Memorable Manitobans: James Stuart (1853-1925)
Born at Near Butte, Scotland on 13 March 1853, son of Alexander Stuart and Sarah Muir, he worked in an Edinburgh dry goods merchant then, in 1876, he emigrated to Canada and settled at Toronto where he worked for the Consumers’ Gas Company building and installing the city’s first water gas plant. When the works were completed he became company superintendent.
In 1883, he came to Winnipeg at the request of the Manitoba Electric and Gas Light Company to install a similar plant here, along with twenty miles of cast iron gas lines. When the works were completed he became superintendent and manager until 1899 when he resigned to accept a position with the City of Winnipeg as Water and Light Commissioner. He organized the commercial end of the city’s water works department and installed the city’s first electric street light plant. He later resigned to devote his attention to his own company, Stuart Machinery Company, which specialized in the installation of municipal and private electric lighting plants.
He served for ten years on the Winnipeg Public School Board, the last two of which he was chairman. He served on the Winnipeg city council for two years.
In 1875, he married Kate Miller (1853-1903) of Dumbarton, Scotland. They had five children before her death: Robert Miller Stuart (?-?), Ellen “Nellie” Stuart (1881-?, wife of Harry Cowan Thompson), Duncan Muir Stuart (?-?), Agnes Rait Stuart (1883-?), Alexander Patrick Stuart (1885-?), and Mary Louisa Stuart (1887-?). He was a member of the Scottish Rite of the Masonic Order, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Independent Order of Foresters, Sons of Scotland, St. Andrew’s Society, Westminster Presbyterian Church, and Point Douglas Presbyterian Church.
He retired to Manhattan Beach, California in 1913 where he died in the residence of his daughter on 18 January 1925.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
“James Stuart passes away in California,” Manitoba Free Press, 20 January 1925, page 1. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B8]
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 2 May 2022