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Major John Gillies


Gillies, Major John, Gillies’ Hill, Ontario, M.P.P. for North Bruce, is a native of the Parish of Kilcalomnell, Argyleshire, Scotland. He is a son of Hugh Gillies and Mary Blue, the latter being a descendant of one of the old families of the West Highlands, who were originally of the McDonald clan. Hugh Gillies was a farmer, and came to. this country in 1855, settling in the township of Elderslie, County of Bruce, where he remained engaged in farming until his death in 1869. Mrs. Gillies died in Scotland. There was a family of ten children, the subject of this sketch being the sixth eldest. Major John Gillies received a parochial school education. At the age of sixteen he left school, and having a desire to travel and to try his fortune in the new world, he in company with his two brothers, Malcolm and Dugald Gillies sailed for Awerica, and reached Canada in August, 1852, and shortly afterwards settled upon a farm in the township of Eiderslie, Bruce county, Ontario, and is now the possessor of a splendid farm of 300 acres of land, on which he at present resides. Mr. Gillies has taken some interest in militia affairs, and was appointed senior major of the Canadian militia. in 1856, he was elected township councillor of Elderslie, and continued for many years in the council, being reeve for over fifteen years and warden of the county for five years of that time. He has been provisional director of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway, having taken mach interest in railroad enterprises, In politics Mr. Gillies is a staunch Liberal. He contested the North Riding of Bruce for the Commons against Colonel Sproat, defeating him in 1872 by a majority of twenty-three votes, and was elected by acclamation in 1874. In 1878, he again contested the riding against Colonel Sproat, and gained the election by a majority of 156 votes. In 1882, after the "gerrymander act," he was defeated by Alexander McNeil, being handicapped in the constituency by nearly 400 votes. However, in 1883, Mr. Gillies contested the same riding for the Ontario legislature against James Rowan, and was elected by a majority of 120 votes. Mr. Gillies is one of the most zealous and punctual members of the legislature, and devotes a great deal of attention to public affairs, and especially to them that are of moment to his own constituency. He does not often speak, but when he does, his utterances are characterised by careful thought and a thorough knowledge of the subject under discussion. In religion he is a staunch Presbyterian. He is not married.


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