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 William Smithe

William Smithe

Birth
Matfen, Northumberland Unitary Authority, Northumberland, England
Death 28 Mar 1887 (aged 44)
Victoria, Capital Regional District, British Columbia, Canada
Burial Duncan, Cowichan Valley Regional District, British Columbia, Canada
Memorial ID 6400 · View Source
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7th Premier of British Columbia. He served in this position from January 1883 until his death. Born William Smith n England, he was educated at local schools in Whittington and worked in the mercantile industry at Newcastle upon Tyne , Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, England. In 1862 he emigrated to British Columbia, settling on a farm near Somenos, Vancouver Island, where he was appointed road commissioner for the district of Cowichan. Following a brief stint as a gold miner on the Grouse River in 1864 and as a newspaper journalist in San Francisco, California from 1868 to 1870, he returned to British Columbia and entered politics in October 1871 when he was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Cowichan. In 1875 he became Leader of the Opposition, even though he was not affiliated with any political party. In January 1883 he became premier, replacing Robert Beaven who resigned when his government received a Vote of No Confidence. During his tenure, he ushered in the Great Potlatch era in which governments made generous grants of public resources and land to private entrepreneurs. He also settled disputes with the Canadian government which had stalled the construction of the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway. He died from nephritis at the age of 44 while still in office and was succeeded as Premier by Alexander Edmund Batson Davie.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 18 Sep 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6400
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Smithe (30 Jun 1842–28 Mar 1887), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6400, citing Mountain View Cemetery, Duncan, Cowichan Valley Regional District, British Columbia, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .