Memorable Manitobans: John Beresford Allan (1841-1927)
Soldier, police officer, MLA (1883-1886), businessman.
Born at Armagh, Ireland on 7 November 1841, his family emigrated to Canada when he was a boy and lived at Montreal. He joined the Victoria Rifles and served in the American Civil War until 1864. He was involved in repelling the Fenian Raids of Eastern Canada in 1866.
In 1870 he volunteered for service as a member of the Wolseley Expedition to the Red River Settlement, remaining there afterwards. In 1874 he joined the North West Mounted Police and was stationed at Fort Walsh. He saw active service during the 1885 North West Rebellion. While serving at Duck Lake in May 1897, his arm was broken by a gunshot. Around that time, he inherited a fortune and retired from the police force. He moved to Winnipeg where he speculated in land, becoming President of the Canadian West Land Company.
In 1871, he married widow Margaret Hannah Sinclair (1843-1921, wife of James Robert Clare and sister-in-law of Andrew Strang) and they had two children: John William “Jack” Allan (1872-?) and Harriet Beresford Allan (1875-1963, wife of Graham Anderson Watson). He was a charter member of the AF & AM (Prince Rupert’s Lodge), President (1907-1907) of the Old Timers’ Association of Manitoba, and honorary member of the Army and Navy Association of Winnipeg. In 1883, he was elected to the Manitoba Legislature and served a single term.
He died at Vancouver, British Columbia on 9 October 1927 and was buried at Burnaby.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Former days are recalled,” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 March 1906, page 18.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
“Funeral of old timer is held,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 September 1921, page 11.
Obituary [Margaret Hannah Allan], Winnipeg Tribune, 13 September 1921, page 16.
Death registrations [Margaret Hannah Allan, John Beresford Allan], British Columbia Vital Statistics.
“Noted figure of early west dead at coast,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 October 1927, page 18.
“Col. Jack Allan dies at home in Vancouver,” Manitoba Free Press, 11 October 1927. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B8]
Death registration [Harriet Beresford Watson], British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Andrea Murphy for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 29 August 2022