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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
James F. McCall

For eighteen years James F. McCall has been superintendent and chief of the city power department of Calgary and he forms a splendid example of the value of industry, perseverance and determination in the attainment of success. He was born in Dumfries, Scotland, on the 12th of October, 1868, a son of Robert and Margaret (Ferguson) McCall, natives of Scotland. Subsequently the Parents came to Canada and located in Toronto, where the father became associated with the Canadian Pacific Railroad, a connection which he maintained for twenty years and was pensioned by the company in later life. His demise occurred in 1917. Mrs. McCall is still residing in Toronto, and is eighty-three years of age.

James F. McCall was but twenty months old when his parents brought him to Canada, and the public schools of Toronto afforded him his early education. After putting his textbooks aside he apprenticed himself to the mill building trade, working for the John Milne Company and later he was employed in an engine works in Toronto In 1891 he came west and located in Vernon, British Columbia, where he accepted a position as engineer and millwright. Seven years later he resigned that position and became associated with the Canadian Pacific Railroad, having charge of its water system for one year, after which he was connected with the Granby Mining & Smelting Company at Grand Forks, British Columbia, for four years. It was while with this company that he made his initial step in electrical work. He put in a steam plant for them at Coleman, Alberta, which he supervised for a year and then came to Calgary. On arriving in this city he put in an application for his present position and out of sixty-two applicants was the one chosen for the work. He has since been active as superintendent of the city power department and in its development he has met with the success usually won by the man of persistent effort and diligent methods. Mr. McCall has been the only man to hold this important position, for when he came here the city was just building the power plant, and he rendered valuable assistance in installing the machinery, his former experiences standing him in good stead. He has charge of the main plant and five sub-stations.

On the 11th of March, 1891, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. McCall to Miss Agnes Ellis, a daughter of Isaac and Letitia (Thompson) Ellis. Her parents, who have passed away, were natives of Scarborough, Ontario. To Mr. and Mrs. McCall six children have been born: Maggie Christina is the wife of Percy Thompson, chief clerk to J. M. Cameron, superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. She is the mother of three sons, Arthur, Fred and Verne; Fred R. McCall is a veteran of the World war, having enlisted as private with the One Hundred and Seventy-fifth Battalion, went overseas and was subsequently promoted to a captaincy in the air forces. He brought down thirty-four German airplanes, five in one day, and for his gallantry and meritorious bravery he received the Distinguished Service Order, the Military Cross and one bar, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He is now electrical mechanic with the A. B. C. Company of Drumheller; Marjorie is sixteen years of age; Frank died at Vernon, British Columbia, on the 22(1 of April, 1900; Evelyn was born in April, 1900, and died in 1901; and Agnes Ida died in Toronto in June, 1899.

Fraternally Mr. McCall is identified with the Royal Arch Masons and he is also affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. As a public-spirited citizen he is an active member of the Calgary Rotary Club, and has been a dominant factor in the furtherance of many movements for the benefit of the community at large. Along the lines of his business he is affiliated with the Professional Engineers Association of Alberta. The religious faith of Mr. McCall is evidenced by his membership in the Grace Presbyterian church. The secret of the success which Mr. McCall is enjoying is found in his willingness to work and his early recognition of the eternal truth that industry wins.


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