Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Beech (1850-1927)

Railwayman, businessman.

Born near Hull, Yorkshire, England on 7 May 1850, he emigrated to Canada with his parents in 1854 and farmed near Toronto, Upper Canada [Ontario]. He moved to Winnipeg in 1878 and worked in railway construction for a time before taking up farming southeast of Morden. He then returned to railway construction, grading much of the Manitoba and Northwestern Railway line between Portage la Prairie and Minnedosa, the Deloraine Branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and in 1885 the first 40 miles of the Hudson Bay Railway that later became the Oak Point Branch of the Canadian National Railway.

He then engaged in a variety of work, including railway construction with Strevel, Schultz and McArthur, and shipping of horses, cattle and sheep from Alberta to British Columbia. He participated, along with Stephen Nairn, Nicholas Bawlf, Samuel Spink, Rodmond Roblin, Daniel McMillan, and Charles Bell in the organization of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. A staunch advocate of the Hudson Bay railway, he travelled to Fort Churchill in 1905 and again in 1906, where he registered a homestead claim, the first issued at that northerly location. He was a long-time member of the AF & AM (Prince Rupert Lodge).

He died at his Winnipeg home, 860 Palmerston Avenue, on 31 January 1927 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.

Sources:

“William Beech dies after month's illness,” newspaper clipping dated 1 February 1927 [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B8]

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 29 July 2018

Memorable Manitobans

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