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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
John Crerar


JOHN CRERAR was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, January 7, 1857, and was the son of the late John Crerar of Pictou, born in Breadalbane, Perthshire, Scotland, and Jane K. Hatton (Crerar). He received his education in the Pictou Academy, Nova Scotia; Inverness Academy, Scotland; King’s School, Canterbury, England; and matriculated at the University of Glasgow. July 28, 1877, he rowed stroke for that University, winning from Edinburgh University on the River Clyde. He also served five years in the First Lanark Rifles.

His grandfather, Peter Crerar, built the first railway in Canada in 1836, in Pictou County, and his maternal grandfather, Henry Hatton, was one of the early members of Parliament for that county. For five years Mr. Crerar lived in Glasgow, Scotland, where be learned the shipping business in the employ of Allan C. Gow & Company, also Donaldson Bros., the founders of the present line of Donaldson ‘s Steamships, sailing from Glasgow.

In 1879, he came to the United States and entered into the employ of the Joliet Steel Company of Joliet, Illinois, with whom he remained about five years, leaving to engage in the coal and iron business for himself, with offices in Chicago, Illinois. In 1889, the firm became Crerar, Clinch & Company, which it still remains. With his brother, J. P. Crerar, of Ottawa, Canada, he built the Denison & Sherman Railway, the first interurban railway in the State of Texas.

Mr. Crerar, associated with the late Mr. George Gooch, originated the Diamond Jubilee Movement for endowing three Victoria beds in Chicago hospitals, for which they received the thanks of Her Majesty.

Mr. Crerar is a large real estate holder in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada, and is connected with various business interests located in the Dominion of Canada. He has been President of the Illinois St. Andrew’s Society, of which he is a life member; is a member of the Board of Governors of the Scottish Old People ‘s Home, Riverside, Illinois; is a trustee, and has been Vice-President of St. Luke’s Hospital of Chicago; has been President and is Honorary President of the British Empire Association; is a director of the Chicago Auditorium Association and was for a number of years a director of the Republic Iron & Steel Company. He is a member of the Chicago, Calumet, Onwentsia, and Saddle and Cycle Clubs, also the Kaministikwia Club of Fort William, and Thunder Bay Country Club at Canadian Head of Lakes. In church matters he is liberal, believing all denominations do good, and is a Republican in politics.

Mr. Crerar married, June 20, 1900, Marie Girvin Owens (Crerar), only daughter of Dr. John E. Owens, Chief Surgeon of the Chicago & Northwestern and Illinois Central railways, and their family consists of two daughters, Marie Owens and Catherine Hatton. Mr. Crerar’s city residence is at 1901 Prairie Avenue, and his summer home at Lake Forest, Illinois.


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