Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 138 years

 


MHS
Events


Manitoba
History

No. 84


This Old
Elevator


Abandoned
Manitoba


War
Memorials
in Manitoba


Digitized
Local History
Books


Memorable
Manitobans


Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans: William Gomez da Fonseca (1823-1905)

Click to enlarge

William Gomez da Fonseca
Click to enlarge

Merchant, municipal official.

Born at Santa Croix in the Danish West Indies, perhaps of Creole background. His full name was Don Derigo Nojada Gomez da Silva Fonseca. He migrated to New York, where he became an American citizen, then moved to Wisconsin and Minnesota and, in 1860, to Winnipeg. With the capital obtained from the load of goods he had transported from Minnesota, he purchased a lot on Maple Avenue where the old family home was located for many years. The original building was a log cabin used both as a store and for living quarters.

He lectured on the West Indies and was regarded highly enough to be considered for the post of American consul that went to Oscar Malmros. In 1869 he was carting and freighting. He was arrested by Louis Riel on 13 December and released two days later upon the surrender of his American citizenship papers.

In 1876 he began publication of the Manitoba Weekly Herald which proved unprofitable and was discontinued after a short time. He assisted in planning the streets in the northern part of Winnipeg and named many thoroughfares. His property investments comprised most of Point Douglas. He prepared a bird’s-eye map of the city. He believed in the navigability of Hudson Bay and wrote a lengthy review of the subject. He endeavoured to further the interest of the Hudson Bay Railroad. He served as a Winnipeg City Alderman for the North Ward for six terms, a member of the Church of England, and a vestryman in St. John’s Cathedral for 36 years.

In 1865 he married Margaret Ann Logan, a daughter of Thomas Logan and a niece of Alexander Logan. They had ten children: Mrs. G. G. Nagy, Benjamin G. Fonseca, Albert G. Fonseca, Alfred G. Fonseca, Mrs. A. F. McClellan, Alfonso G. Fonseca, Margaret Fonseca, Sarestha Gomez Fonseca (1880-?), Gordon Leslie Fonseca (1882-?), and Elsidore Fonseca.

He died in Winnipeg on 22 April 1905 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. He is commemorated by Gomez Street in Winnipeg. There are papers at the Archives of Manitoba.

His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

On the St. Paul Trail in the Sixties
MHS Transactions Series 1, No. 56, read 26 January 1900, Winnipeg: Manitoba Free Press.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: First School in Winnipeg (39 Maple Street, Winnipeg)

From Palms to Maples by Albert G. Fonseca (1992).

William Gomez da Fonseca, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIII, 350-51.

Sources:

Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“A pioneer passes into eternity,” Manitoba Free Press, 24 April 1905, page 8.

“Early settler of city dead,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 April 1905, page 10.

A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

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.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 June 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z | 2017


Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at biographies@mhs.mb.ca

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Our Inspiration | Acknowledgements

Support the MHS and

Back to top of page

   


To report an error on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations Policy

© 1998-2017 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.