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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
James Innes


JAMES INNES, managing director of the Sutherland-Innes Company, Limited, of Liverpool, England, Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans, Louisiana, New York City, New York, and Chatham, Ontario, is a descendant of noble Highland Scotch ancestors, his great-grandmother on his father’s side being one of the Forbes of Culloden, who sheltered Prince Charlie in his extremity, and for this had their estates sequestrated.  He is descended from the noble family of Innes of Moray, the “Scottish Nation’ giving a complete history of the family down to 1837.  The biographer states that the Innes family was noted that their estates never descended to a woman, none of them ever married an ill wife, that no friend ever suffered for their debt, and that they were loyal to the core.  They all fought bravely for their king or church, their loyalty to the Stuarts losing most of the family their estates in the highlands, only one branch on the female side, the Sinclairs of Caithness, retaining any of the large estates formerly owned by them. 

            John Innes, son of James Innes, the grandfather of Manager Innes, was born in the Highlands of Scotland in 1789, a younger son of Sir James Innes, of Speyside, Scotland, and he died there in 1881.  His wife, Wilhelmina Ross, was also of Scottish ancestry and environment, a daughter of John Ross, a well-known farmer, mastr cooper and fish packer.  To John Innes and wife were born these children:  May, James, Jane, Mary Ann, Ina, Amy, William, Catherine, John and Jessie, the survivors being:  Mary, who is Mrs. Sutherland, of Liverpool; Catherine, who is Mrs. Stewart, of Ridgetown; James, who resides in Liverpool and William and Amy, who are residents of Lybster, Scotland.

            James Innes, son of John and father of James Innes, of Chatham, was born at Lybster, Scotland, in 1832, and in 1860 married Margaret Robinson, also of Scotch extraction, who was born in Glasgow, in 1839, and is still surviving.  James Innes was one of the founders of the concern which is now known as the Sutherland-Innes Company, Limited, the largest cooperage stock company in the world, and one which has established trade connections all over the civilized world.  Mr. Innes after a long and active life is now living retired in his home in Liverpool, England.  The children, born to James and Margaret Innes were eight in number, namely:  Mary, who is Mrs. Hugh Reid, of England; James, of Chatham; John, deceased; Ina, who is Mrs. Frank Travis, of Liverpool; John, deceased; William Ross, A.M.; Ph.D., and A.J.C., from Queen’s University, Liverpool, and Heidelberg, Germany, who is now professor of chemistry at Birmingham, England; and Margaret and John, both deceased.

           The early life of that very successful and well-known business citizen of Chatham, James Innes, was spent in the city of Liverpool, where he was born July 8th, 1864.  His education was acquired in Derby Academy and Liverpool Institute, his quick intelligence placing him far in advance of other students of the same age.  Mr. Innes was but sixteen years old when he was given charge of one branch of his father’s business, his steadiness and reliability making this a judicious appointment.  When the firm of Sutherland-Innes Co. was being formed, his business ability gained him a position as one of its members, and he at once came from Liverpool to New York, in 1889, to the New York office.  In 1890 Mr. Innes came to Chatham, and is now the managing head of the great interests of his company throughout Canada, United States, Europe, etc., being made secretary and treasurer in 1890, in 1891 the managing director, and in 1904 general manager.  During his long business association with the affairs of this company he has grown conversant with its every detail, which his quick intelligence enables him to easily guide the affairs of the corporation safely along the narrow-gauge road which, in weaker hands, in days of financial panic, might swerve to the wrong side.  With so capable, so trained and so careful a man at the head, although but young in years, the Sutherland-Innes Company promises to have a still more prosperous future.  Mr. Innes is interested in other capitalistic enterprises, is a director in the Northwestern Cooperage and Lumber Company, president of the Victor Cooperage Company, Williams, Michigan, lessee of the Lenawee Hoop Company, Homer, Michigan, and also president of the Great Eastern Milling and Mining Company, of Idaho.

           On March 27th, 1895, Mr. Innes was married to Miss Lily May Fisher, a daughter of S.S. Fisher, of Bloomington, State of Illinois.  Politically Mr. Innes is non-partisan, casting his influence in the direction of the candidate his judgment deciees to be most capable.  Fraternally he belongs to the K. of P., and the Hoo Hoos.  Both he and Mrs. Innes are members of the Presbyterian Church.


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