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James Leitch

Leitch, James, Barrister, Cornwall, Ontario, was born on the 2nd June, 1850, at the South Branch, in the. township of Cornwall, in the County of Stormont, Ontario, and is a son of William Leitch, who was born at Ardrossan, Ayrshire, Scotland. William Leitch came to Canada when sixteen years of age (1832), and served in the Stormont militia, under Col. Vankoughnet, during the rebellion of 1837-8. He followed the occupation of contractor on public works for a number of years, and finally settled down to farming in the township of Cornwall. He took an active part in municipal affairs, arid sat for a number of years in the council of the township of Cornwall. His wife, James Leitchís mother, daughter of David Bryden, of WiIliamstown, was of Scotch extraction. James Leitch was educated at the common school of the neighbourhood in which he was born, and at the Williamstown and Cornwall Grammar school; and under the private tutorship of J. Lawton Bradbury, late principal of the Cornwall Grammar school. He acquired most of his education in the winter months, being engaged in the work of his fatherís farm in the spring and summer. He was. admitted a member of the Law Society of Ontario in Hilary term. 1871, and commenced the study of law, in Cornwall, with the late James Bethune. In 1872 he went to Toronto. and pursued his studies in the office of  Crooks, Kingsmill & Cattanach, of which firm the late Hon. Adam Crooks, then treasurer of Ontario, was the head. He was called to the bar of Ontario in Easter term of 1876. Mr Leitch commenced the practice of his profession in June, 1876, in the town of Cornwall, and after practising alone till February, 1877, entered in to partnership with R. B. Carman now junior judge of the united counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Upon Mr. Carmanís appointment to the bench, Mr. Leitch entered into partnership with R. A. Pringle, under the firm name of Leith & Pringle. Shortly after he commenced. practice, Mr. Leitch was retained for the defence, in the Smith murder trial, and being largely instrumental in securing the acquittal of the prisoner, he established a reputation which at once brought him a large practice. He has been retained in some of the most important civil trials in the united counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Mr. Leitch was elected reeve of the town of Cornwall for the year 1884, and was a candidate for the wardenship of the united counties for that year, but was defeated by F.D. McNaughton, by a majority of one vote. He was elected mayor of Cornwall, for the years 1885 and 1886, by acclamation. Upon taking office, the finances of the town being in an embarrassed condition, he at once formulated a scheme for the consolidation of the debt of the town, which, upon being submitted to the freeholders, was defeated by a small majority, but which was carried, upon a second vote being taken, by a large majority. He succeeded then in putting the finances upon a sound foundation He likewise instituted and carried to a successful termination important drainage works in the town. He has been a High School trustee for several years, and takes much interest in educational affairs. He took an active part in promoting the passing of a bylaw raising $25,000 to build a new public school in the town of Cornwall. He married Elizabeth, third daughter of E. Strickland, merchant, Buckingham, on the 18th October, 1876 Mr. Leitch is a Presbyterian, and is a Conservative in politics. He has taken an active part in promoting the temperance cause, as well as all other worthy public movements. He is a man of marked energy and conspicuous natural talent. There is, unquestionably, a future for him in a winder political field that he has so far occupied.

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