Memorable Manitobans: William James Winram (1838-1891)
Born in the Isle-of-Man on 8 January 1838, son of shipbuilder James Winram and Annie Hartley, he was educated at the Liverpool Collegiate Institute. He worked as a mechanical engineer in his father’s shipyard. Upon coming to Canada around 1866 he settled in Simcoe County, Ontario, and resided there until May 1878, when he came to Manitoba and homesteaded in the Pembina Mountain district.
In 1860 he married Catherine Ingersoll (?-1862), daughter of Samuel Ingersoll of Ingersoll, Ontario. On 16 October 1863 he married Mary Bannerman (1835-?), a daughter of George Bannerman of Kildonan, one of the Selkirk colonists of 1815 who settled afterwards in Ontario. They had three children: Philip (b 1871), Elspeth (b 1873), and William (b 1874).
He took up residence in the Pembina Mountain district and farmed there successfully. He won his first seat in the legislature by acclamation in 1879, and was re-elected at the general elections of 1883, 1886, and 1888 for Dufferin South. He was Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from 1888 to his death, after which he was replaced by James Huston. He was a Liberal and a Mason.
He died at Manitou, Manitoba on 12 February 1891 and was buried on his old homestead. He is commemorated by St. Mary St. Alban Anglican Church near Kaleida.
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.
Marriage registration, Ancestry.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
“Mr. Winram dead”, Manitoba Free Press, 13 February 1891.
This profile was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Profile revised: 18 December 2011
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