Baxter, Truman Smith (1867-1956)

Truman Baxter was the anti-Asian mayor of Vancouver at the time of the Komagata Maru affair. He was born on a farm at the rural crossroads of Carlingford, near Stratford, Ontario in an area that had been cleared and settled by English, Scots and German pioneers in the 1830s and 1840s. He came west to Vancouver in his early twenties, initially to work in saw mills and planing mills before qualifying as primary school teacher and then studying law and becoming a lawyer, and also a businessman with a furniture store in downtown Vancouver. He served several terms as an alderman before his first run for mayor in 1913 when he was elected by acclamation. In 1914 he won re-election by a healthy margin, but lost in 1915 to a candidate with more appeal to working class voters. In the summer of 1914, shortly after the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver, he organized the large anti-Asian rally at which H.H. Stevens was the principal speaker.

Sources: John Mackie, “The Mayors of Vancouver: A Lively History,” Vancouver Sun, 5 April 2011; Chuck Davis, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver (Vancouver: Harbour Publishing Co., 2009); W.S. and H.J. Johnston, Perth County to 1967 (Stratford: The Corporation of Perth, 1967).