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Biography of Alexander Meiklejohn
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Alexander Meiklejohn, first reeve of the village of Harriston, first mayor of the town, and its oldest merchant, was born on the field of Bannockburn, near Stirling, Scotland, April 3rd, 1830, his parents being John and Janet (Muirhead) Meiklejohn. He was educated at a parish school; served apprenticeship to the grocery trade; in 1851, when of age, came to Canada; clerked two years in a grocery store at Toronto; went to Stratford, and was in a store one year with U. C. Lee, then went to Carrenbrook (now Dublin), in same county, and had charge of a branch store for the same party until 1861, when he settled at Harriston. Here Mr. Meiklejohn was a general merchant until 1878, when he changed to hardware, in which he is now dealing exclusively, being the leading merchant; in his line, in the town. He does about $20,000 per annum. He has been quite fortunate in his mercantile operations, and is one of the most successful men in this part of Wellington county. Between 1871 and 1874 he put up a brick block with five business fronts, an adornment of the town.
When the village of Harriston was incorporated in 1873, Mr. Meiklejohn was elected reeve, and held that office several years; and when it became a town in January, 1879, he was elected mayor, and at the time of writing, is serving his first year in that office, Some years before being elected reeve, he was a school trustee, and held that position ten or eleven years. He was, for some time, secretary and treasurer of the township of Minto Agricultural Society.
Mr. Meiklejohn’s political affiliations have always been with the Reform party, and two or three times his friends have nominated him for the local Assembly, but he refused to contest the election. He seems to be more ambitious to elevate his friends to office than himself. He is an earnest worker for the Reform cause.
His religious connection is with the Guthrie Presbyterian Church, in which he holds the office of secretary-treasurer. He is a kind hearted, generous man, and very good to the poor. In 1851 he married Miss Elizabeth Hall, a native of Glasgow, Scotland. They have no children of their own, but are raising two nephews of Mr. Meiklejohn, the children of his widowed sister. They find in him all that a father could be.
Note: Another early merchant in Harriston was Alexander McCready, a native of Kirkcudbright, Scotland, settling in this place in 1859, where there were only five or six shanties here. He was a general merchant for thirteen years; becoming assistant-postmaster at an early day, and has been postmaster since about 1864. He was one of the first school trustees in the township, and secretary-treasurer of the board several years; was auditor of the township of Minto until the village of Harriston was incorporated, and is now auditor of the town. He is a member of the Guthrie Presbyterian church, and a man of good moral and business habits. He has a wife and seven children.
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