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Manitoba History No. 90

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Memorable Manitobans of 2019
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Memorable Manitobans: Herbert Swinford (1849-1932)

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Herbert Swinford
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Accountant, soldier.

Born at London, England on 7 November 1849, son of Henry Herbert and Ann Ellen Swinford, he came to Canada as a boy. He was educated at the high school in Guelph, Ontario then, as of 1871, worked in the transportation business all over Western Canada before the railroads were built. He later entered the service of the Northern Pacific Railway at Winnipeg, rising to an accountancy position in 1909.

He had a long and distinguished record with Canadian militia, having joined the Home Guard for Guelph, Ontario at the time of the Fenian Raids in 1866. He joined the 30th Wellington Rifles as a private in 1868, becoming ensign in 1870. He was assistant adjutant and drill instructor at the outbreak of the North West Rebellion in 1870, when he resigned his commission to join the Red River Expeditionary Force as a sergeant. He served as a lieutenant under Captain Donald A. Smith with the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Volunteers in the Fenian Raid on Pembina in 1871. He retired with the rank of honourary captain. On organization of the 90th Regiment at Winnipeg in 1883, he served as quartermaster/paymaster from 1888 to 1900, chief supply, commissariat and transport officer in the North-West Field Force under General Middleton in 1885 Rebellion (specially mentioned in dispatches), and retiring with the rank of major in 1900. His brother Charles Swinford died as a result of wounds suffered during the North West Rebellion and is commemorated by the Volunteer Monument in Winnipeg. Swinford organized the Army Service Corps at Winnipeg in 1907 with rank of Major.

He and wife Georgina MacDonnell (?-?) had a son and a daughter. He was a member of the Vancouver Club and AF & AM. In 1911, he lived at 1175 Haro Street in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He died at Winnipeg on 13 June 1932.


Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

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

“Col. H. Swinford, pioneer resident of Winnipeg, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 June 1932.

This gallery was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 August 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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