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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
John Robert McIntosh


John H. McIntosh, land agent for the Hudson's Bay Company, has been intimately associated with the development and uphuilding of the Edmonton district from pioneer times to the present and personal experience has made him familiar with the various phases of life on the frontier. A native of the province of Quebec, he was born June 29, 1880, on a farm seven miles from Sherbrooke, in the beautiful St. Francis valley, known to tourists as one of the most picturesque spots in eastern Canada. He is of Scotch ancestry in both the paternal and maternal lines and his father, the Hon. John McIntosh, was born at Laprairie, Quebec, in 1841. He was married at North Georgetown, in that province, to Janet Greig, a native of Quebec, and died in 1904, when sixty-three years of age. The mother is still living and enjoys excellent health.

John Robert McIntosh completed his education in the high school at Sherbrooke, Quebec, and his initial experience in the business world was obtained as clerk in the office of a live stock firm of Montreal, Quebec, with which he remained for three years. When twenty years of age he went to Slater, Colorado, which is eighty miles from Rawlins, Wyoming, the nearest railroad center, and there he obtained a clerical position in a general store owned by a large horse rancher. Believing that he would find the climate of western Canada as invigorating as that of the American west, Mr. McIntosh decided to return to his native land and in April, 1902, started for Calgary, Alberta. His financial resources were very limited and he gladly accepted the first job offered him in the city, that of junior clerk in the retail hardware store of J. H. Ashdown. He carefully saved his earnings and by fall had accumulated a sum sufficient to enable him to reach his ultimate destination, Edmonton, the garden of western Canada. The city, located on the banks of the Saskatchewan, with its valley beneath, was the nearest approach to his old home in the way of a beauty spot and the rich black loam and productive qualities of the soil far excelled those of even the famous St. Francis valley. After arriving in Edmonton he secured employment with P. Heininck, then land agent for the Hudson's Bay Company, and for two years was in his service, acting as bookkeeper, stenographer and general clerk. In 1904 he acquired a section of land from the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company and also entered a homestead in the Vegreville district of Alberta. The Canadian Northern had not as yet extended its road into this section of the country and two or three times each year Mr. McIntosh was obliged to make the trip by team from his farm to Edmonton, the nearest and only business center, a distance of one hundred and ten miles by trail. This was no easy task when the roads were muddy and during extremely cold weather, but the hardships which he endured enabled Mr. McIntosh to build up a rugged physical constitution and he brought his land under cultivation through much hard work and persevering effort. 1-laying an opportunity to dispose of his farm to advantage, he accepted the offer and returned to Edmonton, where the lure of real estate speculation was attracting thousands of men from all quarters of the globe. In 1907 he embarked in a general real estate and brokerage business, specializing in the valuation of property and in the loaning of private funds, and one of his most successful ventures was the purchase for himself and his associates of a three hundred and twenty acre farm immediately adjoining the shops of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad Company. This locality is now known as Calder and is the home of most of the employes of that system. Mr. McIntosh continued his operations in real estate with ever-increasing success until July 1, 1920, when he was appointed land agent for the Hudson's Bay Company at Edmonton, in which capacity he is now serving. He is a sagacious, farsighted business man and his experience in the real estate field has been of great value to him in his present office, the duties of which he discharges with marked ability and efficiency.

In Montreal, Quebec, on September 25, 1907, Mr. McIntosh was married to Miss Grace Elizabeth McBean, a daughter of George McBean, now deceased, who was a prominent grain dealer of that city. Mr. and Mrs. McIntosh have become the parents of two sons and a daughter: John George, born in August, 1910; James Ewing, whose birth occurred on the 30th of September, 1912; and Grace McBean, born August 31, 1915. Mr. McIntosh is a strong Conservative in his political views and he has been selected to fill many public offices in Edmonton. From 1904 until 1907 he served as justice of the peace, being the youngest incumbent in that office in what was then known as the Northwest Territories but now comprises the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and for three years he has been president of the Edmonton Exhibition Association. He is a Master Mason and his religious views are in accord with the doctrines of the Presbyterian church. He has been both the architect and builder of his fortunes and his history is proof of the fact that success and an honored name may be won simultaneously. For many years his interests have been closely allied with all that pertains to Edmonton's growth and advancement and his life has ever been an upright, active and useful one, characterized by a progressive spirit that has kept him prominently before the public in business and political relations. Mr. McIntosh's home environment and training were of the best and he says: "The credit of any success which I may have attained must be given to my parents. The reputation for honesty of my late father has assisted me more than anything else, and it is the best asset and legacy a boy could be given. This, together with the careful bringing up and good influence of a good mother, are bequests which I will always prize more than anything else."


 


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