William Hamilton Merritt III
William Hamilton Merritt III (June 8, 1855 - October 26, 1918) was a Canadian soldier, author, and mining engineer. His grandfather, William Hamilton Merritt, was a politician in Ontario. Confusingly, his father and cousin also shared his name; even though he is now known as William Hamilton Merritt III, during his life, he did not refer to himself as the third.
After completing schooling in Ontario at Trinity College School and Upper Canada College, Merritt studied at Clifton College and the Royal School of Mines in England, where he received his A.R.S.M. (Associate of the Royal Society of Mines). Upon returning to Canada, he published pamphlets on mining and taught at the School of Mining in Kingston, Ontario. He was elected vice-president of the Ontario Mining Institute.
Merritt also pursued a career as a soldier. In 1882 he joined the Governor-General’s Bodyguard, where he was promoted quickly through the ranks. In 1903, he became lieutenant-colonel. Merritt served in the Northwest Rebellion and the Boer War, but by 1914 he was too old to serve in the First World War. He maintained an interest in military matters, though, and published a book, Canada and National Service, which advocated compulsory military service.
The city of Merritt, British Columbia is named after William Hamilton Merritt III, due to his role in bringing the railway through the Nicola Valley. In 1891, Merritt prospected for coal near where the city is today. Finding it, he organized the Nicola, Kamloops and Similkameen Coal and Railway Company to extend the rail line through to transport coal out of the valley. The railway also allowed settlement and industry to flourish in the valley. As demand for coal grew, the company was eventually bought by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: Merritt, William Hamilton. http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=7603&&PHPSESSID=0r7c762ec31smtao0bcqqi0lm0 . University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2000.
- "Lieutenant-Colonel William Hamilton Merritt III." Nicola Valley Historical Quarterly, Spring 2007: 21.3.