Memorable Manitobans: William Patterson Smith (1850-1937)
Businessman, municipal official.
Born at St. Mary’s, Ontario on 10 June 1850, son of William Patterson Smith and Elizabeth McBride, he worked at a saw mill and machine business until August 1874 when he came to Manitoba, settling at Portage la Prairie and taking up a farmstead. That fall he returned to Winnipeg and assisted in putting the first Silsby fire engine (Assiniboine No. 1) at the city. He was an engineer with the Winnipeg Fire Department for the next year and a half then he returned to Portage and ran a saw mill until 1883. He then went into the brick manufacturing business. He also operated a farm near Edrans.
In 1879 he became a member of the Portage and Lakeside Agricultural Society, served ten years as its President. He served as a councillor for the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie and also several terms on the Portage Town Council. In 1886 and 1888 he ran unsuccessfully against Joe Martin for a seat in the provincial legislature. In 1901 he was appointed Superintendent of the Home For Incurables at Portage la Prairie.
In 1875, he married Angelina Elliot (1856-1886) of Winnipeg and they had seven children: Lilla Smith (?-?, wife of Robert V. Turner), Horace Edward Smith (1877-?), William A. Smith (1879-?), Fred J. Smith (1880-?), Edith M. Smith (1881-?), Mabel Jane Smith (1884-?, wife of W. J. Moffat), and Inna M. Smith (1886-?). After his wife’s death, he married again to Mary Holmes (1865-?) of Wellington. They had five children: Ada Smith (?-?), Earl John Smith (1890-?), Winnie Smith (1893-?), Olive Smith (1895-?), and Hattie Smith (?-?). He was a charter member of the AF & AM (Assiniboine Lodge).
He moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1915 where he died on 28 January 1937.
Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
“W. P. Smith, who built city’s first steam fire engine, is dead,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 January 1937, page 5.
We thank Robert Smith for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 May 2020