A TRULY public-spirited man of high
principles, generally recognized for his foresight, shrewdness and
business ability, is one of the greatest assets to his city and country.
Alexander McGregor, of the firm of Houghton & Dutton, and one of Boston’s
favourite citizens, was born in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, April 9,
1866, the third son of the Rev. Alexander and Mary MacDougall McGregor.
His paternal grandfather, the Rev. Dugald McGregor, was born in Glasgow,
April 8, 1809. He had five sons, all of whom became ministers of the
Gospel. The eldest (the father of Alexander) was born in Glasgow in 1834.
He was graduated at Edinburgh University in 1858, taught school for a year
in the Island of Lewis, and preached for twelve years in Ontario and was
pastor for sixteen years of the First Congregational Church, Pawtucket, R.
I., where he died in 1898. His mother was a daughter of Alexander
MacDougall, an architect and builder. As one walks up Crombie Street in
Oban, on nearly every building will be found the name of Alexander
MacDougall & Sons. Mr. McGregor has three brothers: Eben McGregor and
Capt. William McGregor, of Pawtucket, R. I., and Lieut. George R. D.
McGregor, U. S. A., 18th Regulars. Of his five sisters, Jessie, Jean and
Elizabeth are deceased; Mary is the wife of Dr. John H. Bennett,
Pawtucket, H. I., and Una, the wife of Raymond M. Horton, Attleboro, Mass.
Mr. McGregor attended public school
in Canada and was graduated from the high school, afterward studying at
the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University. He began his
business career in New York in 1887, at the age of 21, but
removed to Boston, where he was associated with several financial
institutions before entering the employment of Houghton & Dutton in 1897.
Here, he advanced rapidly, and within three years was admitted to
partnership. When, in 1907, the firm was incorporated, he was chosen
Treasurer. In attaining this success, Mr. McGregor had filled the roles of
newsboy, bookkeeper, salesman, agent, general manager, and dry-goods
merchant. In every instance, his promotion had been won by hard work and
close application. As a business man, Mr. McGregor is held in high esteem
in the community. He is strong and energetic and combines to an unusual
degree mental alertness, strength and efficiency. He is quick in deciding
upon a line of action and carries it out with remarkable shrewdness and
persistency. He is more exacting of himself than of any of his employees,
with whom he always keeps in close touch. By his business associates he is
regarded as an upright, fair man, meaning what he says, prompt in meeting
his obligations, a man of ideas, and worthy of the utmost confidence. He
is a trustee of several estates; a director of the Tremont Trust Company;
and Vice-President of the Elm Hill Bank of Roxbury, Mass.
In 1907, Mr. McGregor was elected
President of the Scots’ Charitable Society of Boston. During the two years
of his service, he gave a wonderful impetus to the organization,
increasing the membership largely and filling all with his own contagious
enthusiasm. At the close of his term, May 17, 1909, he was .presented by
the members with a beautiful loving-cup in appreciation of his services to
the society. Mr. McGregor is a member of the British Charitable Society;
the Canadian Club; Intercolonial Club; Boston, Boston City, Algonquin,
Merchants’, and Tedesco Clubs; and is a 32nd degree Mason, a Shriner, an
Elk, and a Knight of Pythias.
As .a man of
force in the community and a fine public speaker, he
is in great demand in political campaigns and other public affairs. He was
elected to the Governor ‘s Council, as a Republican, in
1910, and served with distinction for three terms. Though
under a Democratic administration, he was recognized as one of the most
efficient, courageous and level-headed of
the Executive Council. He has been approached on
several occasions to stand as candidate for the highest offices in the
State, but has declined.
Mr. McGregor married, June 11,
1895, Miss Clare Dutton, daughter of Benjamin E. and Harriet Dutton,
of Boston, Mass. Mrs. McGregor is an accomplished
all the genial qualities of her husband. She is an expert horsewoman and
has won many trophies at golf and tennis. They have three children:
Alexander, Jr., born March 30, 1896; Clare, born July 13, 1897; and
Miriam, born November 30, 1903. Their beautiful homes at Beach Bluff and
Maiden are noted for their hospitality. Mr. McGregor has been a trustee
and member of the First Presbyterian Church, Boston; and in 1886,
presented a library to the Bethany Mission, affiliated with the Harvard
Church, Brookline, of which the Rev. Reuen Thomas, D.D., was pastor.