Alexander Craig Mcmiken Wilson

  • b- Dec 1, 1878 , Moat House Farm, Gorsey Lane, near the Village of Bold, in Prescott Parish, St. Helens, Lancashire, England
  • d- June 25, 1971 , Winnipeg MB.

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My Original Opening on this page

Tracing 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 most, but still only brief information on their past. Their family etc. With a little internet searching I have compiled the following information. Note, I am an Amateur Genealogist, and as such,do not 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 then on Apr 1, 2011, a big surprise, and not even an April Fool's joke! I received an email from Margaret Cuddington, the wife of Douglas Cuddington, the Grandson of Alex Wilson. Within the email was wonderful pictures, a Life Story,and Family Tree for Alex Wilson. It just doesn't get better than that, for information 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. Below incorporates both info I found and that from Mrs. Cuddington, I hope you enjoy the information as much as I did.

  • Several versions of his name can be found:
    • Birth Certificate- Alexander Craig Wilson
    • Marriage Certificate- Alexander Wilson
    • Family Bible- Alexander Craig McMiken Wilson
  • Christened Mar 2, 1879 in Burtonwood, Lancashire. Burtonwood is a village between St Helens and Warrington.

Alex came to Canada in Dec. 1904,stayed until Nov 1905,then returned to England. He then came back to Canada in May 1906 with his wife Ellen and daughter Hildred.

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 Steerage. 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

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 time. 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 Religion, 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 were 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.

1911 Cenus

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 son Josiah 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.”

Isaac (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.

I already had a web page for the Bastian family in my Estevan pages

Alex Wilson was Mine Manager and Owner, of many Lignite Coal Mines In SE. Saskatchewan.

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)

L/R- Unknown man, with Alex Wilson, taken at a mine site, May 24, 1941. Do you know the other man? or the mine?

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)Note 1
  • 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)note 2
  • Bienfait No2 Mine (Owned)
  • Souris Coal Mine- Shand SK -1914
    • Note 1: Owned M&S Mar 2,1936 when the Loader building 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. Note 2- there was a Havannah Colliery,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

Over 60 years involved in the Coal Mine business in SE. Saskatchewan.

All the information below is from Margaret “Marg” Cuddington, downloads are in Adobe .pdf format

50th Wedding Anniversary, Dec 25, 1951
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” Woods, Dianne Cuddington, Hildred Cuddington, nee Wilson

Newspaper articles re: Anniversary:

June 15, 1965 Alex wrote a brief story of his life to a Mr. J. W. McCai g, Esq (Note) , Chairman, Saskatchewan Jubilee Centennial Corporation, Regina:

1965 Letter

Then also in 1965 Alex wrote a more Complete Story of his life, he was 86 at the time.

8 pages in Adobe .pdf format SUMMARY:

  • Page 1: His early life, arrival in Canada, Taylorton and Tabor AB
  • Page 2: His working experience, work with boilers, and his education
  • Page 3: Prospecting and Searching for Coal and Water in Estevan, Bienfait area
  • Page 4:He operated the First Mining and Cutting Machine in 1908, at Western Dominion Coal Co. Ltd.
  • Page 5:Mine fires in Underground Mines
  • Page 6:Memories and Experiences of 75 years, re: Labour, Unions, and strikes
  • Page 7:You don't read many items from a Manager/Business man that describes Unions, Groups and Organizations in every walk of life, not just the workers. I find most managers never see that point of view. My experience is most hate unions, failing to realize they belong to one themselves!
  • Page 8:Problems with water in the “First” Crescent Collieries

Original of this 8 page document is in the SK Provincial Archives, per notation on page 1 thanks to Margaret Cuddington for this information and pictures.

Jane “Ellen” 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
  • m- 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.

Hildred Wilson (Daughter)

  • 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

see my Cuddington Family page in the Bienfait Section

Ida Madeline Wilson (Daughter)

  • 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.

Alex, and daughter Ida Lewis taken at Alex's 90th birthday

unamed (Son)

  • b- Nov 27, 1914 at Taylorton SK
  • d- Nov 27, 1914 at Taylorton SK

Baby Boy that died the same day

William (Sr.) Wilson

  • b-ca 1825 in Scotland. (he was 56 in 1881 census)
  • d-after 1881
  • Shown as a farm labourer in 1881 census, also on Alex's Birth Certificate


  • b-ca 1851 Warrington, Lancashire, England. (age 30 in 1881 census)
  • d-After 1881
  • Alec's Birth Certificate says Mother- Annie

William Wilson (Jr.) (Brother)

  • b- ca 1871, in Bold, Lancashire, England
  • d-

*3 Williams registered, unknown which is correct one.

Sarah Wilson (Sister)

  • b- bet. Jan-Mar, 1873, in Bold, Lancashire, England
  • d-

Her birth registered in Prescott Registration District

Jessie Wilson (Sister)

  • b- bet. Apr-June, 1874, in Bold, Lancashire, England
  • d-

Her birth registered in Prescott Registration District

James Wilson (Brother)

  • b- ca1876, in Bold, Lancashire, England
  • d-
  • 3 James are registered, unknown which is correct one.

is this James Henry Wilson that married Mildred Kenyon above?

Frances Wilson (Sister)

  • b- bet. Jan-Mar, 1877, in Bold, Lancashire, England
  • d-

Her birth registered in Prescott Registration District

Alexander C. M. Wilson (Brother)

  • b-
  • d-

Last sibling I know of

  • Last modified: 2016/10/30 11:55
  • by agent76