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Memorable Manitobans: William Newman (1866-1952)

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William Newman
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Civil engineer, building contractor.

Born at Tilbury West, Essex County, Ontario on 22 January 1866, one of ten children born to James Newman (1828-1901) and Mary Ann Hillier (?-?), he attended the Galt High School and the School of Practical Science at the University of Toronto, graduating from the latter in 1891 with a degree in civil engineering. He worked as a civil engineer at Windsor, being City Engineer from 1895 to 1905. Sometime before 1906, he moved to Winnipeg although his family remained at Windsor. He established the construction firm of William Newman and Company that was responsible for grading the tramway from Lac du Bonnet and Pointe du Bois, building numerous bridges around rural Manitoba, and other work. In the early 1930s, he also managed the Western Construction Company.

On 8 October 1891, he married Lorana “Laura” Wilkinson (1869-1918, daughter of John James Wilkinson) at Leamington, Ontario and they had three children: Earl Clinton “Clint” Newman (1892-1972), Lena Clara “Clare” Newman (1895-1954, wife of C. Morrell), and William Harold Newman (1906-1993). He was a member of the Masons, IOF, and Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. For the final few years of his life, he lived at the Royal Albert Hotel.

He died at Winnipeg on 6 January 1952 and was buried at Leamington, Ontario.

Some of his construction works in Manitoba included:

Structure

Location

Year

Status

Concrete Beam Bridge No. 64

Scallion Creek, RM of Wallace-Woodworth

1916

 

Concrete Beam Bridge No. 131

Bosshill Creek, RM of Wallace-Woodworth

1916

 

Concrete Bowstring Arch Bridge No. 367

La Salle River, RM of Portage la Prairie

1919

 

Concrete Bowstring Arch Bridge No. 374

Mill Creek, RM of Portage la Prairie

1919

 

Concrete Arch Bridge No. 630

Assiniboine River, Millwood, Municipality of Russell-Binscarth

1920-1921

 

Concrete Beam Bridge No. 756

Turtle River, Ste. Rose du Lac, Municipality of Ste. Rose

1921

 

Concrete Bowstring Arch Bridge No. 778

Turtle River, Municipality of Ste. Rose

1921

 

Concrete Culvert Bridge No. 870

Old Highway 5, Municipality of Ste. Rose

1921

 

Concrete Culvert Bridge No. 992

Bear Creek, Municipality of WestLake-Gladstone

1923

 

Concrete Beam Bridge No. 1061

Clubb Coulee, RM of Montcalm

1924

 

Concrete Culvert Bridge No. 1063

RM of Montcalm

1924

 

Concrete Culvert Bridge No. 1064

RM of Montcalm

1924

 

Concrete Culvert Bridge No. 951

Municipality of North Norfolk

1925

 

Concrete Culvert Bridge No. 1157

Municipality of North Norfolk

1925

 

Sources:

Ontario birth registrations, Ancestry.

1901 and 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.

“William Newman Company gets first power contract,” Manitoba Free Press, 10 May 1907, page 16.

Death registration [Laura Newman], Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Builders of Greater Winnipeg,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 June 1931, page 33.

“Congratulations,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 January 1949, page 20.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 January 1952, page 22.

Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.

William Newman, Curriepedia.

We thank Michael Currie for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 August 2020

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