James DOBSON (1847-1919)

Born at Hallerton, Cheshire, England in November 1874.

James retired from the CPR in 1913 as the oldest locomotive engineer in the Company. He was employed with the company since 1881. He had driven his engine over every Company section and, as a result, was well known by everyone. James held the extraordinary record of having only two accidents and neither turned out to be serious. The CPR considered James as one of the most capable and careful engine drivers they ever had.

He married Elizabeth Weston (1852-1909) and they had three children: Thomas Dobson (1879-1909), Richard Weston Dobson (1884-1965) and James Dobson (1887-1918).


In 1868,  James began his career on an engine when he entered the service of the London & Northwestern in England. His duties included cleaning, firing and acting as a spare driver. In 1871, he came to Canada to become an engineer for the Grand Trunk, where he remained for the next eight years. His first train on this road was a ballast train which was used in connection with the construction of the main line near Cross Lake. The engine which he drove was the old “Countess of Dufferin”, which later was on exhibit outside the CPR station in Winnipeg.

James was a life member of Sussex Lodge No. 5 A.F. & A.M. and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, No. 76.

James died 21 November 1919 and was buried in Ancrum Cemetery.


  • “Oldest Driver of Railway Retires”, Winnipeg Free Press, 08 January 1914, page 4
  • “Oldest Engineer of CPR Passes Away”, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 November 1919, page 54


 Manitoba Genealogical Society has been transcribing cemeteries since the late 1970s. An abundance of information may be found in these transcripts, including the location of the burial site and information regarding burials where the grave marker is no longer visible. If you would like to purchase a transcript of a Manitoba cemetery, please follow our link.

Go To Cemetery Transcripts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *