Memorable Manitobans: William Alexander Elliott (1866-1957)
Born at Wingham, Ontario on 18 August 1866, son of John Elliott and Annie Irwin, he was educated at local schools and at Degolia, Pennsylvania, leaving school at the age of 15 to work for three years on the family farm. In 1886, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean to London, England in charge of a shipment of cattle, returning the next year to apprentice as a carpenter at Auburn, Ontario. He moved to Toronto in early 1889 then on to Chicago the next year. He worked for the Chicago Edison Light Company from 1891 to 1893 installing electric light equipment. While there he took a course in architecture at the Chicago Polytechnic Institute. Ill health compelled him to return to Canada.
In 1894 he went to New York City, taking a three-year course in architecture from the Pallace School of Architecture. He then opened an architectural practice at Anaconda, Montana, staying there until 1899 when he moved to Brandon and continued to work as an architect. A few years later, he opened a branch office at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. In April 1913, he was appointed an inspector for the new Legislative Building being constructed in Winnipeg.
On 9 November 1898, he married Hester Eldridge (1879-1946) at Anaconda, Montana. They had eight children: Egbert Eldridge Elliott (1899-1971), Louis John Elliott (1901-?), William Harris Elliott (1902-?), Allegra Elliott (1903-?), Stanley Henderson Elliott (1904-?), James Alexander Elliott (1906-?), Justice Henderson Elliott (1909-?), and Myrtle Elliott (1911-?). During the winter the family resided at 116 Eleventh Street, Brandon and in the summer they lived at the corner of Fourth Street and Richmond Avenue. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was active in conservative politics in Brandon. He performed throughout Canada and the USA in an orchestra, with his wife and children, called “The Elliott Family Orchestra.”
He died at Vancouver, British Columbia on 2 April 1957 and was buried there.
Some of his architectural works in Manitoba:
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
“Two lives are lost in fire at Belmont,” Free Press Prairie Farmer, 5 November 1919, page 3.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950 by Robert G. Hill, Toronto.
We thank Charmeyn Sinclaire, Nathan Kramer, and Rob McInnes for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 22 February 2023