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Henry Carlisle, Mayor of the City of St. Catharines, and a resident of the Niagara district since 1837, dates his birth at Whitby, Yorkshire, England, May 9, 1820. His father, George Carlisle, a pianoforte manufacturer, and his mother, whose maiden name was Ann Walker, were natives of the same county. His mother is still living, being in her 80th year; her residence, Montreal. His father died in 1856 at Stamford.
Our subject was educated at a private school; worked a short time at the tailor trade in the old country; in 1837 came to Upper Canada; spent a short time at Stamford, near Niagara Falls, County of Welland, and a little later took a position in the store of Whan and McLean, dry goods and clothing merchants at Niagara. In 1850 he removed, with the same parties, to St. Catharines, where they opened a wholesale store on the site on which his store now stands the “West End Store,” Nos. 26 and 28 Ontario Street.
In April, 1851, Mr. Carlisle started in business for himself, locating first in the “Prendergast Block,” on St. Paul Street, in partnership with Robert Struthers, the firm name being Struthers and Carlisle. They traded together between fourteen and fifteen years, dissolving in 1866, when Mr. Carlisle moved to his present double store. He carries a heavy stock of dry goods, carpeting &c., with a tailoring department connected with the establishment, and usually does from $60,000 to $75,000, and has done as high as $100,000 a year. He is one of the leading dealers in his line, in the city, and a prompt, thorough going business man.
Mr. Carlisle had been in this country but a few months before he found himself in a soldier’s dress, in the company of Captain James Thompson, under Lieut.Colonel Kirby, stationed at Fort Erie, Gravelly Bay, it being the exciting winter of 1837-38; he served also the following season; was afterwards appointed Ensign “5th Lincoln,” and still later was made Captain No. 3, 19th Battalion Volunteers. During the Fenian excitement he was on duty six months at St. Catharines and Fort Erie, acting as paymaster of battalion as well as commander of his company. When the Prince of Wales visited St. Catharines in 1860, Captain Carlisle commanded the only company in the Province that was dressed in scarlet regulation uniformthe only company thus uniformed in the Province, and that at private expense.
Mayor Carlisle has been a magistrate for the County of Lincoln for the last eighteen or twenty years; was elected director of the Niagara District Bank to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Hon. William Hamilton Merritt in 1862; was Vice President of the same bank at its amalgamation with the Imperial Bank; succeeded John Brown, of Thorold, as director of the Welland Railway, and still holds that office; has been President of the Board of Trade; is a director of the local board of the Standard Fire Ins. Co., Hamilton; is a trustee of the St. Catharines Collegiate Institute; was for three terms a member of the Town Council, and in 1879 was elected Mayor, and also re-elected by acclamation for 1880.
He is a Conservative, but ordinarily not very active, giving precedence to business rather than politics.
Mayor Carlisle is Past Master of “Maple Leaf.” Lodge of Free Masons; Past Grand Organist of the Grand Lodge of Canada, Past Grand Principal of “Mount Moriah” Chapter, and Past Officer of the Grand Chapter of Canada.
In religious belief he is an Episcopalian, and a man of sterling character.
February 24, 1845, Elizabeth, daughter of John Swinton, at one time Government contractor at Niagara, became the wife of Mayor Carlisle, and they have lost two children, and have seven living, four sons, George Clark, John S., Henry H. and William A. W. Annie H. is the wife of Dr. William Dougan, of St. Catharines, and Margaret E. S. is the wife of Adelbert C. Tuttle, Naugatuck, Conn. The youngest daughter, Henrietta D., being unmarried.