William Newton FAIRBANKS (1836-1919)

Born 27 September 1885 in Nova Scotia, he was the son of Samuel Prescott Fairbanks (1795-1882) and Charlotte Ann Newton (?-?). He was a member of the same family as US Vice-President Charles W. Fairbanks.

On 15 June 1872, he married Mary Ellen Bevans (?-1916) and they had one son: William Bevans Fairbanks (1873-1953).

Lawyer, Real Estate Broker, Municipal Official

In 1873, along with Thomas Carney, he brought a group of American settlers to southern Manitoba, founding the border town of Emerson, named for essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. He held several position in the local government, and was a booster of the community. While there, he proposed the construction of a railway line to Hudson Bay, which was not completed until several years after his death. He invested in Emerson real estate and lost heavily in the crash that followed the boom of the 1880s. He remained in Emerson until the early 1890s then moved to Winnipeg, where his son, William B. Fairbanks was well-established as a real estate dealer.

He died in Winnipeg on 17 April 1919 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. His impressive brick home still stands in Emerson.


  • Reprinted with permission from Manitoba Historical Society and updated.
  • Fairbanks, L.S, (1897), Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America 1633-1897, American Printing and Engraving Company, page 301.
  • Obituary [William Bevans Fairbanks], Times Colonist [Victoria, BC], 27 August 1953, page 18.


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