Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Lawrence William Herchmer (1840-1915)

Indian agent, police officer.

Born at Shipton-on-Cherwell, England in 1840, son of Rev. William Herchmer, he was descended from United Empire Loyalists. Educated at Henley-on-Thames, Trinity College (Toronto), and the Royal Military Academy (Woolwich), he became supply officer to the 1872 Boundary Commission, and in 1874 opened a brewery in Winnipeg. In 1876 he was appointed Indian Agent at Birtle and he was successful enough to become inspector of Indian Agencies for the North West Territories in 1885. A year later he became commissioner of the North West Mounted Police. By 1890 there were accusations against him of wrongdoing but nothing was ever proved. He volunteered for service in the Boer War in South Africa in 1900, where he became embroiled in further controversy. He died unmarried at Vancouver, British Columbia on 18 February 1915. He is commemorated by the Herchmer siding on the Herchmer Subdivision of the Hudson Bay Railway.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Herchmer House (675 St. Claire Street, Birtle, Municipality of Prairie View)

Red Coats on the Prairies: The North-West Mounted Police, 1886-1900 by William Beahan and Stan Horrall (1998).

Lawrence William Herchmer, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIV, 482-85.

Arc of the Medicine Line: Mapping the World's Longest Undefended Border Across the Western Plains by Tony Rees (Douglas & McIntyre, 2007).

Sources:

“Colonel Herchmer dies at Vancouver”, Winnipeg Telegram, 19 February 1915 [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B6]

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 July 2018

Memorable Manitobans

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