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William Gomez Fonseca
Transcript of William Gomez Fonseca
Arrival To North America
-At age 17 Don Derigo Nojada Gomez da Silva Fonseca shortened his name to William Gomez Fonseca and left the Danish West Indies for New York, he took a boat across and considering he was upper class the conditions probably weren't as bad compared to the people in lower class.
-A few years later he began to study for the ministry at Nashotah House, an Episcopal college in Nashotah, Wisconsin, but he was forced to abandon that calling after three years because of weak eyes.
-In 1850 he journeyed to St Paul Minnesota.
- He started his own dry food business. Within a few years he was conducting a thriving business with retailers in the small towns that were beginning to dot the plains.
-After investigating matters further William decided to move his business nearer to the commercial heart of the settlement eventually known as Winnipeg.
-1860 he purchased the whole northern part of Winnipeg.
Business in Winnipeg
-By 1870 Williams business enterprises were manifold; they included the construction of rental buildings on various portions of his property in northern Winnipeg. One of these structures, known as Hall or Wolseley House hotel, later became Manitoba College.
- He also sold hardware, wines, liquors, cigars, groceries, and real estate.
-Was elected for Canada's American council.
-In 1871 school was held one of his log houses.
-1875 he was a member of the board of management of the Winnipeg General Hospital
-He remained active in business pursuits. One of these was W. G. Fonseca Limited, which sold mica roofing for buildings. He staged a demonstration of the product at the Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition of July 1894.
-In 1873 he was elected to the Winnipeg City Council, and he served six terms as an alderman for the North Ward.
-Late in 1880 he was persuaded by friends to run for mayor but was defeated by Elias George Conklin.
- His publication of a large, birds eye view, hand drawn map of Winnipeg in 1884 is great for two reasons, first, the viewer is positioned above the tip of Point Douglas, looking westward, for it was on this bend in the river that William had his main landholdings. Secondly, the map remains probably the most accurate portrayal of the growth of Winnipeg imaginable.
-Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, he continued to be the spokesman for the interests of Winnipeg in general, and of North Winnipeg in particular.
The Death Of W.G.F
-He was prominent in the set up of the Board of Trade (now Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce), the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg General Hospital, City Hall, and YMCA.
-At one point he began to write his memoirs, but was destroyed by a maid who mistook his papers for garbage and burnt them.
- In 1903 he sustained head injuries when he slipped on ice. His health deteriorated until his death two years later.
-Was buried in the cemetery of St John’s Cathedral, he has been there for over three decades.
-He lived by two simple rules: “Study to mend your own business” and “Bridle that unruly member, the tongue.”
-Manitoba historian Frank Howard Schofield wrote that “he left the impress of his individuality upon the city and its history.”
-It is said that out of all the pioneer citizens of Winnipeg he is best described as "grand old man".