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Canadian History
John Innes Mackenzie


of Hamilton, the subject of this sketch, was born at the farm "Ardcronie", Ross-shire, Scotland, on the 5th May, 1822. He is the fifth son of James Mackenzie, by Grace, nee Innes. Our subject's father was an ensign in the Clanalpine Regt. of Fencibles Infantry. He served in Ireland, and fought at the battle of Vinegar Hill, in the County of Wexford. In the year 1800 he was promoted to a lieutenancy in the same regiment. On May 24th, 1813, he was appointed Captain and Adjutant of the Eastern Regiment of Ross Local Militia, and was presented with the freedom of the Royal Burgh of Dingwall, Ross-shire, in 1801. He was the father of twenty-one children and died on his farm. The subject of this sketch was educated at the Parish School of Logie Eastrer, and at the Parish School of Kincardine, Ross-shire. At fourteen years of age he entered on an apprenticeship in a general store in the Isle of Skye. In 1842 he emigrated to Canada, making the passage in fourteen weeks by sailing ship. The only serious trouble of his life was arriving in Canada without money or friends. But he had strong hopes in the country's future, and worked his way to his destination - Hamilton. Here and in the neighbourhood he served as a dry goods salesman until 1846, when he ventured, without any capital, to open a general store in Ingersoll, County of Oxford. Here, however, he had a large success, and at 31 years of age he might have retired with an ample fortune. In 1853 he was offered, and accepted, a partnership in, and the management of, a new wholesale dry goods business by his former employers. He accepted the offer, and went to London, Ontario. This business he conducted successfully for thirteen years. In 1866, and in the interest of the Hamilton establishment, the two concerns were amalgamated in Hamilton. Subsequently he opened a wholesale dry goods business in Hamilton; and in 1877 sold out his interest therin to his then partners. Since that time he has been mainly engaged as Secy.-Treasurer, and General Manager of the Long Point Shooting Club. Later on he became License Inspector for the city of Hamilton. About 1862, in conjunction with Mr. James Moffatt, he organized a Highland volunteer company in the city of London. At their joint expense the two fully equipped the company, importing the clothing from Glasgow. Our subject was an honorary private, and Mr. Moffatt (now Lieut.-Colonel) was selected as captain. At the time of the Trent difficulty he raised No. 1 Company of the London Battalion, now the 7th Fusiliers, in which he served as captain. He went up for examination, and passed with a first-class certificate. In March, 1866, when moving to Hamilton, he sent in his resignation, but was prevailed upon instead to be transferred to the Hamilton command. In 1870 he was gazetted first Major in the Reserve Militia of the Regimental Division of the city of Hamilton, which rank he now holds. He was prominent in establishing the Dominion Telegraph Company, and was vice-President of that organization for many years. He was also a Director of the Wellington, Grey & Bruce Railway during the construction of that road; was an alderman in the city of London and Hamilton, and prides himself on never having solicited a vote. He was chairman of the Prince of Wales reception committee in London at the time of H. R. H. visit. He was President of St. Andrew's Soceity in London and in Hamilton; and also President of the Board of Trade in both cities. He became a Free and Accepted Mason in 1853, and is now a past master. He is a Presbyterian, and a Reformer in politics. He married in Nov., 1847, Margaret Phelan, of Abbeyleix, Queen's County, Ireland, now deceased. By this union he had two sons and two daughters, all of whom are alive. Altogether the career of Mr. Mackenzie is one of which any one might be proud; and he is one of those to whom our young country must always find that she remains under a measure of indebtedness.


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