William Thomas Pipes

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William Thomas Pipes
William Thomas Pipes.jpg
6th Premier of Nova Scotia
In office
August 3, 1882 – July 15, 1884
Monarch Victoria
Lieutenant Governor Adams George Archibald
Matthew Henry Richey
Preceded by John Thompson
Succeeded by William Stevens Fielding
MLA for Cumberland County
In office
June 20, 1882 – June 15, 1886
Preceded by Charles J. Townshend
Edward Vickery
Succeeded by Richard L. Black
In office
June 20, 1906 – October 7, 1909
Serving with Elisha B. Paul
Preceded by Thomas R. Black
Elisha B. Paul
Daniel McLeod
Succeeded by Joshua H. Livingston
Personal details
Born (1850-04-15)April 15, 1850
Amherst, Nova Scotia
Died October 7, 1909(1909-10-07) (aged 59)
Boston, Massachusetts
Nationality Canadian
Political party Liberal
Ruth Eliza McElmon (m. 1876)
Children 3 daughters
Alma mater Amherst Academy
Occupation lawyer, and businessman
Profession politician

William Thomas Pipes (April 15, 1850 – October 7, 1909) was a politician in Nova Scotia, Canada.


Pipes was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia. He ran in the 1878 federal election against Charles Tupper, but was unable to wrest away Tupper's seat in the House of Commons of Canada. In 1882, Pipes ran as a Liberal candidate in the provincial election and won a seat.

The Liberals unexpectedly won the most seats in the legislature despite the fact that they had no leader. William S. Fielding was at the time editor of the Halifax Morning Chronicle and could have become premier, but declined due to his lack of financial resources.

The caucus selected Pipes to lead the party and become the sixth Premier. The position was an unpaid one at the time, so Pipes had to continue his law practice. Pipes served as premier for two years, but was hobbled by personal problems and the need to earn a living. He induced Fielding to enter cabinet, and they became close collaborators.

The principal policy objective of the Pipes government was to secure a transfer of the Pictou railway line from the federal government to the province and to purchase and complete the privately owned "Eastern Extension Railway". The federal and provincial governments were unable to agree on a price, and the Pipes government abandoned the project. The Pipes government also tried to get financial assistance from Ottawa, but was unsuccessful, and was forced to cut government spending.

Pipes' personal situation became increasingly untenable, and his relations with his cabinet (aside from Fielding) were frayed. On July 15, 1884, Pipes resigned as Premier, and nominated Fielding as his successor.

Pipes broke with Fielding in 1886, however, as Fielding moved for the province's secession from Canadian confederation due to the federal government's neglect of the province's demands. During that year's election, Pipes referred to Fielding's campaign as "the putrid carcass of repeal".

In 1887, Pipes again attempted to win a seat in the federal House of Commons, but again failed to dislodge Tupper. In 1906, he returned to provincial politics, and served as Attorney-General in the cabinet of Premier George H. Murray until his death in Boston.

Pipes was involved in business as director of Amherst Boot and Shoe Manufacturing Co, a large shareholder in the Rhodes Curry Company, and director and secretary of the Nova Scotia Lumber Company. He held these positions during his time as a provincial cabinet minister.


  • "William Thomas Pipes". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
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