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A Canadian politician, who served as mayor of Sudbury, Ontario in 1895


The third mayor of Sudbury, Murray C. Biggar suddenly disappeared from his office on the night of Sept. 14, 1897. (City of Greater Sudbury Archives). He had told his wife Etta that he would check his mail and be right home. He was never seen again.

A skiff and oars were discovered on Lake Ramsey the following day with a portion of a Biggar-addressed telegram in the boat. Had he tried to row to a small island to meet his law clerk John McPhail and drowned? Const. Gagne, Sudbury's first town constable, dynamited Lake Ramsey but the body never surfaced.

The Disappearance of Murray C. Biggar





Following his defeat, Biggar disappeared from Sudbury in 1896, abandoning his law practice and his family. He was rumored to have drowned in Lake Ramsey, but Sudbury resident Gus Harwood found him living in San Francisco in 1898. He had gone briefly to Yukon to prospect in the Klondike Gold Rush, but then moved to San Francisco after failing to stake a mining claim.


Murray Clement Biggar was born in Walpole, Ontario to James Pettit Biggar and Priscilla Pettit Clement. He married Etta Lovell Cleland in Collingwood, Ontario on September 26, 1895. Biggar enrolled as a solicitor in 1890 (Law Society of Upper Canada) and was called to the bar in December 1894. He practiced law in Sudbury from 1892 until he was elected Mayor. It appears he continued working as a lawyer in town following the 1896 election until he disappeared.


The last time M. C. Biggar appears to have been mentioned alive in the Town of Sudbury Minutes was on August 2, 1897.


According to C.M. Wallace and Ashley Thomson, "In 1896 Biggar himself mysteriously vanished, leaving behind his law practice, his wife, and his home. At the time, everybody thought he had drowned in Lake Ramsey, but in 1898 Gus Harwood, Fournier's challenger in 1891, came across the former mayor in San Francisco, where he had repaired after failing to strike it rich in the Klondike. Later, Biggar was alleged to have gone to South America."


C.M. Wallace & Ashley Thomson, "Sudbury: Rail Town to Regional Capital," (Toronto: Dundurn Press Limited, 1993), p. 56

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