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Memorable Manitobans: Charles R. Wilkes (1825-1910)


He was born in Toronto, Upper Canada in 1825 of English parentage. The family moved to Brantford where he was educated and entered business. In 1850 he went to California and spent several years in the gold fields, returning to Brantford where he became proprietor of the Taft Foundry, which was later amalgamated with the Waterous Engine Company. In October 1855, he married Matilda, daughter of John Wade of Hamilton Gardens. They moved to Lambton County in 1858, established a town called Wilkesport, and erected sawmills and a grist mill. After this town was destroyed by fire he moved to Owen Sound, Ontario, and became a Clerk of the Division Court until 1870. He was also editor of the Owen Sound Advertiser. In 1872 he was called to the Bar in Toronto and practiced law in Owen Sound until he left for Winnipeg in 1882. He was a Liberal, and on several occasions he was a candidate for Winnipeg's mayoralty. He had strong faith in the future of Winnipeg and particularly in the section south of Portage Avenue as residential prospects. He was a member of Central Congregational Church.

Wilkes died in Winnipeg on 9 July 1910.

He is commemorated by Wilkes Avenue in Winnipeg.


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

Page revised: 30 December 2008

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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