Memorable Manitobans: Samuel Clarke Biggs (1851-1911)
Lawyer, MLA (1878-1879).
Born at Ancaster, Wentworth County, Ontario on 8 October 1851, son of Richard Biggs and Eleanor Wood, nephew of Edmund Burke Wood, he was educated at Ancaster, Victoria College (Cobourg), and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1872. He studied law in Toronto and came to Winnipeg in 1875, becoming senior partner in the law firm of Biggs, Dawson, and Curran.
He was one of the founders and principal proprietors of the Winnipeg Daily Sun, and was active in the Law Society of Manitoba. He helped to prepare the University Act and was a member of the original convocation of the University of Manitoba in 1877. He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature for the constituency of St. Paul’s in 1878, and acted as Minister of Public Works for part of 1879.
He served as a Bencher of the Law Society (1877-1886), and President (1885-1886). He was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society (1879), a Winnipeg School Trustee (1879-1880) and School Superintendent (1880-1881). He was a Liberal candidate for the Emerson constituency in the 1886 provincial general election but was defeated by incumbent Charles Stanford Douglas. In 1888, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where he practiced law before returning to Toronto in 1892.
In July 1875, he married Emily Orythia Atkinson (1856-1915, daughter of Rev. Thomas Atkinson) and they had four sons, all born in Manitoba: Samuel Percy Biggs (1877-1954), Richard A. L. Biggs (1878-?), George M. Biggs (1879-?), and Stanley C. Biggs (1881-?).
He died at Toronto, Ontario on 27 September 1911.
1881 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Hon. Samuel Clarke Biggs, The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography of Living Characters by Henry James Morgan, 1912, page 101.
“Hon. Samuel Biggs dies at Toronto,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 September 1911. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B5]
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Samuel Percy Biggs, Ancestry.
We thank Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 4 January 2021