Memorable Manitobans: John Hillyard Leech (1866-1930)
Born on a farm near Lansdowne, Ontario on 14 April 1866, son of exporter John Leech and Sarah Webster Moles, he came with his family to Manitoba in 1879, residing first in the vicinity of Gladstone and, in 1882, moving to Brandon. Three years later, he saw service during the North West Rebellion as a member of the 91st Regiment under General Strange and as a news correspondent.
He attended Manitoba College and, in 1889, graduated with a science degree from the University of Manitoba. He then studied law at Brandon and Winnipeg and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1892. He commenced the practice of law in partnership with Charles Henri Royal under the firm name of Leech and Royal. The partnership dissolved after two years and he then founded a firm with his brother Ernest Tennyson Leech, Frank J. Sutton, and Thomas Hamilton. He was later appointed a King’s Counsel. He was also a director of numerous manufacturing and mercantile corporations. He was a Conservative candidate for the Birtle constituency in the 1903 provincial general election.
On 5 July 1888, he married Ida Laura Allin (1864-1950) of Winnipeg. They had three children: Hart Leech (1889-1916; killed in action during the First World War), Vernon Mayne Leech (1890-?), and Eurith Hillida Leech (1900-1903). He was a member of the Masons (Ancient Landmark Lodge). He played a leading role in the formation of the Army and Navy Veterans Association in which he held office for some years.
He died at his Winnipeg home, 57 Home Street, on 26 April 1930 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, 1911. C. W. Parker, editor. Canadian Press Association, Vancouver.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
“J. Hillyard Leech, barrister, expires,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 April 1930, page 1.
“Mrs. J. H. Leech dies at age 85,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 January 1950, page 10.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 March 2021