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James Goldie, one of the leading flour manufacturers and dealers in Ontario, and president of the Ontario Millers’ Association, is a son of John and Margaret (Smith) Goldie, and was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, November 6, 1824. His father is a famous botanist, known on both continents, and now living in Ayr, County of Waterloo, in this Province, being in his 88th year. He visited Canada and several of the States, more than sixty years ago, studying the flora in this western world; was at one time employed by the Czar of Russia to make botanical explorations, and to supply trees, plants and shrubs for the public gardens of St. Petersburg; wrote for thirty or forty years for botanical magazines, and had extensive correspondence with scientific men in Europe and America.
The maternal grandfather of our subject was also a botanist of Ayrshire, a student in his earlier years of Sir Joseph Banks.
James had a plain English education, with a smattering of the classics; was a nurseryman gardener and florist, in his younger years; in 1842 came to America, and was for several years in various kinds of business in New York and New Jersey. For awhile he was a florist in New York; subsequently had the management of the estate and large manufactories of R. L. Colt, deceased, of Patterson. N. J., and a little later was engaged in the lumber and flour traffic in Utica, N. Y.
In 1860, Mr. Goldie settled in Guelph, built a mill and commenced the manufacture of flour; sold that mill a few years afterwards, and rebuilt on another site, on a larger scale, and is now manufacturing about 75,000 or 80,000 barrels per annum. He also handles as much more, not of his own manufacture, finding a ready market mainly in the Maritime Provinces, and Great Britain. No better brands of flour are sent from Ontario, than are manufactured at his mills in Guelph. The Herald of this city thus speaks of this mill:
“Goldie’s Mill is one of the important factors of Guelph’s manufacturing and commercial prosperity, consuming immense quantities of wheat and disbursing large sums annually to our farmers for their grain; in the mill itself, in the cooper shops, and in the various departments of the business employing a large force of work men, it fills a sphere of usefulness and wields a power that accomplishes good to all classes.
“Over and over again it has been characterized as the model flouring mill of Canada, a verdict that facts abundantly sanction.
“Of machinery now in place, the best that the millwright’s art could produce, has been purchased. Six run of stone are busily at work. Three double chests of bolts are performing their duties. Middlings purifiers, coolers, grain cleaning machinery, packing apparatus all the component parts of a first-class mill are to be seen.
Mr. Goldie is president of the Ontario Millers’ Association, and he is well known among flour manufacturers in Great Britain and the United States, as well as throughout the Dominion of Canada.
He was in the council in the days when Guelph was a town; is one of the license commissioners for the south riding of Wellington, and a director of insurance companies in Guelph and Galt.
He is a Liberal Conservative, and in. 1876, and again in 1878, was the candidate of his party to represent the south riding of Wellington in the House of Commons, but the district is strongly Reform and he was defeated both times.
Mr. Goldie is a member and deacon of the Congregational church; a liberal contributor to church building funds of his own denomination and others, and to religious and charitable institutions generally.
In March, 1848, he married in New York, Miss Frances Owen, a native of Montgomery-shire, Wales, and of eight children, the fruit of this union, five, all sons, are living. Thomas, the eldest, has a family; the others are single. The three oldest are with their father in the milling business.