Memorable Manitobans: David Elder Adams (1859-1919)

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David Elder Adams
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Coal merchant.

Born at Beaverton, Ontario on 26 April 1859, son of John and Mary Adams, he was educated at local public schools. He commenced his career as a telegraph operator in Beaverton, afterwards in Toronto. He was married to Charlotte Soper of Albert Lee, Minnesota in 1884 and had four children when he came west to Winnipeg from Ontario. He started working with the Northwest Fuel Company with headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. This was the only coal business in Winnipeg at the time and was later sold to the Dominion Coal Company, of which Adams was manager from 1885 to 1895.

Adams was also connected with the Souris Valley Coal Company which mined and shipped coal from the Souris River Valley. He sold his interest in this latter concern in 1900. In 1903 he became interested in Alberta coal, and the following year Tabor Coal Mining Company was launched and he was secretary and selling agent. This company afterwards sold out to companies in St. Paul and Minneapolis, who were the principals in the formation of the Canada West Coal and Coke Company. The company grew to such an extent that it was changed into a stock company and was known as the D. E. Adams Coal Company Ltd.

He was a member of the Board of Managers of Augustine Presbyterian Church, a charter member of the Winnipeg Rowing Club Building Committee, and a Mason, connected with the Ancient Landmark Lodge, as well as the Scottish Rite. He was a member of the Manitoba Club and AF & AM. He enjoyed bowling and golf. Politically he was Independent, and in religion a Presbyterian. In 1911, he lived at 90 Roslyn Road, Winnipeg.

He died at Pasadena, California in April 1919.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Turtle Mountain Coal Mines Plaque (Municipality of Brenda-Waskada)


A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

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.

The Leading Financial, Business & Professional Men of Winnipeg, published by Edwin McCormick, Photographs by T. J. Leatherdale, Compiled and printed by Stone Limited, c1913. [copy available at the Archives of Manitoba]

Northern Who’s Who; A Biographical Dictionary of Men and Women” by Dr. C. W. Parker, 1916.

“D. E. Adams, Pioneer Business Man, Dead,” newspaper clipping dated 4 April 1919. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B7]

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 January 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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