January 13: CNR is formed; "Dark Strangler" hangs; St. B's first Anglo mayor.

January 13, 1899 -The Canadian Northern Railway is formed by the amalgamation of the Winnipeg Great Northern Railway and the Lake Manitoba Railway and Canal Company. Within two decades it would be a transcontinental rail system.

January 13, 1928 - Earle Leonard Nelson, considered North America’s first serial rapist / murderer, is hanged at the Vaughan Street Gaol. 

Nelson, a.ka. the 'Gorilla Man Killer' or the 'Dark Strangler', began his crime spree in his native California and moved up the American West Coast. He crossed into Manitoba in June 1927. 

Though he was here just a short time, he raped and killed two women, one just 14 years old. The ensuing manhunt caused him to flee to Regina then make a run for the U.S. border. He was arrested in Wakopa MB, near Crystal City.

The trial was covered across North America. In attendance were detectives from police services in the U.S. and Nelson's wife and aunt. Though found guilty and hung for the two murders here, Nelson was responsible for 22 murders and suspected in at least 3 more south of the border. He was 29 years old.

There are a number of accounts of the life and death of Nelson. You can find one of them here at the Police Museum website.

December 20, 1912, Winnipeg Free Press

January 13, 1933 - Thomas Berry, the first anglophone mayor of St. Boniface, dies. Berry Street in St. James is named for him.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I do not believe Berry St in St James was named after Thomas Berry but rather Berry St in St. Boniface. This was the original name of what is now Thomas Berry, the name of the St. B street was changed after Unicity as it became too confusing.

mrchristian said...

Thanks for the tip. I will look into this and make the required connection. I'm not sure if I got that tidbit form his obit or the History in Street names section of MHS. (Though it did seem odd that a St. J street would be named for him).