Born at Chatham, Ontario on 20 June 1863, son of Job and Martha Payne, he was educated at Charing Cross. He commenced a career as a printer at Chatham in 1876. Four years later, he was employed by John W. Bengough, cartoonist-owner of Grip, a weekly humour magazine.
He came to Winnipeg in 1881 and started work as a compositor at the Manitoba Free Press. He soon became the foreman of the composing room. Payne then became telegraph editor and superintendent of the composing room, with jurisdiction over both night and day foremen. Eventually he was promoted to news editor and for thirty-five years served as the executive head of the news department. For many years he was also a stringer for Reuters news agency and later a correspondent for the London Times. In his last years with the Free Press, Payne was Assistant Managing Editor in charge of special issues and features.
In 1905, he married Daisy Adelaide Blackburn (?-?) of Detroit, Michigan and they had one son and two daughters. An active curler, he was an honorary life member and President of the Manitoba Curling Association (1894-1895), President of the Thistle Curling Club (1893-1897), and President of the Strathcona Curling Club (1909-1910).
He died in Winnipeg on 25 November 1930 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. He is commemorated by Payne Street in Winnipeg and was inducted posthumously into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame (2008).
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
A Cloak For Something Far Deeper: The Press Coverage of the Winnipeg General Strike by Michael Dupuis, unpublished manuscript.
Obituary, Manitoba Free Press, 26 November 1930.
“Walter F. Payne, pioneer newspaperman, is dead,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 November 1930.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Terry Webber and Rick Mutton for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 14 November 2022
This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.
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