Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William John Ptolemy (1850-1920)

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William John Ptolemy
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Civil servant.

Born at Painsville (near Smithville), Ontario on 29 March 1850, son of John and Elizabeth Ptolemy and brother of Jessie I. Ptolemy, he was educated at local public schools. G.W. Railway Company of Canada, 1873-1875; on Government Telegraph Construction, 1875; in commercial life, 1876-1882; Deputy Provincial Treasurer since 1883; Municipal Commissioner for Manitoba, 1886; Commissioner in B.R. and Justice of the Peace over twenty years; Auditor, City of Winnipeg, 1882-1883; chartered accountant, Manitoba, since 1876.

In 1877, he married Isabella Muir of Winnipeg. They had six children: William G. Ptolemy (b 1878), Edna Isabella Ptolemy (b 1880, wife of John Gibb), Thomas Bertram Ptolemy (b 1883), Gertrude Ptolemy (b 1887, wife of Henry C. Kennedy), John A. Ptolemy (b 1888), and Laura Irene Ptolemy (b 1892, wife of Robert J. Cameron). He was a member of the Canadian Club, AF & AM, IOF, and AOUW. He listed recreations of golf, lawn bowling, and shooting.

Brother-in-law of R. H. Shanks.

He died at Winnipeg on 10 September 1920.


A Political Manual of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories by J. P. Robertson, Winnipeg: Call Printing Company, 1887.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

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.

“W. J. Ptolemy, veteran public servant, is dead,” newspaper clipping dated 10 August 1920. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B7]

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 November 2015

Memorable Manitobans

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