Biography of Edward McGillivray

Edward McGillivray is a son of Donald McGillivray, a farmer, who came from Invernessshire, Scotland, in 1793, and settled in the County of Glengarry, where Edward was born September 15, 1815. His mother was Catharine Campbell, a Highlander.

The subject of this notice is one of the leading merchants of Ottawa; received a very plain education in a country school, but made good use of his time, and early became quite proficient in figures, the Mathematics being a favorite study with him. In youth he profitably employed his leisure time when out of school, and acquired a fair knowledge of the branches necessary for the prosecution of business.
When about sixteen years of age, with ten pence in coppers in his pocket, he entered a store at L’Orignal, County of Prescott; there served a four years apprenticeship at the mercantile trade; in 1835 came to Ottawa and clerked one year for Wells and McCrea, and then commenced business for himself at the same place, Nos. 333-335 Wellington Street, where he has traded since the autumn of 1836.
At first he dealt in dry goods and groceries, and of late years in groceries and provisions only, wholesaling since about 1873. He always has a close oversight of his business, which he manages with prudence and success. For a few years past it has averaged about 30,000 per month.

Mr. McGillivray is a Conservative in politics, and has as little to do with offices as possible, consistent with his duties as a citizen. He served eight years in the City Council of Ottawa, and was the first Mayor elected in 1858, by the voice of the people, serving two years. At one time he was President of, or a Director in, twelve different societies and institutions, three-fourths of which positions he has given up, turning them over to younger men with more leisure.

He is a Son of Temperance, and has been a diligent worker in that good cause for forty eight years. It is almost needless to say that he is well preserved, and as active as ever in business.
He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and for more than thirty years was an office bearer in that body, being on the Temporal Committee. He has a very large circle of acquaintances and friends, by whom he is held in high esteem.

January 9, 1811, Miss Catherine Collins, a native of Ireland, became the wife of Mr. McGillivray. She had two children, and died in 1836. He was again married January 18, 1870, to Matilda, daughter of Lyman Perkins, an old resident of Ottawa. She has no children.

MLA Source Citation:

The Canadian Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self Made Men, Ontario, Volume 1. Toronto: Toronto American Biographical Pub. Co. 1880. Web. 25 January 2015. - Last updated on Aug 6th, 2012


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