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Charles Wilson (1851-1854)

Charles Wilson was born on April 1808 in Coteau-du-Lac, Québec. Businessman, he was mayor of Montréal from 1851 to 1854. He died 4 May 1877 in Montréal.

He first worked in the hardware store he set up in 1834. He rapidly became prosperous and was later a director of the Scottish Provincial Assurance Company.

From 1848 to 1851, he was city councillor for the Centre district. He was appointed mayor in 1851. He chaired the first city council at Bonsecours Market on 24 January 1852. At the election on February 1852, he became the first mayor elected by citizens and the first to carry the chain of office. Wilson was elected a third time in 1853.

The end of his last term was rocked by the Alessandro Gavazzi affair. Mayor Wilson refused the ex-monk access to the concert hall of Bonsecours Market. Instead, Gavazzi gave his speech at Zion Church, the event ended in a brawl, and a young man named Gillespie was killed. Wilson ordered the militia to assist the hard-pressed municipal police. Nine people died.

In 1854, Charles Wilson received the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Saint-Grégoire-le-Grand. On May 1867, he was named senator to represent Rigaud.

See : Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online


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