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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
Lieut.-Col. William Frederick Wallace Carstairs


Lieut.-Col. William Frederick Wallace Carstairs of Edmonton, the second officer to command the One hundred and First Regiment, Edmonton Fusiliers, has rendered the Empire as much service as any other officer in the province. A native of Ontario, he was born in Kingston, on the 24th of June, 1860, a son of Robert H. Carstairs and Cornelia C. Stuart Carstairs, and is a direct descendant of those stanch United Empire Loyalist families, the Munros, Burgoynes and Stuarts, who settled in eastern Ontario. His great-grandfather, Col. John Munro, was one of the six members who composed the first parliament of Canada.

The education of William Frederick Wallace Carstairs was acquired at Arnprior, Iroquois and Kingston. He had long experience in volunteer and imperial military service and holds a first-class R. S. I. certificate. At an early age he had passed through all ranks from bugler to sergeant in the Forty-first Brockville Rifles and served as a lieutenant in the Fifty-sixth Lisgar Rifles, but resigned his commission at the outbreak of the Northwestern Rebellion in 1885 and enlisted in the Northwest Mounted Police, with which he served for five years in all parts of the great northwest, later being attached for duty to No. 1 Regiment Depot at London, Ontario, in 1898. lie left there to accept an appointment as an officer in the Royal Nigerian Constabulary, and when the British government took over the Royal Niger Company's territories, he was given a commission and attached to the West African field force, with which he took part in the Pumetin expeditions of Benin, Ishan, Unwana, Cross River, Euromia, Arrow and many others.
Following his return to Canada, Colonel Carstairs was appointed musketry officer to the Thirteenth Military district, which included all of Alberta, and during his tenure of office devoted his efforts to the instruction of musketry to the division. The regiment he assisted in organizing, according to Sir Cohn Mackenzie, inspector general of the Canadian forces, is "the smartest regiment in Canada". The decorations which Colonel Carstairs wears are the Long Service Decoration, the medal for the '85 rebellion and the General African Medal with two clasps for western coast service. He belongs to many military institutions in England and Canada and has thus become widely known, while his personal qualities make for popularity in both military and civic organizations.

In June, 1912, Colonel Carstairs was married to Minnie Sophia, youngest daughter of Laird ,John McGillis of Williamstown and Montreal. Mrs. Carstairs' first husband was Captain Alex. E. MacDonell, superintendent of the Royal North West Mounted Police. Colonel Carstairs was at one time associated with Oronhyatekha in the Independent Order of Foresters, in which he was a superintendent. He was subsequently in the service of the Royal Victoria Insurance Company and went to Alberta to prospect for coal and stone, in which undertaking he was quite successful. He succeeded in locating splendid mines and quarries.

Colonel Carstairs has always enjoyed hunting and is an expert rifle shot. Among his trophies are some fine specimens of big game captured in Canada, the United States and in Africa. Fraternally he is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with the Foresters and with the Masons, having taken the Royal Arch degrees and also the degrees of the Scottish Rite. He has served as an officer of Alberta Grand Lodge and was a member of the Board of General Purpose for two years. His religious faith is that of the Anglican church. His record in civil life measures up to his military career and this is indeed high praise.

He was appointed in 1913 agent of dominion lands, Crown timber agent and mining recorder for northern Alberta, which offices he held until the abolishing of these offices in 1919, since which time he has been attached to the Edmonton land office.


 


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