Memorable Manitobans: John W. Wilton (1879-1942)
Lawyer, MLA (1916-1920), journalist.
Born at High Bluff on 27 January 1879, son of Henry Wilton and Jean Barron (c1852-1920), he was educated at the Morden Public School and Manitoba College. He taught school in Manitoba from 1896 to 1901, including at McCreery School. He moved to Winnipeg in 1902 and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1906. By 1911, he was a barrister with the firm of Wilton, McMurray, DeLorme and Davidson, located in the McIntyre Block.
On 6 September 1905, he married Lily Laura Hobkirk (1878-1927) of Winnipeg. They had two daughters: Helen Lenora Wilton (?-?) and Audrey Iona Wilton (1911-1946). Defeated in the 1914 provincial election, he was elected in 1915 where he introduced the Workmen’s Compensation Bill, providing for private coverage by insurance companies rather than state funding. He then enlisted as a private in the Canadian army, returning to Winnipeg with the rank of Captain. Defeated in the 1920 provincial general election, he was also unsuccessful in the 1921 federal general election. Between January 1932 and November 1942, he published a weekly newspaper called Wilton’s Review, copies of which are held at the Legislative Library of Manitoba.
He died at Winnipeg on 10 December 1942 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. His unpublished autobiography is at the Archives of Manitoba.
Marriage and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
“Henry Wilton, west pioneer, dies aged 83,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 October 1931. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9]
“Death ends fighting career of J. W. Wilton,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 December 1942. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 121]
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
Tiger Hills to the Assiniboine - A History of Treherne and Surrounding District by Treherne Area History Committee, page 62.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
We thank Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 29 January 2023