This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.
The violent death of Fred Higginbotham in September 1896 shocked Winnipeg. The popular all-round athlete had helped the Victorias win Manitoba’s first Stanley Cup only seven months earlier. A monument to Fred Higginbotham, bearing the insignia of the Winnipeg Victorias, stands in the cemetery of his hometown in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Light hearted Fred Higginbotham, than whom there was no better known or better liked young man in Winnipeg, met with an accident Sunday afternoon which brought to a tragic and untimely termination his earthly career, so full of brightness and promise. It appears that he was spending the afternoon with his friend Mr. Joseph Hall, at the latter's residence on the river bank beyond River park, and towards evening was playing with the children, giving them a ride on a pony. He jumped on the pony's back himself to show how he could ride, when the little animal swerved suddenly around a post and he was caught across the eyes by a wire clothes line, which he had not noticed, and was thrown backward from the pony. Though he made an attempt to save himself he fell heavily on the ground striking on the back of his head, sustaining, as it was subsequently discovered, a fracture of the spinal cord. He was removed to the house and medical aid summoned, but from the first the doctors saw there was no hope of his recovery. His whole body was paralyzed, but he retained consciousness until 5 o'clock in the morning, when evidences of complete collapse began to manifest themselves and from that time he gradually sank until 8.40, when he breathed his last, dying in the arms of his bosom friend, Mr. Hall. Only a few in the city knew of the accident Sunday night, and the news of the young man's death, when announced yesterday morning was a sudden, and severe shock to his hosts of friends, and everyone who spoke of the sad event did so in terms of deepest sorrow.
The deceased came to Winnipeg about twelve years ago, from Bowmanville, Ont., where his father still resides. He was an enthusiastic devotee of amateur athletic sports and was identified with the leading sporting clubs of the city. In the palmy days of lacrosse he was a star member of the 90th champion team. He also went to Vancouver seven years ago and played a year with the lacrosse team of that city. When hockey took a place among local sports he was one of the first to take up the game, as a member of the famous Victoria club. He played twice with the team of that club on eastern tours, being one of its bulwarks. He went east with the team last winter, when they won the championship of the world. He also figured conspicuously on the football field a few years ago. Deceased gained a wide acquaintance and many friendships through his musical abilities, being an excellent guitar player, and possessing a capital faculty for entertaining. It is a remarkable coincidence than on Saturday evening he was spending a few hours with a party of friends and when it was time to disperse he was asked to give the final song, and he selected "Nearer My God to Thee," which was his favorite air. For the past five years deceased was employed in the Hudson's Bay company's stores. He was only 28 years of age. Mr. W. J. Higginbotham, druggist, of Wirden, who is a brother of the deceased, was summoned by wire, and arrived in the city yesterday afternoon.
The body will be taken to Bowmanville, Ont., for burial. His brother has completed arrangements for the funeral services here. Services will be held at the late residence of deceased, 263 Graham avenue, at 11.30 this morning, by Rev. Messrs. Pedley and Walker. At 12 o'clock the funeral will move to the C. P. R. depot, where the remnants will be put on the 12.40 train for the east. Thus all that is mortal of the genial and whole souled young man will sever its connection for ever with Winnipeg but it will be many a long year before the memory of Fred Higginbotham will be forgotten in the Prairie capital. The pallbearers have been selected from among Mr. Higginbotham's most intimate friends. The remaining members of the popular trio, Messrs. Hall and Lacy will be among the number, with J. C. G. Armytage, who has always been associated with deceased in all branches of sport; and G. Merritt, J. Elliott and J. White. The Victoria Hockey club will attend the funeral in a body and a large number of wheelmen will be present. They will walk in the procession by the side of their bicycles. Mr. J. W. Higginbotham will accompany the remains of his brother east.