customs by the Provisional Government, and when the Province entered Confederation (15 July 1870) he was appointed the first High Sheriff of Manitoba. He held this office until 13 December 1871, when he was appointed to the Canadian Senate, a position he held until his death.

In 1847 he married Janet MacBeth (?-?) and they had fourteen children, among whom were Donald Sutherland, Morrison Sutherland, Hector Sutherland, James Sutherland, Roderick Ross Sutherland, Alexander M. Sutherland, William Robert Douglas Sutherland, Angus Sutherland, John H. Sutherland (?-1870), Catherine Sutherland (wife of William Ross Black), and Margaret Sutherland (wife of Frederick F. Blanchard and later John H. Gunn). Sutherland was one of the leading spirits in the educational life of Kildonan and one of the founders of Manitoba College. He was a participant in the 1878 ceremony to mark the opening of the first railway to Winnipeg.

He died at his residence “Bellevue House” in Kildonan on 27 April 1899. He was survived by his widow, seven sons and two daughters. There are papers at the Archives of Manitoba.


The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

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: 11 November 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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