Winnipeg Cab History / 17: Dublin Dan
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Left: Charles "Dublin Dan" James in 1878, four years before coming to Winnipeg. Right: Dublin Dan shortly before his death in 1911.


Left: "Do You Know Him?"Winnipeg Telegram, December 4, 1909, p. 1 (photo); "'Dublin Dan' Was A Popular Guess," Winnipeg Telegram, December 6, 1909, p. 1:2 (also in Manitoba Legislative Library Biographical Scrapbook B4, p. 85). Right: "'Dublin Dan' Old-Time Winnipeg Cab Driver Dead," Winnipeg Telegram, October 9, 1911, p. 1 (also in Biographical Scrapbook B5, p. 43).

Winnipeg Cab History / 17

Dublin Dan

Charles "Dublin Dan" James (1854-1911) came to Toronto from Ireland at the age of sixteen. A job driving a grocer's delivery van brought him into contact with William Jordan and other Toronto cab drivers who boarded their horses at the same stable.

Dublin Dan and William Jordan rode all the way to Winnipeg in a freight car with two pairs of horses. Jordan soon sold his cab at a profit and went back to Toronto for another, bringing his brother James back with him. By the summer of 1882 the three men had formed a partnership under the name of "Jordan Brothers and Dublin Dan" and owned five street cab licenses among them.

Dan remained partners with William Jordan until 1887 when he bought a hotel in St. James. He was forced back into the cab business in 1890 when the Liberal government of Premier Thomas Greenway cancelled the liquor licenses of several hotels in Winnipeg and the surrounding area. The fact that Dan was a well-known and vociferous Conservative probably did nothing to help his case.

In 1899 Dan joined with Bill Squires and Alex Courtney to form the Winnipeg Cab Company, operating out of the Palace stable.

By 1910, with the appearance of the first taxicabs in Winnipeg, the future of the horse-drawn cab trade began to look bleak. Dan and his partners put the Winnipeg Cab Company up for sale in March, 1911 but there were no buyers. They did manage to unload the Palace which was torn down to make way for the Palace Auto Livery.

Dublin Dan died of heart disease later that year. Outspoken and opinionated, he was always good newspaper copy and was a Winnipeg celebrity for decades. At his death the newspapers carried lengthy obituaries and about 20 horse cabs made up his funeral cortege.


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