Memorable Manitobans: Augustus Meredith Nanton (1860-1925)
Born at Toronto, Ontario on 7 May 1860, son of Augustus Nanton, brother of H. W. Nanton, he was educated at the Toronto Model School. He commenced business in a Toronto real estate office in 1873, and two years later, entered the employ of Pellatt & Osler, later Osler & Hammond. He came to Winnipeg in 1884, and opened the office of Osler, Hammond and Nanton.
He held a number of positions in business: Vice-President of the Great-West Life Assurance Company, Managing Director of the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company, Director of the Dominion Bank, Director of the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company, Director of the Northern Trust Company, Director of the Manitoba Bridge and Iron Works, Governor of the Winnipeg General Hospital, and President of the Winnipeg Board of Trade. In 1910 he was listed by the Winnipeg Telegram as one of Winnipeg’s 19 millionaires. After a long career in Winnipeg, he was elected President of the Dominion Bank and returned to Toronto in 1924.
His first wife, Georgina Hope Hespeler (?-1887), who he married in 1886 and had daughter Mary Georgina Nanton (b 1887), died due to complications of childbirth. On 17 November 1894, he married Ethel Constance Clark, with whom he had six children: Augustus Colborne Nanton (1895-1897), Constance Rosalie Nanton (b 1898), Marguerite Nanton (b 1900), Edward Augustus Nanton (b 1901), Paul Clark Nanton, and Augustus Harry Nanton (b 1906).
The Nanton home in Winnipeg was called Kilmorie. He was President of the Manitoba Patriotic Fund during the First World War, and was knighted in 1917 for his war work. During the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 he personally patrolled his grounds at Kilmorie because of threats against him, and his barn at Rosser was burned down by an arsonist. He was a member of the Lakewood Country Club and Manitoba Club, and a founding member and President of the St. Charles Country Club.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
The Leading Financial, Business & Professional Men of Winnipeg, published by Edwin McCormick, Photographs by T. J. Leatherdale, Compiled and printed by Stone Limited, c1913. [copy available at the Archives of Manitoba]
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“Builder, patriot relished role,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 September 2014, page B9.
We thank Ethel Mosley and David Nanton for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 7 September 2015
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