Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William John Watson (1849-1907)

Click to enlargeGrocery merchant.

Born at Toronto, Ontario in 26 July 1849, son of William Watson and Elizabeth Barnett, he was educated at Toronto and at Seaforth, where the family moved while he was a child. At the age of 21, he enlisted as a member of the Wolseley Expedition, attached to Number 4 Company of the First Ontario Rifles, coming to Manitoba in 1870. Discharged as a sergeant, he decided to remain in Manitoba, finding work with the grocery business of W. H. Lyon & Company. He became bookkeeper of the firm when, in 1882, it was bought and renamed Powis & MacKenzie. He became a partner in the firm in 1903, which became known as K. MacKenzie & Company.

In 1875, he married Elizabeth Kaufman, a daughter of Swiss immigrants who accompanied the Selkirk settlers to Manitoba. They had two children: Mrs. J. C. Thompson and William K. Watson. He was a member of IOOF, Masons, and Knox Church. He died at Edmonton, Alberta on 4 June 1907.


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Pioneer merchant dies at Edmonton”, Manitoba Free Press, 5 June 1907, page 1.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 April 2010

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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