Biography of Spence, Thomas, 1832-1900

Thomas Spence (1832-1900) arrived from Scotland in 1852 and at Red River in 1866. He became the editor of the Nor’Wester, the pro-Canadian newspaper of John Christian Schultz. In 1867 Spence moved to Portage la Prairie, where he ran a store. There he became part of a group who wanted their settlement to be incorporated into Canada. In January of the following year they organized themselves into the government of New Caledonia, later to be called the Republic of Manitobah, with Spence elected president. This government collapsed soon after and Spence left, ending up at the Red River settlement during the Riel resistance. Although he opposed Riel and was taken prisoner, he soon became editor of Riel’s paper, the New Nation. After the establishment of the province of Manitoba, Spence worked as a census enumerator and was for a time clerk of the Legislative Assembly. By 1895, however, he had left for Edmonton. Spence is also known for the pamphlets he wrote to encourage settlers to come to Manitoba.

Mentioned in:


  1. Letter of 16 September 1898 from Archbishop Louis Philippe Adélard Langevin to Father Albert Lacombe, copy in letter-book


  1. "Manitoba et le Nord-Ouest du Canada, ses ressources et ses avantages pour l’émigrant et le capitaliste", Ottawa, Département de l’Agriculture, 2e éd.,1875, extrait, page couverture
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