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Manitoba History No. 89
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Memorable Manitobans: William John Black (1872-1941)

Journalist, educator, civil servant.

Born in Dufferin County, Ontario on 29 November 1872, son of William Black and Mary Jane McMahon, he attended the Ontario Agricultural College, receiving his BSA in 1901. He came to Winnipeg to become Editor-in-Chief of the Farmer’s Advocate. In 1905 he became Deputy Minister of Agriculture, first President of the Manitoba Agricultural College, and Professor of Animal Husbandry.

During the First World War he became federal commissioner of the Agricultural Instruction Act from 1916 to 1918, while also serving as chair of the Soldier Settlement Board of Canada and Deputy Minister of Immigration and Colonization. After some time in Europe as manager of the Canadian Northern Railway’s Department of Colonization, in 1924 he became Director of the CNR’s Colonization and Development Department, from which he retired in 1938. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Manitoba in 1932.

He died at his residence in Westmount, Quebec on 22 December 1941. He was inducted posthumously into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Sources:

Ontario birth registration, Ancestry.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Dr. W. J. Black dies Monday in Quebec,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 December 1941. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 109]

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 December 2013

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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