Memorable Manitobans: William John Short (1864-1939)
Farmer, municipal official, MLA (1922-1927).
Born in Wellington County, Ontario on 22 September 1864, he was educated in Grey County. On 10 August 1885, he married Matilda Jane Bumstead (1866-1927) at Owen Sound then they moved to the Shoal Lake area of Manitoba in 1889, farming SE6-17-24 west of Kelloe. They had seven children: Hugh Samuel Short (1887-1952), Gerald Thomas Atkins Short (1890-?), William Harold Short (1892-?), John Allan “Jack” Short (1896-?), Alice Victoria Short (1898-1983, wife of Dawson Wake Findlay), Lyla Winnifred “Winnie” Short (1902-1989, wife of James L. Smith and Arthur Kendall Stratton), and Wilbert Earl Short (1905-?).
In 1900, the family moved to 34-16-23W immediately southeast of Shoal Lake. He opened a butcher shop, became interested in buying and selling cattle, and wound up as one of the most successful livestock dealers in western Manitoba. He raised Shorthorn cattle and was among the first breeders to import breeding stock from Scotland.
He served on the council of the Rural Municipality of Shoal Lake from 1902 to 1907, then as Reeve until Fall 1922 when he resigned to contest a seat in the 1922 provincial general election as the member for Birtle constituency, defeating William Iverach. On his retirement from provincial politics, he was prevailed upon to re-enter municipal life and served as Reeve from January 1928 to the Fall of 1932. He never contested a municipal election, being always elected by acclamation. By this time, he had retired from farming and made his home with his daughter, Winnifred Smith, who worked as Secretary of the Rural Municipality of Shoal Lake.
Short died on 9 July 1939 after being in failing health and confined to bed during the last year of his life, and was buried in the Shoal Lake Cemetery.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 and 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
1916 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.
Obituary, Western Municipal News, July 1939, page 190.
Obituary [Alice V. Findlay], Winnipeg Free Press, 2 June 1983, page 55.
Obituary [Lyla Winnifred Stratton], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 December 1989, page 27.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Reid Dickie and Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 3 August 2022