Memorable Manitobans: Albert Clements Killam (1849-1908)
Lawyer, MLA (1883-1886), judge.
Born at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on 18 September 1849, son of George Killam and grandson of Thomas Killam, he was educated at the University of Toronto (BA, silver medalist in mathematics and in modern languages, and Prince of Wales prize; 1872). After being called to the Ontario Bar in 1877, he first practised law at Windsor and moved to Manitoba in 1879. He was elected Liberal member from South Winnipeg in the 1883 provincial general election, defeating C. R. Tuttle. He served as a Bencher for the Law Society of Manitoba from 1882 to 1885, was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1884, and practiced law briefly with the firm of Killam, Richards, Brophy & Vivian.
He was appointed to the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench early in 1885. One of his first cases was the appeal of Louis Riel, which led to a concurrence in the judgment against the Métis leader. In 1890 he upheld the provincial government in its effort to establish a single public school system, a decision ultimately upheld by the Privy Council. He was elevated to Chief Justice in 1899. In 1903 he was promoted to the Supreme Court—the first judge appointed to the Court from the West. In 1905, he left the Bench to become first Chief Commissioner of the Board of Railway Commissioners, serving until his death.
He married Minnie Whyte (?-?) of Windsor and they had a son, George Knight Killam. His residence in Winnipeg was designed in 1893 by architect Charles H. Wheeler. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society, in 1879, and President of the Manitoba Club (1900-1902).
Killam died at Ottawa, Ontario on 1 March 1908 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.
“Chairman Killam of Railway Commission expires suddenly,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 March 1908, page 1.
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: 30 May 2019