James David Stewart
Premier from 1923 to 1927, 1931 to 1933
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JAMES DAVID STEWART WAS BORN in Lower Montague January 15, 1874, one year after the Island
joined Confederation. He received his early education in his hometown prior to attending Prince
of Wales College (Charlottetown) and Dalhousie University in Halifax. After graduation he
taught school for several years before entering the practice of law in Montague and Georgetown.
It was no surprise when the Conservative Party asked the prominent young lawyer to run in a King's County by-election in 1917. He won the legislature seat handily and was re-elected two years later. In 1921, Mr. Stewart was elected leader of the Provincial Conservative Party and led them to victory in the 1923 election. His government was defeated the first time he went to the people as Premier, partly because of his stand against total prohibition.
In 1931, James Stewart became Premier once more, the first party leader to become Premier a second time since the Island became part of Canada. However, his persistent efforts on behalf of the Island, locally where he held a number of Cabinet posts and in Ottawa where he consistently pressed for Maritime rights and an increased subsidy for PEI took its toll and he died in office in October, 1933, but not before he accomplished his objective of obtaining a larger grant for the Island.
James David Stewart's political career began in the boom era of the 1920's when agriculture and fox farming flourished. As it ended, the economic hardships of the depression, prevalent throughout North America, were beginning to be felt on PEI. Stewart is buried in the People's Protestant Cemetery in Charlottetown.