Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William James Winram (1838-1891)

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William James Winram
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MLA (1879-1883), MLA (1883-1886), MLA (1886-1888), MLA (1888-1891), Speaker (1888-1891).

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William James Winram
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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. They had three children: James (1860-?) and twin daughters (1862-?). 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 six children: George Winram (1864-?), Edward Winram (1866-?), Alexander Winram (1867-?), Philip Winram (1871-?), Elspeth Winram (1872-?), and William Winram (1874-?).

He won his first seat in the Manitoba Legislature by acclamation in 1879, and was re-elected or acclaimed at the general elections of 1883, 1886, and 1888. 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 on 12 February 1891 and was buried on his old homestead.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. Mary St. Alban Anglican Church and Cemetery / Winram Memorial Church (RM of Pembina)


A Political Manual of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories by J. P. Robertson, Winnipeg: Call Printing Company, 1887.

John Alexander Gemmill (editor), The Canadian Parliamentary Companion, 1887.

Marriage registration, Ancestry.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

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

“Hon. William Winram dead,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 February 1891, page 4.

“Mr. Winram dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 13 February 1891.

“Late W. Winram’s funeral,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 February 1891, page 4.

We thank Janice Martens for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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