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David Donalson Hay, member of the Ontario Parliament for North Perth, was born in Brought Ferry, near Dundee, Scotland, January 20, 1828. His father was Robert Hay, a contractor and superintendent of works, and belonged to an old Scotch family. His mother’s maiden name was Catharine McKiddie. He received a good English education including mathematics, at parish and private schools; at sixteen years of age crossed the Atlantic ocean to try his fortune in the new world, being alone and depending on his own resources. After spending a few months in a mercantile house in the City of Montreal, came as far west as Bowmanville, County of Durham, where he was a clerk for Bowman and Simpson for a few years; and went thence to Lefroy, in the County of Simcoe, where he kept a store until 1853, when he settled in Elma, County of Perth. This township then included the present site of Listowel, which village, at that time, was known as Mapleton. There was only one house in the place.
One of the foremost business men in the village. He has been Clerk of the Division Court for twenty years; was Reeve of Elm, seven years, and has been Reeve of Listowel an equal length of time, and has been serving at different times as Trustee of local schools.
In 1867 Mr. Hay took a leading part in promoting the construction of the southern extension of the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railroad, spending many months in the country working up the enterprise; and it is generally admitted that but for his indefatigable and persistent efforts, the road would not have come through Listowel. Again in 1873, 1874, 1876, and 1878, Mr. Hay gave a large portion of his time in promoting the construction of the Stratford and Huron Railway, which reached Listowel in 1876; and so valuable, in this enterprise, were his services regarded by the railway company, that the board passed a special vote of thanks in recognition of his valuable aid.
Mr. Hay has also, as municipal representative, secured, in the last fifteen years, valuable improvements in this section of the country, in the construction of gravel roads, etc.
In 1873 he was sent to Europe by the Ontario Government as its agent, and after remaining several weeks in London, revising the Ontario pamphlet for European circulation, he spent several months in Scotland, and in March, 1874, was recalled to take an important position in the home work, in which he continued until January, 1875, when he resigned to contest the riding of North Perth for the Local Assembly. He was returned at the general election of that year, and re-elected in September, 1879.
Mr. Hay is a Reformer, and a man of considerable influence in his party. His religious connection is with the Christadelphian Society, and he is a man of much stability of character.
In 1849 Mr. Hay married Miss Jane Rogerson, of the County of Simcoe, and they have nine children.