Memorable Manitobans: Walter Selkirk Newton (1881-1950)
Born at Quebec City on 30 October 1881, son of Charles Henry Newton and Frances Frazer (1851-1907), he came to Winnipeg as a boy. In the early 20th century, he went to Calgary, Alberta where he worked for the G. F. and J. Galt Company. He returned to Winnipeg before the First World War to join the Traders’ Trust Company founded by his father. In February 1917, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and served in Russia until 1919. He received the Military Cross and Order of St. Stanislas, returning to Canada with the rank of Major. By 1925, he was the proprietor of W. S. Newton & Co., Trustees, Liquidators and Financial Agents, located at 500-6, Great West Permanent Building, in Winnipeg. He was one of the early developers of the Alberta oil fields and at one time was connected with commercial fishing and transportation in Manitoba. The steamboat W. S. Newton was named for him.
He married Sybil Becher (1892-1953) and they had four children: Hugh Newton, Maxine Newton (wife of football star Melvin L. “Fritz” Hanson), ? Newton (wife of James Clark), and Joan Newton. An enthusiastic horseman, he exhibited horses at shows across Canada, including at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. As a sportsman, he introduced the Hungarian partridge into North America, between 1908 and 1914. He was a member of the Anglican church, Masons, Carleton Club, Manitoba Club, St. Charles Country Club, Manitoba Motor League, and Winnipeg Winter Club. In the early part of the Second World War, he commanded the Manitoba branch of the Legion of Frontiersmen.
He died at the Deer Lodge Hospital on 20 May 1950 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“Sgt. Fritz Hanson marries at coast,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 August 1942, page 13.
“W. S. Newton, businessman, sportsman dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 May 1950, page 13.
Obituary [Sybil Newton], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 September 1953, page 6.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 December 2021