William Coldwell 1834 - 1907
Connection to the ross family
William Coldwell was born in England in 1834 to unknown parents. He settled in Canada in 1854 and married Jemima Ross, the youngest daughter of Alexander and Sarah Ross, in 1860.
In 1859, he founded the Nor’Wester newspaper with James Ross and William Buckingham. The Nor’Wester was the Settlement’s first newspaper, and it quickly became very important for the community. Even once other papers became available, the Nor'Wester was remarkable because it carried stories from different sides of the political spectrum: Coldwell and Buckingham represented the English speaking Canadians from the East, with Ross standing in for the Metis people of the Settlement. Coldwell was an educated man who worked on many different writing projects throughout his lifetime, including the Toronto Globe and as a clerk for the Provisional Assembly. In 1865, Coldwell and his family moved to Toronto where he worked as a journalist for the government.
Coldwell’s personal life became complicated with age. In 1867, Jemima Ross died at the age of 29. The couple had four children together, only three of whom are known:
In 1869, Coldwell and his children returned to the Red River Settlement where he founded another newspaper, the Red River Pioneer. He began working at the Manitoban, another journal, in 1871; this was eventually merged with the Winnipeg Free Press. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society, alongside Colin Inkster.
Coldwell re-married in 1875 to Jemima McKenzie Ross, the widowed wife of William Ross. By the middle of the 1880’s, Coldwell’s health began to decline and he was confined to a wheechair. He retired from journalism and spent the last years of his life with Jemima in Victoria, British Columbia.
William Coldwell died on February 14th, 1907 in Victoria, British Columbia at the age of 73.