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Canadian History
William Henderson


Of Toronto, the subject of this sketch, was born in the parish of Halkirk, in the County of Caithness, Scotland. His father was a farmer there; but gave his son the benefits which education confers, sending him to schools at Thurso and Wick. In 1833 numbers of persons were emigrating to the new world to seek their fortunes, and among the numbers was William Henderson, who on his arrival settled in Toronto, where his quick business perceptions, his good judgment and intelligence soon gave him a prominent citizenship. He was destined in the troublous times of 1837 to be in the melee, and was found in the city guards aiding in restoring order and maintaining the law. Always taking a broad and intelligent view of civic affairs and public matters generally, he came to be recognized as one who should be in a legislative sphere. So toward 1855 a number of his friends asked him to allow himself to be nominated for the City Council. He consented, and was elected to the council for 1855 and 1856, and while in the Council he acted as chairman of the Committee on Fire, Water and Gas, and got introduced and carried the first by-law creating a paid fire brigade. Possessed of a high sense of fairness, and having a character of high integrity, he was appointed a justice of the peace, and in that position now is often actively engaged, and gives eminent satisfaction as an administrator of justice. Mr. Henderson has been active in diverse ways. His sympathies are large, and he has been prominent in the promotion of various measures of public and social utility. In 1859 he was president of St. Andrew's Society, but never attached himself to any secret society. In religion he is a staunch and honoured member of the Presbyterian Church. In politics he has supported the policy propounded by the old reformers, and so ably carried on by Mr. George Brown, Mr. Alexander Mackenzie and the other liberal leaders. In 1840 he married Miss Wilhelmina Munro Sinclair. He is at present manager of the Hartford Fire Insurance Company, of Hartford, Connecticut, for the Dominion of Canada.


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