Memorable Manitobans: Alexander Conley McRae (1862-1920)
Carriage, implement and automobile dealer.
Born at Richmond, Ontario on 2 March 1862, son of Alexander McRae and Ann Jane Conley, brother of John C. McRae and James Russell McRae, he apprenticed as a harness maker and worked as a journeyman at several places in Ontario and the USA before coming to Winnipeg in October 1887. He operated his own shop for making carriage tops and trimmings for three years then, in 1892, went into partnership with James Graham Harvey in the manufacture of carriages and agricultural implements. He bought out his partner in 1895.
In 1909, he became one of the first automobile dealers in Winnipeg and, three years later, he closed his carriage business and focused exclusively on cars, being the local agent for the Mitchell, National, and Waverly Electric lines. In 1912, he erected a large automobile garage on William Avenue in partnership with David Wesley Griffith. He retired from the business around 1917.
On 27 September 1889, he married Maude Mary Boyce (1869-1935) at Gananoque, Ontario and they had three children: Stella Mary McRae (1890-1957, wife of James Beatty Buckham), Claude Alexander McRae (1899-?), and Marguerite Boyce McRae (1909-1995; daughter-in-law of John Stewart McDiarmid). He was a member of the Masons, IOOF, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and Winnipeg Board of Trade. He was influential in the establishment of the Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition and served as one of its directors.
He died at Winnipeg on 29 June 1920 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.
Business Names Registration files (CCA 0062), 999 - Harvey & McRae, GR13054, Archives of Manitoba.
1901 and 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
Death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Death of A. C. M’Rae; Pioneer implement and auto dealer,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 June 1920, page 5.
“Mrs. M. McRae, resident here since 1889, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 September 1935, page 5.
We thank Gordon McDiarmid, Jordan Makichuk, and Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 21 May 2023