John L. Stansell

John L. Stansell

JUNE 17, 1875 – OCTOBER 21, 1956

John Lawrence Stansell was a model Ontarian farmer and livestock breeder who actively involved himself in the development and growth of the livestock industry. He was born on June 17, 1875 in Haughton, Norfolk County, the son of Joseph A. Stansell, a descendant of United Empire loyalists. He attended public school in Aylmer before attending the Collegiate Institute in the same town, reaching an academic level that was considerably higher than that of the average farm boy of the time. Upon his completion of school, he took up the farmer’s calling, something that most young men of such education rarely committed to. His primary focus was livestock breeding, and he selected Ayrshires as the breed he would specialize in.

Stansell was not long a breeder of Ayrshires before he began to exert his influence in advancing the interests of the breed in his home district. In 1912, only two years after purchasing his first herd of Ayrshires, he was active among the breeders of the district in organizing the Southern Counties Ayrshire Club, becoming its first secretary. He did not, however, limit himself to the activities of the local organization alone; he also busied himself in the affairs of the national organization, the Canadian Ayrshire Breeders’ Association. He was elected as a director of said organization and promptly began rising through the ranks due to his expertise regarding the breed, becoming vice-president in 1922. Just a year later he was made president of the organization. That he was able to reach such a high and prestigious office in so short a timespan after first becoming associated with the breed is a testament to his ability and to the esteem in which he was held by his fellow breeders.

Stansell also had a successful career in the Exhibiting arena. He exhibited at the Canadian National Exhibition for the first time in 1913, and continued to show at the event for the following years, meeting considerable success. In 1901 he married Alma Clark, with whom he had four children: J. Rowan, Viola, Neva, and Arnold. Rowan, the eldest, went on to continue his father’s legacy and met great success in piloting the Stansell Ayrshires in the showring.

Although his chief vocation was live stock, Stansell did not confine his energies to this area alone- he also tried his hand at politics. In 1920 he campaigned in the East Elgin by-election as a candidate for the National Liberal and Conservative Party. Although he polled a good vote, he was unsuccessful. In the following year, however, he ran for the general federal election, this time running for the Conservative party. He met more success the second time around, winning the election as well as the re-election in 1925, representing East Elgin in the House of Commons. He died on October 21, 1956, having lived his life as an Ontarian farmer through and through.

Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture