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Memorable Manitobans: Alphonse Fortunat Martin (1849-1905)

Click to enlargeSurveyor, MLA (1875-1878), MLA (1886-1888), MLA (1888-1892), MLA (1892-1895).

Born at Rimouski, Canada East, 14 May 1849, the son of Henri Martin and Marie Dessein, he was educated at Rimouski College, and later studied surveying and civil engineering. In 1871 he was admitted as a Dominion Land Surveyor.

In 1872 he came to Manitoba and settled in the town of West Lynn on the international boundary. He was employed on various early surveys, including that of the parish of Ste. Agathe. In 1874 he was elected to the Legislature representing Ste. Agathe, and the following year he was chosen to lead the opposition. He was defeated in the elections of 1879 and 1883, and in 1886 was successful in the constituency of Morris. He was a supporter of the “Manitoba first” principle, and an advocate of the extensionof the Province’s boundary to Hudson Bay. He was a champion of the separate school system, and in 1891 he debated the subject in the House for nine hours continuously. After retiring from politics he resumed land surveying and continued to practise his profession until the time of his death. He wrote Martin on Practical Surveys in 1883.

In 1876 he married Louisa Radiger (?-1927), daughter of lawyer John Radiger and sister of C. W. Radiger and E. F. Radiger. They had eleven children.

He died at Winnipeg on 8 February 1905. He is commemorated by Martin Avenue.

Sources:

A Political Manual of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories by J. P. Robertson, Winnipeg: Call Printing Company, 1887.

J. A. Gemmill (editor), The Canadian Parliamentary Companion, 1887. Canadiana.org.

Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

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

“Mrs. Louisa Martin, Winnipeg pioneer, dies”, Manitoba Free Press, 27 December 1927, page 6.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 July 2010

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