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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Duncan McLachlan


DUNCAN McLACHLAN.  The Canada Business College of Chatham, of which Mr. McLachlan is the president, is one of the many leading factors contributing to the best interests of that city.  An institution, the prime object of which is to prepare young men and women for successful business positions, brings a large revenue into the city, and is an enterprise whose good work will live after its noble founder has passed away.  This educational institution was founded in 1876, by Duncan McLachlan, and was opened for business November 30, of that year, with the enrollment of one pupil, Alexander McLachlan, a brother of the president.  This first pupil is now the president of the International College at Smyrna, Turkey.  From that humble beginning, over a quarter of a century ago, the number of pupils has increased to over 300, according to the statement for the year ending 1900.  The faculty has grown from one member, in 1876, to eleven, six of whom are regular teachers, three assistants and two lecturers.  This is the only business college in Canada which has continued for 27 years under the same management, and it is a matter of note that pupils of Mr. McLachlan are at the head of great colleges all over Canada and the United States.  Among those in Canada may be mentioned:  James Westervelt, principal of the Forest City Business College, at London, Ontario; R.E. Gallagher, at the head of the Canada Business College, at Hamilton, Ontario; W.H. Shaw of the Central Business College of Toronto; W.J. Elliott, of the Central Business College at Stratford; and H.T. Gough, of St Thomas Business College.  For the year ending in June prior to the receiving of this information, the institution had enrolled pupils from 138 cities, towns and hamlets; from six States in the United States; from Newfoundland; from thirty countries and districts of Ontario; and its graduates are to be found all over the world. 

The life history of the man through whose efforts this college has reached its present high degree of usefulness is both interesting and instructive.  Mr. McLachlan is a native of the County of Wellington, Ontario, of Scottish ancestry, a son of Malcolm and Christine (McDonald) McLachlan, and a grandson of Daniel and Mary (McDOnald) McLachlan.  Daniel McLachlan was born in Scotland, about 1783, and married Mary McDonald, also a native of Scotland.  They were among the very early settlers in the County of Peel, Ontario where they engaged in farming, and reared the following children:  Charles, Malcolm, John, Daniel, Lachlan and Alexander, all deceased; Clemina, the wife of Alexander McLachlan, the Canadian poet; Mary, deceased, the wife of Daniel McMillan, and Nancy, the widow of Neil Brown. 

Of this family, Malcolm McLachlan, the father of Duncan, was born in Johnstone in 1814, and was five years of age when his parents brought him to Ontario.  His first marriage was to Jane Kirkwood, and the following children were born to this union; Daniel, of Victoria, B.C.; William, of Seattle, Washington; Robert, of Orcas Island; Margaret, deceased; and Mary, deceased.  The second marriage of Mr. McLachlan was to Christine McDonald, daughter of Duncan and Catharine McDonald, and the children born to this union were:  Duncan; John, who is a deputy sheriff at Ottawa; Alexander, who is principal of the International College at Smyrna, Turkey; Charles, a physician in New Rockford, North Dakota, vice-president of the Bank of New Rockford, and ex-member of the State Legislature; Malcolm, who is president of the McLachlan Business University at Grand Rapids, Michigan; and James, who is manager of an elevator at New Rockford, North Dakota.

President McLachlan was born September 19th, 1852, in the township of Erin, County of Wellington, Ontario, where he was reared and where he attended the public schools and later took a course in the Rockwood Academy.  His educational work began early, for he was still a young man when made principal of the public school at Glen Williams, where he remained one year.  At the conclusion of this service President McLachlan entered upon his career as a student in the British American Business College at Toronto, where he graduated in 1872, thoroughly qualified in every detail of this line of educational work.  In September, 1872, he accepted the position of instructor in penmanship in the Canada Business College, Hamilton, and in 1873 became a partner in the institutuion, this partnership continuing until 1879.  In the meantime, in 1876, he had founded the Canada Business College, at Chatham, which he has personally conducted ever since.

In 1891 Mr. McLachlan was united in marriage with Emma Hall, the one daughter of this union being Jean Christine.  Mrs. McLachlan died in 1894 and in 1897 he married Miss Jennie Elder, by whom he had two children, Louise A. and Kenneth Duncan.  Religiously he is a Presbyterian.  Politically he is a Reformer, and socially a member of Barton Lodge, No. 6, A.F. & A.M., of Hamilton, Ontario.


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