James Duthie, pioneer stockman and farmer, was born in Cummiston, Aberdeen, Scotland of a notable livestock family, the Duthies of Collynie. Duthie came to Canada in 1880 and attended the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, where he learned Canadian farming methods. Moving west in 1882, Duthie took up land near Hartney, Manitoba where he farmed for 50 years.
Duthie’s farming operations prospered and he became one of the best known and highly respected farmers of the province. At the time of his death, he was a candidate for the Master Farmer Medal. Duthie owned two sections of land; one was choice wheat land while the other section was ideal for stock-raising. He usually kept 75 head of cattle. His Shorthorns were in good demand for breeding purposes. In recognition of his contribution to agriculture and especially to Shorthorn breeding, he was awarded an agricultural diploma by the Manitoba Agricultural College. Duthie served for many years on the advisory board of the M.A.C. and was chairman for one year. He was also president of the Manitoba Cattle Breeders’ Association.
In addition to his success as a farmer, he was a public-spirited citizen. When the Hartney Agricultural Society was formed, he became its first president and was an active member for 39 years. He was a municipal councillor, a school trustee and a life-long member of the Presbyterian Church. Duthie was held in high regard by his friends. One friend wrote: “Strength and uprightness with peace, gentleness, goodness and faith were evidence of his high character.”