Memorable Manitobans: James Cox Aikins (1823-1904)
Politician, Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba (1882-1888).
Born in York County, Ontario on 30 March 1823, son of James Aikins, he received his early education in Upper Canada (Ontario) and graduated in 1843 from Victoria College and University, Cobourg. He represented the County of Peel in the Legislative Assembly of Canada from 1854 to 1861. In 1862 he was elected member of the Legislative Council and continued until 1867. Following Confederation he occupied a seat in the Senate, until December 1869 when he became Secretary of State, in which office he served until 1873.
In 1878 when the Macdonald Government was returned to power he again became Secretary of State. In 1880 he was made Minister of Inland Revenue but resigned in March 1882, and on 22 September 1882, he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba. He served for five years and seven months (1888), and it was during his term the boundaries of the province were enlarged. In 1896 he was reappointed to the Senate.
In 1845 he married Mary Elizabeth Jane Somerset (?-?) and they had eight children including James Albert Manning Aikins and Somerset Aikins. He was a Methodist and took an active part in the founding of Wesley College (now the University of Winnipeg).
He died on 6 August 1904. He is commemorated by Aikins Street in Winnipeg. His correspondence (1882-1893) and other papers are held at the Archives of Manitoba.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
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: 29 October 2022