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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Charles McLaren

CHARLES McLAREN, an energetic businessman of Highgate, Ontario, residing on his fine farm in Orford townshiip, County of Kent, is well known as a prosperous general farmer and bean and grain merchant.  He was born in Howard township, County of Kent, Augusut 16th, 1836, a son of Charles and Elizabeth (Risk) McLaren, of Lanarkshire, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively.  William McLaren, grandfather of Charles, was a native of Scotland, and his wife, whose maiden name was Orr, was also born in that country. 

The parents of Charles McLaren were married in Blantyre parish, in Scotland, and came to the United States in 1825, locating in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where they remained one year.  in 1826 they removed to the County of Elgin, Ontario, where the father worked upon a farm for a year for Col. Talbot, and his next change was to Howard township, County of Kent, where he purchased from the Canadian Company 100 acres of wild land, which he cleared, and upon which he remained until his death, which occurred July 5, 1868, when he was 76 years of age.  Mrs. McLaren died in March, 1878, aged 83 years and they are buried in the Gosnell cemetery.  Both died firm in the faith of the Methodist Church.  Born to their union were:  William, a retired farmer, who has 1,000 acres in Mapleton, North Dakota; Rachel, married to J.W. Mitton, of Ridgetown, Ontario; Catherine, who married James S. Mitton, now a retired farmer of Ridgetown; Elizabeth, wife of John Reycraft, a farmer of prominence in Orford, but now of Ridgetown (he was formerly a baker); and Charles.

On February 11th, 1859, in Orford township, Charles McLaren married Esther Reycraft, and the following children have been born to this union:  Helen married David Nimock, a farmer of Gardner, North Dakota; Elizabeth, unmarried, is at home; William H., a veterinary surgeon of Orford, married Lillie McBean, and they have a family of four children, Irene, Laura, Russell and Helen Louise; Charles Leslie, who is with his father in Highgate, married Minnie Stone, and has one son, Charles Stone; James is a farmer and extensive cattle dealer of Orford township; Mary married Rev. S.R. McVittie, of Sparta, Ontario, a Methodist minister, and has two children, Frances Willard (deceased) and Laura; Frances married William Tape, a farmer of Orford township, and has one daughter, Elizabeth; Nettie, a school teacher, is at home; Joseph is a farmer of Orford township; Frederick, of Orford township, married Isabella Spear; Roy operates his father's home farm.  Mrs. McLaren was born in County Cork, Ireland, in 1838, and is a sister of James Reycraft, of Highgate, spoken of elsewhere.

Charles McLaren remained with his parens until they died, and from the time of his marriage operated the farm.  In the spring of 1882 he removed to his present property, in Orford township.  He is a Grit, and has taken an active part in local affairs, having served one year in the county council, and was deputy reeve of Orford township.  Fraternally he is a member of the A.O.U.W.  he and his wife are members of the Methodist Church, and take an active part in its work.  They are most highly respected throughout the neighbourhood, and the success which has attended them is well deserved.


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