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Charles Whitlaw, flour manufacturer in Paris since 1846, and one of its most enterprizing men, was born in Montreal, Lower Canada, November 11, 1823, his parents being John and Janet (White) Whitlaw, both from Scotland. His father was a carpenter and builder. and died at Montreal in 1866. Our subject was educated in the private school of Dr. Black, forty years ago, one of the best educators in Montreal; was trained for the dry goods business in his native city; in 1844 came to Hamilton, Canada West; and clerked two years in the dry goods store of Archibald Kerr; then formed a partnership with Mr. Kerr, and settled in Paris, managing a flouring mill, store and distillery, his partner remaining in Hamilton.
About three years later Mr. Whitlaw bought out the interest of his partner in the mill, and was alone in the manufacture of flour from 1849 to 1878, when Andrew H. Baird became a partner in the business. They are among the leading manufacturers in town, filled up with manufactories, having a second, much smaller flouring mill, three knitting factories, stone and earthenware works, metal spinning works, oil cloth works, foundry and agricultural works, a tannery, plaster mills, sheet metal and Japan works, and half a dozen other manufactories all introduced, except a small plaster mill and grist mill, since Mr. Whitlaw located here at the confluence of Grand River and Smith’s Creek, in 1846.
Mr. Whitlaw has been a councilman, reeve and mayor, in all more than twenty years, being in the last named office, at one period, for seven or eight consecutive terms. He has also served as a school trustee. No man has taken more interest in the village of Paris, or done more to place it on a solid basis. When the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway was built he was a director of that road, and has identified himself with every movement tending to promote the growth and general welfare of his adopted home.
In politics he is a Reformer; in religion a Congregationalist, being deacon of the Paris church.
In 1848 he married Miss Celesta Morse, daughter of Collins Morse, a prominent citizen of Painesville, Ohio, she then being in Paris. They have four children. John is a commission merchant in Woodstock; Kate is the wife of E. L. Bond, son of Bishop Bond; Charles is a clerk in Toronto, and Maud is at home.