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Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Bunn (1830-1875)

Click to enlargeFarmer, MLA (1871-1874).

Born in the Red River Settlement on 16 May 1830, the first son of John Bunn and Catherine Thomas. He was a farmer throughout his life in the Red River Colony. He settled in St. Andrew’s and married first (1854) Isabella Clouston (?-1857) and later (1859) Rachel Harriott. Among his children were Thomas W. G. Bunn and John Robert Bunn. He began living at Mapleton in 1861.

He served as clerk of the Council of Assiniboia and of the Quarterly Court from 1865 to 1869-70. In January 1868 he was appointed to the Council of Assiniboia. Although he spoke in favour of allowing Governor McDougall into the territory, like many of the English-speaking mixed-bloods he wanted decent terms from Canada, and subsequently he was usually regarded as a Riel supporter. Bunn chaired the open-air meeting of 19-20 January 1870 that heard from Donald A. Smith. He was one of those appointed to the committee to arrange the subsequent elections to the Convention of Forty. An English delegate to that convention from St. Clements, he was made secretary of state in the provisional government, serving until 24 June 1870.

Bunn survived the transition to a province without missing a step. He was called to the Manitoba Bar in June 1871 and was clerk to the first General Quarterly Court, held in May 1871. He had already been returned as a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) from St. Clements in the first election of December 1870. He continued to represent it until he died.

Bunn died on 11 April 1875. He is commemorated by Bunn’s Road in the Rural Municipality of St. Clements.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Bunn House (RM of St. Clements)

Thomas Bunn, Dictionary of Canadian Biography X, 111.

Sources:

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

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 23 May 2011

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