Memorable Manitobans: Robert Richey Wilson (1856-1937)
Born at Enniskillen, Ireland on 12 February 1856, son of Thomas and Anne Jane Wilson, he was educated at the Enniskillen Model School. He came to Canada in 1881 where he worked in various clerical jobs until joining the wholesale grocery brokerage firm of Sutherland and Campbell in 1883. On the death of James Sutherland in 1885, R. J. Campbell became sole proprietor until eventually taking on Wilson as a partner. The company was incorporated in 1910 as Campbell Brothers and Wilson Limited.
Wilson rose to become President and Managing Director of the firm, as well as President of Campbell, Wilson and Strathdee Limited (Regina and Swift Current), Campbell, Wilson and Horn Limited (Calgary, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Peace River) and Campbell, Wilson and Millar Limited (Saskatoon). He was also a Director of the Canadian Fire Insurance Company, Canadian Indemnity Company, Northern Trusts Company, and the Traders’ Finance Corporation.
In 1892, he married Sara Bussell of Hornsby, Ontario. They had three children: Margaret Kathleen Wilson Martin (b 1894; wife of Rev. H. D. Martin, Bishop of Saskatchewan), Frances Jane Wilson Anderson (b 1896), and Robert Elliott Wilson (b 1905). The family lived at 545 Broadway from 1904 to 1925 and at 680 Wellington Crescent from 1925 to his death. He was a member of the St. Charles Country Club, Motor Country Club, and Carleton Club.
He died at his Winnipeg home on 27 November 1937 and was buried in St. John’s Cemetery.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Men of Winnipeg in Diamond Jubilee Sketches” Winnipeg Free Press, December 1934. [University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, Winnipeg Elite Study, G. Friesen Fonds, Mss 154, Box 15, File 8]
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 29 November 1937, page 18.
“Wilson will gives $28,000 to charity,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 May 1953, page 3.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 31 March 2017
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