William Smith Dingman (1858-1947).
William's father, Absalom (1827-1911), born in Belleville, was already a newspaper publisher in Strathroy when he purchased the Herald, a popular weekly Stratford newspaper, and relocated here in 1886 with his wife, Emma Smith and their family of 3 daughters and 4 sons. That was the beginning of the Dingman Dynasty in Stratford newspaper publishing.
Absalom employed three of his sons, William, Lewis and Charles, with him in the newspaper business. William, the eldest who had gained newspaper experience as managing editor at the Port Arthur Sentinel, shortly became co-publisher. Lewis moved on in 1889 to become managing editor and later owner of the St. Thomas Journal. Although he spent most of his career with that city's newspapers, he remained connected with Stratford by purchasing the Herald in 1920 and merging it with the Beacon in 1923. Charles left Stratford to work at the Montreal Star and the Winnipeg Telegram before returning to Stratford to become the first editor and managing director of the new Stratford Beacon Herald in May 1923. After his sudden death six months later, his son Charles Dobson Dingman succeeded him.
Hence began, what is described by Adelaide Leitch in the Stratford history, Floodtides of Fortune, a newspaper dynasty. It would last for 113 years.
William Smith Dingman and Margaret (Maggie) Elizabeth McDonough were married in Strathroy in 1889 with her father, the Rev. William McDonough, a Methodist clergyman, performing the ceremony. They immediately settled at 59 Grant St., where their first child, a daughter, Wilhelmine Margaret, was born. William and Maggie’s first son, George McDonough, served in the First World War, after which he joined the Dingman newspaper in St. Thomas, as an advertising manager.
In 1890, William moved the Herald into a new building, designed by architect Joseph Kilburn, on the south side of Market Square. It remained there until his paper's merger with the Beacon in 1923.