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Manitoba Historical Society Keeping history alive for over years. Link to: Executives See Also Sources. A few copies distributed free appeared on 9 November. It was started by two young men, one with newspaper know-how, William Fisher Luxtonand the other with money and muscle, John A. It was hot in summer and cold in winter. The Luxton family and the widower Kenny lived upstairs. John Cameron, reporter and humourist, and Justus Griffin, printer, had a bunk downstairs in a cubbyhole next to the front office.
The type and press arrived by Red River steamboat on 25 October. It was the first cylinder press north of St. Paul, Minnesota, and was run by human muscle power supplied mainly by the huge and powerful Kenny who, among others, turned the handle. Liberal in philosophy, the Free Press was a leader among newspapers in Canada. It became a leading daily and its sister weekly, the Prairie Farmerbecame the most widely circulated farm weekly in Canada. Of 20 newspapers that started in Manitoba between andonly the Free Press survived.
The first main story was the re-election of General Ulysses S. Grant as President of the United States of America. It was the only daily west of Toronto on 6 July It cost 25 cents per week on subscription and there were subscribers. In those early years, putting together a newspaper was a formidable task. All copy was written by hand and type was set by hand, one letter at a time. In very cold weather, even the red-hot box stove in the press room could not keep the ink and rollers warm and a row of 32 coal oil lamps was placed around the press.
Many other problems surfaced in those early years - failure of telegraphic services via Montreal and the USA due to adverse weather - storms, frost and prairie fires, unreliable paper supply that had to come by rail, steamboat or ox cart. For example, a paper shortage coincided with the hot story of the downfall of Prime Minister John A.
There was just enough paper for the Free Press to produce a handbill-sized sheet carrying the news from Ottawa and apologies to readers. In the enterprise moved to a new building on Main opposite St. Mary Avenue. Because of its growth it moved in to a four-storey building at Portage and Garry. Aboutcontrol of the Free Press passed to Clifford Sifton. From toJohn Wesley Dafoe served as editorial writer, editor-in-chief and president. He, too, was a man of strong opinions. He actively promoted Dominion status and autonomy for Canada.
James Gray related an interesting story dating to when he worked for the newspaper. His consuming passion was to avoid work at all costs and he managed to spend his life in idleness. He cadged quarters from the newsroom staff, and for ten years slept erect in a chair by the door of the newspaper library. At the time the business manager for the paper was E. Macklinknown for his sulphuric vocabulary. A new employee, Scott Young, asked about the old man sleeping by the library door. Clem Shields, a senior employee thought he would play a joke on the newcomer.
Out of the library a few paces behind Young came the editor-in-chief John W. Young held the door open for Mr. Dafoe, who, preoccupied with weighty matters, paid no attention to the door. It closed with a loud bang. Winnipeg Free Press website. For queries on the aboveplease contact the MHS Webmaster. All rights reserved. Request. Archives Issue No.
Executives Executive. Albert Boothe John Wesley Dafoe Alexander Grant Dexter George Victor Ferguson Edward Hamilton Macklin Thomas Beattie Roberton Frederick Edward Molyneux St. John John Wright Sifton Gordon Henderson Sinclair John Beaufort Somerset Back to top of .Wpg free press com
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