Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Charles Henry Dancer (1850-1939)

Civil servant.

Born at Manchester, England in April 1850, he was educated at Old Trafford School and St. Owens College where he received a degree in civil engineering. He emigrated to Minnesota in 1880 where he worked on construction of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway in Dakota Territory. In the following year he moved to Winnipeg and began work for the Canadian Pacific Railway. From 1885, he worked for about twelve years in the Manitoba and North-Western railway, based at Portage la Prairie, and was in charge of construction of a railway line from Minnedosa to Yorkton. In 1897 he went to British Columbia where he was in charge of construction of twenty miles of railway in the Crow’s Nest Pass. He returned to Winnipeg in 1897, and in 1898 joined the Department of Public Works where he became Chief Engineer in 1905 and Deputy Minister in 1907. He retired in 1916 and was succeeded by Stephen Clifford Oxton. He and wife Emma Pilling (1854-1936) had three children: Kathleen Dancer (1880-1961, wife of George Purves), Charles James Dancer (1882-1960), and Harold Dancer (1883-1926). He died at Winnipeg on 25 September 1939 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Harold Dancer death follows bullet wound,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 February 1926, page 6.

Obituary [Emma Dancer], Winnipeg Tribune, 3 August 1936, page 15.

“Charles H. Dancer, former provincial official, succumbs,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 September 1939. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9]

Obituary [Charles James Dancer], Winnipeg Free Press, 28 September 1960, page 26.

Death registration [Kathleen Purves], British Columbia Vital Statistics.

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

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 23 July 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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