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Memorable Manitobans: John Edward Wilson (1878-1956)

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John Edward Wilson
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Building contractor.

Born at Renfrew, Ontario on 22 May 1878, son of James Wilson and Mary Ann Macmillan, both of his parents died by the time he was three years of age. He went to live with the Garvey family south of Buckingham, Quebec until he ran away three and a half years later and walked to Ottawa. He was admitted to the St. Patrick’s Catholic Orphans’ Home which placed him as a helper on the farm of Hugh McKay at Metcalfe, Ontario. He left in 1891 to work at sawmills, a lumber camp, and a woolen mill.

In the spring of 1895, he traveled west, arriving at Pilot Mound where he worked as a farmhand and carpenter. He took a course at the Winnipeg Business College and continued carpentry work in Manitoba and in New York. Returning to Winnipeg in February 1902, he began buying lots and constructing homes on them for sale. He built several apartment blocks, including the Bieldey-Abber, Preston Court, Rosetta, and Almont, as well as the Winnipeg Sanatorium. He was a member of the Greater Winnipeg Builders Exchange.

During the First World War, he served with the Royal Canadian Engineers. Returning afterwards, he worked in the building trade at Chicago, Illinois. He later returned to Winnipeg.

On 26 February 1902, he married Christina Reddy (?-1910). They had three children: Mrs. F. C. Anderson, Mrs. Bruce Amos, and Oliver Edward Wilson (b 1904). After his wife’s death in 1910, he married Rose M. Weightman, on 2 April 1913. He attended the Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches, and was a member of the IOOF, Order of Foresters, and Adanac Club.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 244 Logan Avenue (Suite 16), and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.


Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

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

Attestation Papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 26 April 1956, page 41.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 December 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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