The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

James Clinskill (1853 - 1936)

James Clinkskill was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1853. He had established himself in business in Scotland as a groceryman when he decided to come to Canada in 1881.He started his life in Canada in Winnipeg where he joined as partner with another man in start some sort of merchandising business in Prince Albert. He moved to Battleford shortly after that. The Riel Rebellion took place while he was in Battleford and during the rebellion he lost his building and all his goods. James Clinkskill was active in his community right from the start. Besides serving in the home guard during the rebellion he also helped to set up a Presbyterian Mission for Battleford. In 1888 he entered politics for the first time as a member of the Territorial Assembly representing Battleford and, later, the area around Saskatoon. Clinkskill came to Saskatoon in 1889 and purchased James Leslies general store. He was an astute businessman and expanded his business involvement. He erected a block on Twenty-first Street in downtown Saskatoon where the sidewalk still bears the insert that spells out "Clinkskill" even though the building is now gone.

He also became involved in the local community after his move to Saskatoon. He was mayor of Saskatoon when it became a town and again mayor when Saskatoon grew into a city during which he was actively involved in guiding the installation of the light, water and sewer systems of the new city. He also became one of the governors of the University of Saskatchewan at its very beginning.

The newspaper reported in his obituary in August of 1936 that he caught a chill which led to his final illness at age 83. An early biography of him in the newspaper has a photograph of him captioned "Saskatoon's Dad".

A family gravesite, the headstone marks the graves of Thomas Malaffy, Jean Andrew Baird, daughter of James and Dora Clinkskill, Capt. James Clinkskill (killed in action), son of James and Dora Clinkskill, Dora Babington, wife of James Clinkskill, and Grace Baird, Wife of T.E. Malaffy, as well as James Clinkskill.