WILLIAM WALTER COULTHARD WILSON*
1869-1924

From "The Storied Province of Quebec Past and Present"
Ed. Col. William Wood, Dominion Publishing Company, Limited, Toronto 1931


Head of J.C. Wilson, Limited, paper manufacturers of wide industrial renown, William Walter C. Wilson was one of Montreal's foremost financial figures, and a leader in cultural progress. He was a native of Montreal, born in 1869, eldest son of the late James Crockett Wilson, who was founder of the paper manufacturing enterprise bearing his initials and surname, and grandson of Samuel Wilson, concerning whom we deal with briefly here.
 
Samuel Wilson lived in County Antrim, Ireland, and with his family immigrated to Canada, taking residence at once in Montreal. Here he spent the balance of his years, as a car builder for the Grand Trunk Railway Company.
 
James Crockett Wilson, son of Samuel Wilson, was born in County Antrim, July 19, 1841, and was a youth when his parents removed to Montreal. He attended school here, graduated from McGill Normal School, and for several years thereafter taught in public schools of Quebec, later, 1863, becoming manager of the publishing house of T.W. Strong, New York City where he worked four years. In 1867 he returned to Canada, became cashier and book-keeper for Angus, Logan and Company, paper manufacturers of Montreal, and in 1870 founded a paper manufactory of his own, under the name style of J.C. Wilson. First he manufactured paper bags, having been at the time the only one to supply yhe Canadian trade with bags made by machine process. In time he incorporated as a public concern, and his business grew to be one of the largest in the Dominion, having mills at Lachute and St. Jerome, Quebec, together with a factory and warehouse at Montreal, and warehouses at Winnipeg and Vancouver. He established a branch of the business in London. His firm was the sole manufacturer in the Dominion of jute-manilla wrapping paper and jute-manilla tissues. He served as Alderman of Montreal several years, as member of the Dominion Parliament for Quebec, being elected in 1887 and serving until 1891, when he declined nomination for re-election, and was a conservative of considerable following. He was a communicant of the Presbyerian Church, held many offices of prominence in the Free and Accepted Masons, was president of the Fish and Game Protection Club and Irish Protestant Club Benevolant Society. For a number of years Mr. Wilson was governor of the Protestant Asylum for the Insane, and was life member and vice president of the Montreal Dispensary. Also, he served on the board of Protestant Schools of Montreal. James Crockett Wilson married, in November 1865, Jeanne Kilgour, daughter of William Kilgour; she died in March 1897, leaving five children, of whom was William Walter C., of whom further. James Crockett Wilson died in 1899, and was interred in Mount Royal Cemetery.

William Walter C. Wilson secured his academic instruction in the public schools in Montreal, and after he completed high school went to work in the paper manufacturing enterprise which his father had founded. He succeeded to management of the limited organization, and upon his father's demise acquired full control, which he exercised continuously, for thirty two years, after which extended period he retired from active business pursuits. He added materially to it's scope of business, and today, in great measure, it endures as a monument to his ability and sage direction. He died, at his home in Crescent Street, Montreal, March 16, 1924, and was interred beside the grave of his father at Mount Royal.
 
William Walter C. Wilson enjoyed various interests ;from those of business and his carreer proper. He was fond of social meeting and intercourse, was a member of the St. Jervis and other clubs of Montreal, attended by the Presbyterian church, and made a hobby and close study of numismatics. He was a rare judge of old coins, and the American Numismatic Association has cause to remember him with high regard, not alone for his contributions to the advancement of numismatic lore, but for the more material gift which he gave the society in the "Numismatist", an illustrated monthly periodical for those interested in coins, medals and paper money, founded in 1888. Mr. Wilson purchased the magazine early in 1911, and management has been most successful through the years that have followed.

The retiring editor wrote in 1911:
 
" In doing this Mr. Wilson renders a valuable service to numismatics, and the American Numismatic Association acquires the most essential factor for it's successful existance-ownership of it's official organ. Mr. Wilson is an enthusiastic collector, has an extensive numismatic library, and by recent purchases, is believed to have the finest collection of Canadian specimens on this continent. As he has become one of the association's benefactors, it is hoped that he will have every reason to know his gift is appreciated, that it will ever to continue to serve a good cause, and that his interest in the A.N.A. will be long in evidence."
 
Mr. Wilson's library was disposed of in New York - it taking twelve days to complete the sale. William Walter C. Wilson married Mellie Marx, of Norwich Conneticut. She survives her distinguished husband, continues to reside in Montreal, and does all that she can to continue the many worthy undertakings which he put in motion during life. She was deeply interested in his numismatic collection, and today is well versed in this lore, retaining the enviable collection which was inherited , and which she helped acquire. 

Mrs. Wilson presented as a memorial gift a fine example of the art of J.M. Barnsley to the permanent collection of the Art Association of Montreal. The canvas was painted by the master at Dieppe in 1886. 

Tributes attending on the demise of William Walter C. Wilson came from all sides, and from many countries. At the services Albert Lodge, No. 25, Free and AcceptedMasons, was strongly represented, and digitaries of the Dominion were in attendance. He is gone, but his works will live.


*Researching W.W.C. WILSON - Patty Brown (gg niece)

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