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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 2
James Rae, SR.

James Rae, Sr., of Medicine hat, who is filling the office of police magistrate and is identified with agricultural interests in that locality, was born in Lannert county, Ontario, August 28, 1852, and comes of Scotch ancestry. He is a grandson of John and Mary (McKenzie) Rae, the latter dying in Scotland, after which the grandfather brought his family to Canada, making his way to Ontario in 1821. He had been a very prominent citizen in Glasgow and at one time was well-to-do. He had the first steam sawmill in the city and built up a business of substantial proportions, but afterward formed a partnership with a man who completely disorganized and ruined the business. Accordingly, he was in limited financial circumstances when with his family he crossed the Atlantic and took up his abode in Ontario. There his splendid business ability and enterprise, however, asserted itself and again he von prosperity. His son, James McKenzie Rae, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and when he accompanied his father and the family to the new world he was a youth of fourteen years. He assisted his father in the arduous task of clearing the land and building the first house and performed other such work as was incidental to the development of a new farm on the frontier. After reaching manhood he wedded Mary Bremner, who was born in Dundee, Scotland, and was a daughter of Charles Bremner, who was also a native of the land of hills and heather and came to the new world about 1821, settling in Ontario, where he hewed out a farm in the midst of the forest, converting a wild tract of land into rich and productive fields. He continued to occupy the old homestead throughout his remaining days. His daughter, Mary, by her marriage to James McKenzie Rae, became the mother of nine children, eight of whom are living, the following being residents of Alberta: John Knox and William, who are farmers near Veteran; and James of this review. The parents were members of the Presbyterian church and Mr. Rae gave his political support to the Liberal party.

James Rae, Sr., whose name introduces this record, was the third in order of birth in his father's family. He pursued his education at Bennie Corners, Ontario, but was obliged to quit school when only eleven years of age and start out to provide for his own support. His father was crippled in 1912 and unable to do any more work, so that he could not support the family. This burden largely devolved upon his young son and thus from early life James Rae has been forced to face life's duties and its responsibilities. In 1881 he came to Manitoba, where he took up a homestead, a preemption claim, living on this until 1890, when he removed to the town of Boissevain, Manitoba. He was there clerk of the court and was also engaged in the implement business. He likewise filled the office of municipal clerk and treasurer and was reeve of the municipality of Morden in 1896. He also successfully conducted an implement store from 1890 until 1896 and in the following year he moved to Medicine Hat. Here he turned his attention to ranching, obtaining a tract of land and stocking it with cattle. He was on that ranch for two years and then sold out, after which he returned to Medicine 1-Tat and purchased a hardware business and continued in the hardware trade until 1910, when he disposed of his store. In the meantime he had invested in property until he became the owner of a thousand acres of land, to which he gave his supervision and thereon engaged in raising cattle and horses. He has continued active in connection with ranch life and his sound business judgment is manifest in all that he undertakes. In 1913 he was appointed police magistrate and has since filled that position, covering a period of a decade, his official record being one over which there falls no shadow of wrong nor suspicion of evil. His ranch property is one of the beautiful farms near Medicine Hat and on this he runs a large bunch of horses. His farm is splendidly irrigated and he rents one hundred and eighty- seven acres of it for two thousand dollars per annum.

On the 28th of September, 1875, Mr. Rae was united in marriage to Miss Ellen Henderson, a native of Ontario and a daughter of Robert Henderson, who was a woolen manufacturer at Appleton and at Blakeney, Ontario. Mr. and Mrs. Rae became the parents of seven children: Janet McIntosh, who is now the wife of William Nelson Kelly, a railroad man, living at Medicine Hat; James, who is in the hardware business at Medicine Hat; Ellen Henderson, who married Kenneth Dunphy, an engineer on the Canadian Pacific Railroad, residing at Souris, Manitoba; Mary Bremner, the wife of William Hay, superintendent of schools at Medicine Hat; Catherine Elizabeth, the wife of Mervin Brown, formerly mayor of Medicine Hat and now at the head of the irrigation department of government service at Winnipeg; Margaret Evaline, a music teacher of Medicine Hat; and Marjorie Winnifred, a trained nurse now in Edmonton. The wife and mother passed away August 30, 1910. On the 11th of October, 1916, Mr. Rae was again married, his second union being with Catherine Weatherhead Wilson, who was born in Brandon, Manitoba, a daughter of James Wilson, formerly recorder of Edmonton, and Agnes (Wilson) Wilson. To this union two children have been born William Wilson and Robert John.

Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise Mr. Rae has been a supporter of the Liberal party but is not active in politics as an office seeker. He belongs to the Presbyterian church, in which his wife also has membership and he is prominently known in Masonic circles, having attained the Knight Templar degree in the York Rite and the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite. He served as master of the blue lodge in Boissevain, Manitoba, in 1891, and has also held office in the Royal Arch chapter. In fact, he was grand superintendent of the chapter in 1907 and during his incumbency in the office visited every chapter in Alberta. He does all in his power to promote the cause of Masonry and is iii hearty sympathy with the high purposes and beneficent spirit upon which this order rests.


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