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Memorable Manitobans: William Buckingham (1832-1915)

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William Buckingham
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Author, journalist.

Born in Crediton, Devonshire, England, on 3 December 1832, son of Robert and Jane Buckingham, and educated there. His newspaper career began as a shorthand writer with the North of England Press. He came to Canada in 1857 and joined the parliamentary reporting staff of the Toronto Globe. In 1859 he proceeded to Red River in company with William Coldwell to found the first newspaper on the prairies, the Nor’Wester. The hand press was bought in Toronto and the equipment in St. Paul and all was transported by oxcart to Red River—a six-week trip. The first issue of the paper appeared on 28 December 1859. Although favourably received it was not a financial success.

Buckingham returned east in 1861 and became editor of the Simcoe Reformer. From 1863 to 1873 he was editor of the Stratford Beacon, and in 1866 he acted as the official reporter of the London Conference on the Confederation Bill. From 1873 to 1878 he was secretary to the Honourable Alexander Mackenzie. In 1878 he was appointed Deputy Minister of the Interior, from which office he was later dismissed. A political storm ensued. In 1881 he wrote a series of articles in the Toronto Globe on the possibilities of Manitoba as a farming district. He was president of the Canadian Press Association in 1868. He was also author of Recollections of Canadian Statesmen and joint author with Sir George Ross of The Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, His Life and Times (Toronto, 1892).

In 1863, he married Martha Phelps of Mount Pleasant, Ontario. They had six children, including A. G. Buckingham.

He died at Stratford, Ontario on 11 June 1915. He is commemorated by Buckingham Road in Winnipeg.


Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 August 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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