Sir Augustus Meredith NANTON (1860-1925)
Born in in Toronto, Ontario on 07 May 1860, he was the son of Augustus Nanton (1831-1873) and Louisa Botsford (1831-1906), and brother of Harry W. Nanton. He was educated at the Toronto Model School. He commenced business in a Toronto real estate office in 1873, and two years later, entered the employ of Pellatt & Osler, later Osler & Hammond. He came to Winnipeg in 1884 and opened the office of Osler, Hammond and Nanton.
He held a number of positions in business: Vice-President of the Great-West Life Assurance Company, Managing Director of the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company, Director of the Dominion Bank, Director of the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company, Director of the Northern Trust Company, and Director of the Manitoba Bridge and Iron Works. In 1910, he was listed by the Winnipeg Telegram as one of Winnipeg’s 19 millionaires. After a long career in Winnipeg, he was elected President of the Dominion Bank and returned to Toronto in 1924.
His first wife, Georgina Hope Hespeler (1864-1887, daughter of William Hespeler), who me married in 1886 and had a daughter, Mary Georgina Nanton (1887-1980, wife of Douglas L. Cameron), died due to complication of childbirth. On 17 November 1894, he married Ethel Constance Clark (1873-1942) with whom he had six children: August Colborne Nanton (1895-1897), Constance Rosalie Nanton (1898-1952, wife of Ernest M. Bircher), Marguerite Nanton (1900-1945, wife of Arthur M.T. Eve), Edward Augustus Nanton (1902-1967), Paul Clark Nanton (1904-1992), and Augustus Harry Nanton (1906-1948).
During the First World War, he was President of the Manitoba Patriotic Fund and was knighted in 1917 for his war work. During the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, he personally patrolled his grounds at Kilmorie (the Nanton home in Winnipeg) because of threats against him, and his barn at Rosser was burned down by an arsonist. He was a member of the Lakewood Country Club and Manitoba Club, and a founding member and President of the St. Charles County Club. He served as a Governor of the Winnipeg General Hospital and President of the Winnipeg Board of Trade.
He died at Toronto, Ontario on 24 April 1925 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. He is commemorated by Nanton Boulevard in Winnipeg and, in 2014, was inducted into the Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame.
- Reprinted with permission from the Manitoba Historical Society and updated.
- Birth and Death Registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
- England & Wales, National Probate Calendar.
- Obituary [Lady Trustam Eve], Evening Chronical, London, England, 27 December 1945.
- “Services Held for A.H. Nanton”, Winnipeg Free Press, 27 July 1948, page 24.
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