aka: Alex Wilson, Alec Wilson, Happy Wilson,
A. C. Wilson, Alex C. Wilson
Photo May 24, 1941, courtesy Margaret
Birth Certificate- Alexander
Marriage Certificate- Alexander Wilson
Family Bible- Alexander Craig McMiken Wilson
b- Dec 1, 1878, In Moat House Farm, Gorsey Lane,
near the Village of Bold,
in Prescott Parish, St. Helens, Lancashire, England
Christened Mar 2, 1879 in Burtonwood, Lancashire.
Burtonwood is a village between St Helens and Warrington.
d- June 25, 1971, in Winnipeg MB.
His wife Jane "Ellen" Wilson, nee Woods
b- Feb 20, 1879 at Havannah, on Newton Rd, Parr,
now St. Helens, Lancashire, England
d- Nov 2, 1957 in St. Joseph Hospital, Estevan SK, age 78
Jane "Ellen" Wilson, nee
Both buried in Estevan City Cemetery
Alec Wilson and his Wife's Grave and Headstone
Estevan City Cemetery
Section 9, Plot 31, Lot 2
(4th row from the Main entrance rd.)
taken Aug 2009
They were married Dec 25, 1901 in St. Peter's Church, Parr, St. Helens,
in Prescott Registration District, Lancashire, England.
Her parents were Edward and Mary Woods
and they lived at Parr, St. Helens, Lancashire.
Alexander and Ellen had 2
daughters and a son
1. Hildred Wilson
b- Jan 4, 1903 in St. Helens, Lancashire, England.
d- Apr 4, 1980 in Regina SK,
living in Fort Qu'Appelle at the time.
married Thomas "Tom" Richard Cuddington, Dec 5, 1922 in Estevan
b- Oct 19, 1893, in Brighton, Sussex, England
d- ca Aug 1950, age 68
Cuddington Family page in
the Bienfait Section
2. Ida Madeline Wilson (picture
b- July 11, 1909 in Pinto, SK.
d- June 15, 2000 in Sandringham Hospital in Victoria BC
She married June 8, 1957, Wilfrid Jamieson Lewis,
in St Paul's United Church in Estevan SK
and lived in Winnipeg MB.
and daughter Ida Lewis
taken at Alex's 90th birthday
3. They also had a son
b- Nov 27, 1914 at Taylorton SK
d- Nov 27, 1914 at Taylorton SK
a Baby Boy that died the same day
50th Wedding Anniversary, Dec
Back Row- Howard Cuddington, Ivy Cuddington, Gordon Cuddington,
Douglas "Doug" Cuddington, Margaret "Marg" Cuddington,
Thomas "Tom" Richard Cuddington
Front Row- Ida Lewis, nee Wilson, Bonnie Cuddington, Alex Wilson , Jane "Ellen"
Dianne Cuddington, Hildred Cuddington, nee Wilson
2 newspaper articles re: their 50th Wedding Anniversary
Dec 25, 1951
Alex came to Canada in Dec. 1904,
stayed in Canada until Nov 1905,
then returned to England.
Came back to Canada in May 1906.
with his wife Ellen and daughter Hildred.
In 1906 they were boarding with
James and Elizabeth Molyneux at Coalfields.
(see manifest pics below)
They appear in the 1906 census, on page 14,
Assiniboia East, sub dist #7,
location of Coalfields, Sec 3, Tsp 2, Rge 6, W2.
Census was taken July 18, 1906.
1908 he was actually President
of the U.M.W.A.
at the only mine working at the
By June 17, 1939 he was giving evidence
as General Superintendent of
Western Dominion Collieries,
before a Federal Board of Conciliation.
Quoted as saying " I don't run a Union, I run a Coal Mine"
In 1911 census Alex is shown as Anglican
and as a Coal Miner for his occupation.
English nationality. age 31, b- Dec 1880 in England
wife- Ellen, age 31, Feb 1881
Hildred Wilson, age 8
Ida Wilson, age 2
They are living in Roche Percee, Block 2, Lot
10 & 11,
shown on Page 5, Line 29, family #38.
Township 1, Assiniboia, Dist 207, Sub dist 6.
Alex's father- William Wilson (Sr.),
b- ca 1825 in Scotland.
(56 in 1881 census)
d- after 1881, ?
Shown as a farm labourer in 1881 census.
also on Alex's Birth Certificate
His mother was Annie (nee ?)
b- ca 1851 Warrington, Lancashire, England.
(age 30 in 1881 census)
d- After 1881, ?
Alec's Birth Certificate says Mother- Annie
They had 6 children I know of.
1. William Wilson (Jr.)
b- ca 1871, in Bold, Lancashire, England
3 Williams registered, unknown which is correct one.
2. Sarah Wilson
b- bet. Jan-Mar, 1873, in Bold,
Her birth registered in Prescott Registration District
3. Jessie Wilson
b- bet. Apr-June, 1874, in
Bold, Lancashire, England
Her birth registered in Prescott Registration District
4. James Wilson
b- ca1876, in Bold, Lancashire,
3 James registered, unknown which is correct one.
is this James Henry Wilson that married Mildred Kenyon above?
