Jacob Doupe

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The son of Joseph Doupe (1838-1910), Jacob followed his father into surveying as a career. Jacob’s father had come west in 1871 as a government surveyor in Vancouver and the NorthWest Territories. His early forefathers came from one of the old Palatinate families in the latter part of the 17th century. They were harassed by the bigotry of Louis XIV and immigrated to the south of Ireland. Between 1827 and 1832, many of these families immigrated to Canada and the United States.

Jacob received his education in Winnipeg attending St. John’s College and the University of Manitoba, where he obtained his Master of Arts and Engineering.

Upon receiving his Manitoba and Dominion Land Surveyor commissions in 1888, he entered private practice for a short period of time. In 1889, he was appointed resident engineer with the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway and, in 1890, became resident engineer of construction. In 1891, he was hired as a land surveyor for the land department of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He was soon promoted to assistant land commissioner and general townsite agent covering Western Canada. In 1912 until his retirement in 1933, he was chief surveyor for the western lines of the CPR.

“It was because of his far-reaching responsibilities that he was qualified as a professional land surveyor in each of the four western provinces. Official business and a railway pass made him a popular member of the four survey associations and a perennial delegate from one association to another. In 1932, shortly before he retired, he presented gavels to each of the associations.”

From Compass to Satellite:

When Mr. Doupe retired from the CPR in 1933, he was presented with many accolades and gifts. One such address read, “in the hard exciting times of the western infancy of the CPR, you were its hardy warrior. For all the years you have been with it, the company has received your first consideration.”

Mr. Jacob Lonsdale Doupe was thoroughly acquainted with western townsite development and was associated with the building of the majority of the earlier branch lines. In all probability, he might have had a hand in selecting the names of the towns and villages along CPR properties in the West.

There are virtually hundreds of subdivision plans along the railway lines that were signed by J.L. Doupe.

Mr. Doupe had the honour of being president of three western land survey associations. The Association of Manitoba Land Surveyors in 1912-1913, the Saskatchewan Land Surveyors’ Association in 1921 and the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association in 1924.

He was made an honorary life member in the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association in 1932 and a life member of the Saskatchewan Land Surveyors’ Association in 1944.

Mr. Doupe was married to Mary Young and they had two sons and two daughters.

Mr. Doupe passed away February 11, 1952. According to A.C. Garner in 1952, “a gentleman always, highly esteemed by all who knew him and particularly by the members of his profession, his passing will be keenly felt. His record is an outstanding one and this, combined with the excellent work he performed, will ever be remembered as a lasting tribute to his memory.

Jack Webb, SLSA Corner Post, September 1996