Memorable Manitobans: John Tully “Jock” Speirs (1860-1925)
Born at Glasgow, Scotland on 10 March 1860, son of John Speirs and Elisabeth Tully, he came to Winnipeg in 1881. He started in wines but was burned out twice before turning to baked goods. In the early years, he operated one wagon which he drove himself, with one oven. He lived to see the operation expand to one of the largest bread-manufacturing plants in western Canada. In 1910, he was in partnership with Edward Parnell. The daily output of their bakery was 100,000 loaves.
On 31 October 1882, he married Susan Marnie (1863-1928) at Winnipeg and they had four children: James Marnie Speirs, Ellen S. Speirs (1890-?), Mabel Speirs (1892-?), and Catherine Speirs (1898-?). He was a member of the Masons, IOOF, COF, St. Andrew’s Society, and Manitoba Lawn Bowling Association. He served a single term on the Winnipeg city council, in 1899. He was a Past Chief of the Clan Stewart and an avid curler.
Uncle of James W. Speirs.
He died at his Winnipeg residence, 6 Middle Gate, on 13 March 1925 and was buried in the Brookside Cemetery.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“Winnipeg pays final tribute to J. T. Speirs,” undated newspaper clipping. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B8]
Obituary [James Marnie Speirs], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 October 1958, page 10.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 16 October 2022