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Canadian History
Arthur Wellington Ross, MP


M.P. for Lisgar, Winnipeg, was born on the 25th of March, 1846 in the township of East Williams, Middlesex county. His father, Donald Ross, was born in Tain, and his mother, Margaret Ross, in Glasgow, Scotland. By his birth he secured the traits of character peculiar to both branches of the Scottish family. Donald Ross was the eldest son of Arthur Ross of the 78th Highlanders, and was wounded five times. He served under Sir Ralph Abercrombie and the Duke of Wellington, and he lost his eye sight with the sands of Egypt, but regained it again. He settled in the township of Adelaide, Middlesex co. His grandfather died aged 85; his widow died afterwards, aged 94 years. Our subject was educated in the public schools at Nairn and London; at the Warusville Grammer School; at Toronto Normal School, and at the University College. From the later institution he graduated as B.A. In his studies he paid special attention to the English branches as contradistinguished from the classical. In his early life he worked on the farm, and performed the various kinds of work incident thereto. He always has simple tastes and habits, and was extremely cautious in making any step. He began life by school teaching at $17 per month, and at this calling he accumulated some money, and speculated in oil sands during the oil excitement in Ontario. He increased his small sum largely, then went to the Toronto University. Eventually he lost the money made by his earlier enterprise, and again began work at school-teaching, becoming head master of the school in Cornwall, where he taught for two years. He afterwards became inspector of schools for the County of Glengarry, under the then new Public School Act, remodeled the whole system of instruction in the county, and gave general satisfaction. In 1872, during holidays, he visited Manitoba, and was obliged to travel by stage from Breckenridge to Winnipeg, a distance of nearly 300 miles; and had a varied experience in travelling by buckboard on the praries. By this he aquired such a knowledge of the country that he became impressed with its varied resources. In 1874 he again visited Manitoba, and invested money in Winnipeg. In October of 1874, he resigned his position as inspector of schools, and bacame a law student in the firm of Crooks, Kingmill & Cattenach, Toronto. He remained there until May,  1877, when he moved to Winnipeg, and joined his brother, the late W. H. Ross. He was admitted to the bar of Manitoba in February, 1878, when the firm then became Ross & Ross, and took the lead in the land business, pushing claims for patants for homesteads, and purchasing scrip and half-breed claims. In 1879 the firm was joined by A.C. Killam, now Justice Killam of the Court of Queen's Bench, Manitoba, and, it became solicitors for the Ontario Bank, Manitoba Mortgage and Investment Company, Quebec Mortgage and Investment Company, the British Canadian Loan Company, and afterwards the Bank of Nova Scotia, and worked up a large general business. Subsequently the firm became Ross, Killam & Haggart. In 1878, Mr. Ross was returned for Springfield for the local assembly of Manitoba, as an opponent of the Norquay government, but when the French went into opposition, he signed the round robin to support Mr. Norquay, if he would carry out a certain programme. On an appeal to the county on the new issue, he was again returned for Springfield. He supported the government loyally, and have them every assistance, until he was convinced it has ceased to be no party, and became thouroughly conservative. In 1882 he resigned his seat in Springfield to contest the County of Liagur with Dr., (now Senator), Schultz. He was pressed to enter the contest by prominent men of both parties, and asked to run as an independent. He accepted, and ran on this ticket, and was elected. The firm of Ross & Ross made large purchases of real estate in Manitoba which, after the sernior partner's death, Mr. Ross kept up. He holds lands and town property over the whole of the North-West, and is a half proprietor in the Birtle saw mills and limits. He was the patentre and had the naming of the City of Brandon, and spent a large amount of money in its development. He has taken a deep interest in the discovery and development of coal and other minerals from Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains, and is the largest real estate operator and owner in the North West. Mr. Ross took the necessary steps to secure for the North-West a loan company, which resulted in the Manitoba Mortgage and Investment Company being started, and was one of its first local directors, and was also the promotoer and one of the directors and treasurer of the Winnipeg Gas Company; a director of the Winnipeg Water Works Company; was vice-president of the M. and N. W. Railway; a director of the proposed Hudson Bay Railway, Winnipeg and S.E. Railway; Winnipeg Street Railway, and Assiniboine and Red River Bridge Company, and he has been connected with nearly every other enterprise for the advancement and development of the North-West. Mr. Ross was one of the first benchers of the Law Society, having been elected in 1880, under the new Act. He also took an active part in military matters, and was for three years a private in No. 9 University Corps, Queen's Own Rifles. He has travelled a good deal in England and the United States. Mr. Ross has been identified with the Liberal party, although elected as an Independent for Lisgar, but opposed the Opposition in their policy with regard to granting aid to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. In religion Mr. Ross is a Presbyterian. He was married, 30th July, 1873, to Jessie Flora, daughter of the late Donald Cattanach, of Laggan, Glengarry, by whom he has three children, two sons and a daughter. In habits he is quiet, yet liberal and very social. In all matters he is plucky and enterprising, the last two qualities being the secret of his successful career. With the public he is very popular, and in social life has many warm friends.


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