Memorable Manitobans: William Bourke (1863-1943)
Born at St. James on 20 April 1863, son of Edwin Bourke and Isabella Hallett, during the 1885 North West Rebellion he served as a private in the 90th Battalion, afterwards with the 13th Field Battery and milia for six years. While living in Brandon, he served as a City Alderman for eight years, and chairman of the Finance and Assessment Committee, Water Works Department, Police Department, and Finance Committee. He was a member of the Returned Soldiers Association and the Brandon Public Parks Board, President of the Brandon Conservative Association, and President of the Federal Conservative Association of Brandon. He organized Wm. Bourke & Company, which specialized in agricultural implements and forwarding storage, disposing of the company in 1911 to Canadian Stoves Gas Engine Company. He was a Director of the Western Life Assurance Company and, for three years, he was engaged on the staff of Colonel Ruttan, city engineer of Winnipeg.
On 10 December 1887, he married Alice Walker (1867-?). They had five children: William Stanley Bourke (1889-1938), Florence May Bourke (1890-?), Edwin Roy Walker Bourke (1894-?), Douglas Edmund Bourke (1903-?), and Katherine Alice Bourke (1905-?). He was Reeve of the Municipality of Assiniboia (1904), a School Trustee and Secretary-Treasurer of the St. James School District, District Vice-President and member of the Council of the Provincial Conservative Association, and an unsuccessful candidate for the Assiniboia constituency in the 1922 provincial general election.
He died at the Winnipeg home of his daughter on 2 March 1943.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“William Bourke, 80, succumbs Tuesday,” newspaper clipping dated 3 March 1943. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 123]
We thank Ray Chapman, a great-grandson of Edwin Bourke, for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 5 June 2018
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