Mr. Jas. Walsh, of Winnipeg

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A RELATIVE OF ONE OF OUR CLARKE FAMILIES.

Mr. James Walsh was born on the ocean on Dec. 12th, 1816, his parents then being on their way from Ireland to Canada. The family first settled at St. Laurent, near Montreal, but in 1831 left that place for the township of Cavan in the County of Durham, the trip taking them twelve days. Here he assisted in clearing the farm and in all that appertained to the life and labours of the early pioneers.

In 1849 Mr. Walsh left New York on the hazardous journey to California, reaching his destination in July 1850. The route taken was via the Isthmus of Panama, which at that period was the resort of robbers, murderers, and every conceivable kind of desperado. On the voyage from Panama to California the cruelties of the captain of the vessel were so intolerable that he was loaded with irons and sent below, Mr. Walsh being elected as leader for the accomplishment of the task. In California he became possessed of a valuable claim, and left it in the hands of a friend while he returned to Canada for capital to work it. On his return he found his claim had been disposed of for a mere song making the purchasers millionaires. This nearly broke his heart, and caused him to leave California for British Columbia and build for the government there 175 miles of the now celebrated Cariboo road. On its completion he returned to Ontario to embark on his early occupation of road making.

In 1870 he left Ontario with the Wolseley expedition and performed some truly wonderful feats in the matter of road building in the North West. The story goes that when General (now Lord) Wolseley witnessed the expedition with which a good solid road was thrown over a bog by the men whom Mr. Walsh directed and controlled he said: Walsh, I never saw such men in my life as these Cannucks, they can do anything with an auger, a jack-knife and an axe."

Mr. Walsh has always had a great love for horses, and was one of the first, if not the first, to export horses to Great Britain. He has purchased many good horses in the Township of Clarke. Some of his old country customers were Earl Derby, Lord Sefton, Sir Digby Sheffield, the Bishop of London (who paid $3000 for a pair of horses) and others of note. One of the proudest days in Mr. Walsh's life was when the Prince of Wales visited Canada in 1860. Mr. Walsh owned at that time the finest pair of horses in Canada and they were specially engaged for the Prince, their owner being selected to drive. It is said the Prince remarked, that he did not know which was the more perfectly formed the horses or the driver; Mr. Walsh being at that time a specimen of perfect physical manhood.

He was a great deer and moose hunter in his early days and acted s guide and companion of many noted English sportsmen who used to visit Canada for big game hunting. He would on those trips buy furs from the Indians and the knowledge thus gained caused him in 1873 to accept a position of buyer with Mr. J.H. Rodgers, now of Winnipeg, and Joseph Ulman of St. Paul. He has been with Ulman ever since, and tells of buying on one occasion a black fox that was of such a magnificent specimen that it was sold in Leipsig, Germany, for seven hundred and fifty dollars. Messrs. Ulman & Co., have such confidence in the ability of Mr. Walsh that though he is now past fourscore they recently besought him to go to Prince Albert and act as their buyer "just for another year."

The Winnipeg "Bulletin" from which we glean most of the above facts continues: "Every Canadian should feel proud to know that we have still with us so good a specimen of nature's noblemen, a man who has passed by a dozen years the allotted span of life, yet whose mental faculties are as clear as ever, and whose memory is so retentive that he is a treat to listen to and a delight to meet, - a big brained, great-hearted, genial, wholesouled, sympathetic man - manly before all men - but with the fine sensibilities of a woman. He is a great respecter of religion and his creed is a broad and simple one, "Do right." His generosity and liberality are proverbial. His charitable acts would cause one to imagine that money had no value. He treats it as though it were but leaves of a tree and he owned forests."


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