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Canadian History
Robert Henry


Brantford, ex-Mayor of the City of Brantford was born in Perthshire, Scotland, on November 30th, 1844. He is a son of John Henry, a contractor, and his mother, Jane, nee Dow, both being Scotch. Our subject was educated in the parish schools of Perthshire until he reached his ninth year. Then, in 1853, he came with the family to Ontario, and finished his studies in the Brantford public schools. In his twelfth year he entered the employ of Andrew Hudson, stationer, and in this employ remained three years. He then became an apprentice to the grocery business with R. C. Allan. In 1862 our subject entered the warehouse of Charles Watts, the leading wholesale grocer in Brantford; and on the demise of Mr. Watts, in 1868, he became manager for Alfred Watts, the son of his former employer, who bought out the business. Mr. Henry held the position until 1871, when he became a partner. The firm was now known as A. Watts & Co., wholesale grocers.  This firm also owns the Brantford soap works, the largest in the Dominion. The wholesale and manufactory, combined, embrace a very large business. The character of the firm stands the very highest, and its business relations extend throughout every province in the Dominion. Mr. Henry has held many positions of trust and responsibility during his career in Brantford. He has been president of the St. Andrew's Society, of the Caledonia Society, of the South Brant Agricultural Association, of the Telegram Printing Company, of the Liberal Conservative Association, and has been for two years part the president of the Brantford Board of Trade. He at one time was, for three years, a member of the High School Board. He has also been a director of the Brantford Young Ladies' College, since its establishment; and he takes a very active part in the municipal affairs of the city, having been elected to the council for the representation of the North Ward in 1876. Mr. Henry was elected to the mayor's chair in 1878 by a large majority, and was the first mayor of Brantford after its inauguration as a city. He was elected by acclamation in 1879, and offered the position a third time, but declined. During his term of office as chief magistrate the Lorne bridge across the Grand River was built, and is one of the best roadway bridges in Canada. Mr. Henry has always been an indefatigable worker in the interests of the city and county. In politics he is a Liberal Conservative; in religion a Presbyterian, and is a member of Zion Presbyterian church. He married Carrie E. Philip in December, 1879, daughter of the late Anthony Philip, and grand-daughter of the Rev. Dr. Buchanan, of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has three children. Mr. Henry is courteous and kindly-hearted, and is very popular with all classes of the people.


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