5. Frances Wilson
b- bet. Jan-Mar, 1877, in
Bold, Lancashire, England
Her birth registered in Prescott Registration District
Last born that I know of,
6. Alexander C. M. Wilson
In 1881 the family was living at #6 Derby Rd.
In Widnes, Lancashire, England.
Dec 24, 1904, SS Ionian manifest
Liverpool England to Halifax NS and St John, NB
Alexander (Alex) Wilson was travelling to Roche Percee, NWT, in
age 26, born in Lancashire, England, occupation miner.
travelling with James Molyneux, age 39, and his daughter
Sarah E. Molyneux
June 1, 1906, SS Virginia manifest
from Liverpool England to Montreal Quebec,
Alexander Wilson, age 27, travelling to Canada
with his wife, age 27, shown just as Mrs. Wilson,
and their daughter Hildred, age 3, all born in Lancashire.
all 3 destined for Bienfait Assiniboia
The family moved to Estevan in
His nickname was "Happy Wilson",
not because he was known to be "happy" either.
Most history books record him as
A. C. Wilson or Alex C. Wilson.
Interesting enough, the middle name McMiken appears only
in the Cemetery records in Estevan,
and in the Family Bible as noted above.
and the letter M. in some 1931 Riot articles.
It does not show up in his registered name in England.
I would love to know if he was in the Masons,
or some other fraternity in the Estevan area.
Unlike some of the other big owners,
he was more hands on, and seen at the mines.
Everyone knew him, and everyone would have seen him.
He was NOT a "shadowy figure" like some of the others.
Unlike most of the other big mine owners,
he also lived in the area.
We know from his 1965 life story
he lived at Creighton Lodge at that time.
In 1967 era, he lived in Winnipeg, with his daughter Ida,
after he retired.
received an email Mar 2011 from
Sherry Black McNair
who clarified Alex's family tree for me, with Thanks!
Here is what she wrote, edited down a wee bit,
with some additions by myself.
"Elizabeth Wood, older
sister to Jane Ellen, married James Molyneux. You will note in the
passenger lists that Alex was with Elizabeth and her children when she
first came over. One of those children was my grandma, Florence
Molyneux. Sadly, Elizabeth died Sept 23, 1908 and is buried in the old
Taylorton cemetery along with her young daughter, Jessie
(d- Oct 5, 1905, 14 months) (the
tall reddish granite grave marker.) And you have already noted that the
families were residing together. James Molyneux stayed in Bienfait with
his two oldest children, Mary (Polly) Molyneux married Joe Bembridge,
and Isaac Molyneux; and he sent the youngest two, Florence Molyneux, and
baby James Edward Molyneux (b- May 31, 1908 in
Taylorton), back to England where they were raised by James
and Elizabeth's sisters. In 1913 Florence Molyneux returned to Canada
to live with Joe and Polly Bembridge, who were working at the mines in
Lethbridge, and from there took out homestead land near Lucky Strike.
There Florence Molyneux met and married Bill Black, a neighbour and a
coalminer from County Durham, England and there they stayed.
Right after Elizabeth died, Alex and Jane Ellen looked after Aunty
Polly. Uncle Ike went to stay with Thomas and Jane
Bastian in Estevan, as Jane was a sister to James
Molyneux. Uncle Ike joined up for WWI and stayed in England after the
war, living in Parr, St. Helens and raising a family there. James
Edward Molyneux, the baby... he joined up for WWII. Joe Bembridge
signed up for WWI the same day he filed for his homestead at Lucky
Strike, Alberta. I don't know how Aunty Polly did it, alone, pregnant
with 3 small children, but she proved up that homestead. After the war,
about 1924 Joe took his family back to Bienfait where Uncle Alex
(Wilson) offered him a job in the mine and a house next door to
theirs. Just an aside- James Molyneux's brother was Aaron Molyneux,
also a miner/farmer at Bienfait. In fact, nearly all of James siblings
came: Thomas Harrison was the son of James's oldest sister Elizabeth
and her husband Henry Harrison. Most of those folks are over by Midale.
Jane Molyneux married Thomas
Bastian (both buried in Estevan), and their
Bastian and his family moved to Kelowna, BC. Alfred Molyneux
worked at Shand brickyard and had a large family, which he removed to
Drumheller to work in the mines there. William Molyneux moved to
Edmonton where he raised a family."
(Ike) Molyneux, enlisted in WWI, Jan 3, 1916 in Estevan,
b- Sept 18, 1897 in St. Helens, Lancashire, England.
occupation shown as Coal Miner, single, Methodist
Reg # 925176
son of James Molyneux, living at 203 Parr Stocks Rd,
Parr, St. Helens, Lanc, England.
had a web page for the
family in my Estevan pages
Working Career in Canada
Alex Wilson was Mine Manager and Owner,
of many Lignite Coal Mines,
In SE. Saskatchewan.
