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Canadian History
Adam Laidlaw


Of Hamilton, was born in the village of Bedrule, Roxburghshire, Scotland, on the 18th of March, 1833. His parents were James Laidlaw and Elizabeth, nee Robson, and daughter of Adam Robson, of Jedburgh, Scotland, builder, etc. The father of our subject came to Canada in 1862, settling in the township of Bentinck, County of Grey, Ontario, on a farm where he remained until his death in 1880. he left a family of seven children, the subject of our sketch being the fourth child. Some of the family are still residing in Scotland. Mrs. Laidlaw is living and dwells on the old homestead, which is now managed by her son, Robert Laidlaw, who came to Canada in the year of his father's death. He is a robust, well-to-do farmer. The family consist of Robert, who manages the estate, and to whom it belongs now; of Margaret Laidlaw, wife of George Murray, Esq., of Nesbitt, Scotland; of Agnes Laidlaw, wife of William Rutherford, Esq., of Bentinck township, Grey County; of George Laidlaw, of Dakota, United States, and Elizabeth Laidlaw, wife of William Jackson, Esq., of the township of Sullivan, County of Grey. Adam Laidlaw, the subject of our sketch, received a common school education in Scotland. At the age of sixteen, he left school and apprenticed himself to the carpenter and building business, in the small town of Oxnam, in the employ of the late Robert Huggan, Esq., a large builder and contractor of that place, and a most respected citizen. After remaining here for seven years, Mr. Laidlaw left the employ of Mr. Huggan, and, in the year 1856, sailed for Canada. He proceeded to Hamilton, and commenced his trade, working at the same until the year 1866, when he was chosen manager of the Hamilton Co-operative store. In this position he remained until 1869, when he retired and entered the foundry business in partnership with William Turnbull, Esq., of Hamilton, in the Mary Street Foundry, doing business under the name of Turnbull & Co. The partnership continued until 1874, when Mr. Turnbull retired and Mr. Laidlaw continued the business under the name of A. Laidlaw & Co.  In 1878, Mr. Laidlaw admitted as partner, Mr. John G. Bowes, when the firm became known as Laidlaw, Bowes & Co. In 1884, Mr. Bowes retired and Mr. Laidlaw at once organised a Joint Stock Company, under the name of Laidlaw Manufacturing Company, Mr. Laidlaw occupying the position of vice-president and manager. This Company manufactures all kinds of stoves, hot air furnaces, hollow ware, and castings; is the only one in the country that manufacturers enamelled wares, and is most favourably known throughout the Dominion. It is now doing an enormous business, and every month sees a further widening of its popularity and custom. Our subject, it may also be said, was of the Home guard during the time of the Fenian raid in 1866. He had travelled through all parts of Canada, and visited the important cities of the United States. He is a Presbyterian, and in politics always has been a conscientious and sturdy reformer, and is an especially strong supporter of the Hamilton Reform Association. In 1875, he was appointed a justice of the peace. He married in 1859, Miss Janet Dickson, daughter of the late John Dickson, of Mossburnford, Roxburghshire, Scotland, by whom he had had three children, two boys and one girl. Mr. James A. Laidlaw, the eldest son is book-keeper in the firm, and also a stockholder. Miss Laidlaw, the eldest, married Mr. John Macabe, of Toronto, and the youngest, John D. Laidlaw, is employed with the hardware form of Messrs. Woods & Leggatt, Hamilton. It may be added, that the peninsular coal and wood stoves, among which may be particularly mentioned the self-feeding "Regal Peninsular", are manufactured by this company, and have a fame and a sale far beyond Canada. These, the American press declare, are amongst the finest stoves ever sent from a foundry.


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