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Memorable Manitobans: William Johnston Tupper (1862-1947)

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William Johnston Tupper
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Lawyer, MLA (1921-1922), Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba (1934-1940).

Born at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 29 June 1862, son of Sir Charles Tupper and Frances Amelie Morst, brother of James Stewart Tupper, he was educated at Upper Canada College (Toronto), and Harvard Law School. He was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1885 and the Manitoba Bar in 1886. He joined the law firm of Macdonald, Tupper, Phippen and Tupper. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1913 and elected a Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba in 1915 and served as President of the latter from 1931 to 1933. During the 1885 North West Rebellion, he served as a private in the Halifax Battalion.

He was married to Margaret MacDonald, daughter of the Chief Justice MacDonald of Nova Scotia. They had five children: Catherine Gladys Tupper (1888-?), Frances Amelia Tupper (1889-?), Emma Lillian Tupper (1894-?, wife of Bertrand Stanley-Harris, mother of Daphne Korol), Edith Margaret Tupper (1895-?), and Charles William Tupper. He was Honorary President of the Army and Navy Veterans in Canada. Defeated in the 1914 and 1915 provincial general elections, he was elected for Winnipeg in the 1920 general election and served a single term, being defeated in the 1922 general election. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Synod of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land and the Council of St. John’s College. He was a member of the Manitoba Club, St. Charles Country Club, Adanac Club (of which he was its first President), and Southwood Golf Club. Conservative. Anglican. He lived at “Elmhurst” on Armstrong’s Point in Winnipeg. The University of Manitoba gave him an honorary doctorate in 1938.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 145 Middlegate, on 16 December 1947 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.

See also

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Albert Block (86 Albert Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Tupper House (155 East Gate, Winnipeg)


Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Four Winnipeg men are named King’s councillors,” Winnipeg Telegram, 2 January 1913. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B5]

The Leading Financial, Business & Professional Men of Winnipeg, published by Edwin McCormick, Photographs by T. J. Leatherdale, Compiled and printed by Stone Limited, c1913. [copy available at the Archives of Manitoba]

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

“Long leader in west, Hon. W. J. Tupper dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 December 1947, page 1.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 May 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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