Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Piritte Argue (1867-1965)

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William Piritte Argue
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Born at Newmarket, Ontario on 2 August 1867, the eldest of seven children of Reverend Thomas Argue and Hannah Starrat [Starratt] (1840-1913), brother of Thomas Edgar Argue, he came to Manitoba and graduated from Manitoba College with a BA degree. He commenced teaching school in 1884, first in rural schools, including Greenwood School (1889), and was Principal of Neepawa School (1890-1891), Junior Collegiate in Brandon (1892-1893), Central School No. 1 (1893-1895) in Winnipeg, and Portage Collegiate Institute (1895-1901). He then succeeded Dr. E. A. Blakely, serving two years as chief clerk of the Department of Education for the Province of Manitoba (1901-1903), and was replaced in the position by Robert Fletcher.

In 1903, Argue moved to Vancouver, British Columbia where he worked as Superintendent of Vancouver City Schools and was a live insurance salesman, leaving the latter career in 1933. He later served as Secretary to the Board of Governors of the University of British Columbia, and was a member of the University Senate and the Board of Governors for Union College. He retired from the latter position in 1958. On 3 August 1898, he married Orpha May Bell (1876-1964) at Portage la Prairie. They had three children: Grace Bell Argue (1899-1899), Ralph Starratt Argue (1900-1957), and William Argue (1904-?).

He died at Vancouver, British Columbia on 30 May 1965 and his cremains were interred in the Mountain View Cemetery.


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.

Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

“Manitoba University,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 10 May 1887, page 4.

“Personal [W. P. Argue],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 22 April 1889, page 4.

“Personal [Mr. W. P. Argue],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 6 January 1890, page 4.

“Happy holidays [W. P. Argue],” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 4 July 1891, page 8.

“Neepawa,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 11 August 1891, page 8.

“The reportorial round [W. P. Argue],” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 12 January 1892, page 8.

“The reportorial round [W. P. Argue],” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 14 January 1892, page 8.

“From the Wheat City,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 24 October 1892, page 4.

“A new appointment,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 23 September 1893, page 2.

“A breeze from Wesley,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 28 October 1893, page 5.

“Principal Argue resigns,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 3 August 1895, page 6.

“"[At a meeting of the school management committee ...],” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 7 August 1895, page 8.

Ante Nos Scientia: Portage Collegiate Institute 1882-2005 by Lisa Pao with Barry Bills, Portage Collegiate Institute Reunion Committee, 2005.

We thank Grace Jacobs for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 17 August 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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