Memorable Manitobans: George Henry Ham (1847-1926)
Journalist, municipal official, promotor, raconteur.
Born in Trenton, Ontario on 23 August 1847, he arrived in Winnipeg in 1875 and took a job as a journalist with the Manitoba Free Press. He witnessed the explosive growth of the city from a small fur trade post to a major metropolitan center. Within four years of his arrival, Ham had started his own newspaper, the Tribune (not affiliated with a later paper of the same name). In 1880, the Tribune merged with a foundering rival, the Times, and Ham became the Managing Editor of the new Winnipeg Times.
Ham ran the staunchly Conservative paper, which strongly favored the government of Sir John A. Macdonald, until it was sold in 1885 at which time he became the registrar of deeds for the county of Selkirk. In 1888, he wrote The New West, which promoted settlement in western Canada. He later returned to newspaper work until 1891 when William Van Horne enticed him to become the Advertising Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway, based in Montreal. He traveled extensively on behalf of the railway, crossing North America at least twice annually, visiting every state in the USA, with trips to Europe, Cuba, Mexico, and the Bahamas.
He served on the Winnipeg City Council in the1880s and was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society. He wrote books such as The New West (1888), which promoted business opportunities in the many new towns of Western Canada along the CPR lines, and the autobiographical Reminiscences of a Raconteur (1921). In 1922 he wrote the book The Miracle Man of Montreal, the story of Brother Andre (1845-1937).
He died in Montreal in 1926, at the age of 79 years. He is commemorated by Ham Street in Winnipeg.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 January 2017
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