Francis Cochrane
MPP for Nipissing East
In office
Preceded byCharles Lamarche
Succeeded byriding dissolved
MPP for Sudbury
In office
Preceded byfirst member
Succeeded byCharles McCrea
MP for Nipissing
In office
Preceded byGeorge Gordon
Succeeded byCharles Robert Harrison
MP for Timiskaming
In office
Preceded byfirst member
Succeeded byAngus McDonald
Personal details
BornNovember 18, 1852
Clarenceville, Quebec
DiedSeptember 22, 1919(1919-09-22) (aged 66)
Ottawa, Ontario
Political partyConservative
Residence(s)Sudbury, Ontario

Francis Cochrane, PC (November 18, 1852 – September 22, 1919) was a Canadian politician.

Early life

Cochrane was born in 1852 in Clarenceville, Quebec. Little is known about his early life due to a lack of personal papers. His son, Wilbur, managed to uncover some information about this period, including that he worked for Marshall Field in Chicago during the 1870s before moving to Pembroke, Ontario, where he met his wife, Alice Dunlap. He and Alice lived in Mattawa during the 1880s before moving to Sudbury. While living in Mattawa, Cochrane hosted Prime Minister John A. Macdonald at his home while he recovered from a brief illness.[1]

Municipal career

A prosperous hardware merchant in Sudbury, Ontario, he was the first president of the town's board of trade and later served as mayor of the town in 1897, 1898 and 1902 after winning a council seat in 1896.[2][page needed]

Along with local businessman William McVittie, he subsequently invested in the Wahnapitae Power Company, which was contracted to provide the town's hydroelectricity services until it was sold to the Hydroelectric Power Commission of Ontario in 1929.[3][page needed] Cochrane and McVittie also ventured into prospecting, developing the Frood Extension property in 1908.[4]

Provincial career

Cochrane first ran for provincial office in 1902 as the Conservative Party candidate in Nipissing West in the 1902 election, but was defeated by Joseph Michaud. He did not run in the 1905 election, although Premier James P. Whitney nonetheless announced an intention to give him a cabinet portfolio. This appointment was delayed when Cochrane slipped while boarding a moving train in Sudbury and lost part of his right leg,[4] but in May of that year, Whitney transferred the Crown lands portfolio to a new Ministry of Lands, Forests and Mines and appointed Cochrane as the new minister. Cochrane was then acclaimed into office in a by-election in Nipissing East, succeeding Charles Lamarche, who resigned to make the seat available to him.

He was reelected in the 1908 election in the new electoral district of Sudbury.

Federal career

After being re-elected in 1911 George Gordon, the Conservative MP for Nipissing, stepped aside to enable Cochrane to run in a by-election and he won the seat. Gordon was subsequently appointed to the Senate.

Cochrane served in Nipissing until 1917, and was Minister of Railways and Canals in the government of Sir Robert Borden from October 1911 until October 1917.

In 1917, he ran as the Unionist-Conservative candidate in the new district of Timiskaming. He was re-elected, and served as Minister without Portfolio until his death in 1919.


The town of Cochrane, Ontario was named for him.[5]


  1. ^ Young, Scott; Young, Astrid (1973). Silent Frank Cochrane: The North's First Great Politician. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada. pp. 3–5. ISBN 0-7705-0889-8.
  2. ^ Dorian, Charles (1961). The First 75 Years, A Headline History of Sudbury, Canada. Ilfracombe, Eng.: Arthur H. Stockwell, Ltd.
  3. ^ Wallace, C.M.; Thomson, Ashley, eds. (1993). Sudbury: Rail Town to Regional Capital (3rd ed.). Dundram Press, Ltd. ISBN 978-1-55002-170-7.
  4. ^ a b Bray, R. Matthew (1998). "Cochrane, Francis". In Cook, Ramsay; Hamelin, Jean (eds.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol. XIV (1911–1920) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  5. ^ Hamilton, William B. (1978). The Macmillan Book of Canadian Place Names. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada. p. 168. ISBN 0-7705-1524-X. Retrieved 20 October 2020.