Memorable Manitobans: Samuel Whitford (1820-1911)
Born at Selkirk in 1820, for many years he was employed as a boatman in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company, making one or two trips annually to York Factory. He married in 1844 and had four children.
Around 1851, with a party led by the Reverend William Cochrane, he moved to Portage la Prairie, where a self-governing colony, to be independent of the rule of the Council of Assiniboia, was formed. This new colony, called the Republic of Manitobah, was governed by a council selected by the people, consisting of a police magistrate and four minor magistrates, of which Whitford was one. There, he took up the practice of carpentry.
In 1865, he and his young family moved to the Upper Saskatchewan valley, where he joined the settlement of Victoria (Me-him-wass in Cree) in the Province of Alberta and worked as a carpenter, farmer, and occasional bison hunter. He moved to Edwand, North West Territories (now Alberta) around 1901 and died there on 18 November 1911.
“Historic figure passes,” Winnipeg Telegram 1 December 1911. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B5]
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
We thank Russell Whitford for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 2 July 2022