Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Adoniram Cates (1842-1905)

Farmer, soldier, municial official.

Born at Wakefield, Quebec on 14 February 1842, he served as a Major in the 43rd Regiment of the Standing Army. Shortly after the Canadian Pacific Railway reached Winnipeg in the early 1880s, he arrived in Manitoba with his three oldest sons. They bought cattle and, in the summer of 1883, drove a team of horses from Brandon to a homestead on the west half of 22-4-25W, in what would later become Napinka in the Rural Municipality of Brenda. It is said that he named the municipality for his daughter.

He was married twice, first to Eliza Diana Hamilton (1840-1880) with whom he had eight children: Ida Cates, Rufus Cates (1867-1949), Clara Cates (1869-1952), Rhoda Cates (1869-1950), Nicholas Cates (1871-1966), and Alexander Kippen Cates. His second wife Florence Isabel Hamilton (?-?) had a daughter, Brenda Hamilton Cates (1888-1964, wife of Eugene Lucas).

In 1885, during the North West Rebellion, he enlisted as a Captain in the 91st Battalion of the Winnipeg Rifles. He was later the Reeve of Brenda in 1890. In 1891, with the arrival of a railway in the area, he built a store. He served as the postmaster of Napinka from 1892 to 1901, but was dismissed for political partisanship.

He died on 30 October 1904 and was buried in the Napinka Cemetery.


Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Obituary [Nicholas Cates], Brandon Sun, 21 March 1966, page 13.

Bridging Brenda: The History of Brenda Municipality and Area by Brenda History Committee, 1990.

Post Offices and Postmasters of Canada, Library and Archives Canada.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 29 September 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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