L/R- Unknown man, with Alex
taken at a mine site
May 24, 1941
do you know the other man? or the mine?
For a man that only had a grade
4 formal English education
he did very well for himself and his family.
In 1910 he purchased a course in Mining Engineering
from the International Correspondence School (ICS)
in Scranton, Lackawanna Co., PA. USA,
and received his Certificate in Mine Engineering.
while he still worked in the mines,
He earned his Mine Managers Certificate, in 1913.
(ICS was established in 1890 and still in operation)
Mines he Managed or Owned (years):
Bienfait Commercial Coal Co. (1)
Crescent Collieries Ltd.
(7) manager 1919-1926
Manitoba & Saskatchewan Coal Company Ltd.
(12) (Manager 1926-38)
Bienfait Mines Ltd.
(2) (Owned 1938-39) (this was Wilson Mine #1)
Western Dominion Collieries. (4)
Eastern Collieries of Bienfait Ltd. (Wilson Mine #2) (Owned 1936-38)
Havanah Coal Mine
Ltd. (1943- 12 years) (see note a)
Bienfait No2 Mine (Owned)
Souris Coal Mine- Shand SK -1914
1914 Newspaper ad for his Souris Coal Mine at Shand
(note a)- there was a Havannah
near Parr, in Lancashire,
also a Havannah Lane,
and Havannah is shown as a place name
on Newton Rd, Parr,
where Alex's wife Ellen was born and probably raised.
Somehow Alex dropped the one "n" is all.
and this would have been where the name came from
Parr is now part of St. Helens
Owned M&S Mar 2,1936 when the
at the end of the tipple, burnt down at 6pm.
The loader machine in the building was valued at $5,000.00
It was used to load the larger lumps of coal.
Over 60 years involved in the Coal Mine
in SE. Saskatchewan.
Mr. and Mrs. Alex Wilson, of
the Crescent Mines,
visited Riverside Farms per Mar 13, 1924 article
sorry quality is very poor but dates are important
Alex was one of the organizers
of the visit to the area by Governor General Lord Byng in1925.
Most of the above was info I tracked
down from various sources
But all below is info from Margaret "Marg" Cuddington,
all in Adobe .pdf format
June 15, 1965 Alex wrote a brief
story of his life
to a Mr. J. W. McCaig, Esq (see note b below)
Saskatchewan Jubilee Centennial Corporation, Regina
Letter, Page 1.pdf
1965 Letter, Page 2.pdf
(note b) Mr. Jack McCaig, was
of the Saskatchewan Diamond Jubilee Committee.
In 1961 he was an Alderman in Moose Jaw.
Started out as a small trucking operator in 1946,
and became the Founder and Owner of Trimac Ltd.
he retired from Trimac in 1962,
and died in Calgary, Apr 9, 1981
Father- John McCaig was born in Scotland,
John died Nov 20, 1959 in Moose Jaw, age 80
John came to Canada in 1919, settling in Ogema District.
brother to Jack- Bill McCaig in Regina
sister to Jack- Mrs. J. D. Smith of Vancouver
Then also in 1965 Alex wrote
more Complete Story of his life
He was 86 at the time.
8 pages in Adobe .pdf format
His early life, arrival in Canada, Taylorton and Tabor AB
His working experience, work with boilers, and his education
Prospecting and Searching for Coal and Water in Estevan, Bienfait area
He operated the First Mining and Cutting Machine
at Western Dominion Coal Co. Ltd.
Mine fires in Underground Mines
Memories and Experiences of 75 years,
re: Labour, Unions, and Strikes
You don't read many items from a Manager/Business
that describes Unions, Groups and Organizations in every walk of life,
not just the workers. I find most managers never see that point of
My experience is most hate unions,
failing to realize they belong to one themselves!
Problems with water in the "First" Crescent
Original of this 8 page document is in the SK
per notation on page 1
thanks to Margaret Cuddington for this information and pictures.
My Original Opening on this page
Alex like the other owners and managers of mines
in SE. Saskatchewan, is
no easy task.
They are noted in the history books, Alex, more than
but still only brief information on their past. Their family etc.
With a little internet searching I have compiled the following
Note, I am an Amateur Genealogist, and as such,
proclaim this info below to be 100% accurate.
It is as best as I
can get, without spending money
on ordering certificates of birth and
marriage in England.
Spent a few hours looking at microfilm in the Estevan Library,
but couldn't find his obituary, which I find strange,
since him and his wife are buried there.
I wrote the above in 2009, and
Apr 1, 2011, a big surprise, and not even an April Fool's joke!
Tonight an email from Margaret Cuddington,
the wife of Douglas Cuddington,
the Grandson of Alex Wilson.
With the email, wonderful pictures, Life Story,
and Family Tree for Alex Wilson.
It just doesn't get better than that,
to add to this page.
By the time you read his life story,
you will get a feel for the man,
and a taste of his early life, as well as his Mine Manager life.
Reading what he went thru, you have to respect him.
I hope you enjoy the information as much as I did.