Biography of Lieut.-Col. Alexander M. Ross, M.P.P.

The subject of this sketch, who is one of the oldest settlers still living in Goderich, was born in Dundee, Scotland, April 20, 1829. He is the son of Colin and Elizabeth (McLagan) Ross, natives of Dundee. Mr. Ross came to Canada and settled in Goderich, in 1833, and Mrs. Ross followed with her sons in 1834.

Here Colin Ross, who had been in the Linen Company’s Bank in the old country, entered into the mercantile business, which he followed for some years. He died about 1850. His widow, mother of Col. Ross, died in 1878.

Alexander was educated in the common schools of Goderich. At the age of 14 his parents, believing all young men in Canada should learn a trade, apprenticed him to a carpenter and joiner, at which trade he worked for about six years. He then, at the age of 20, entered the Bank of Upper Canada as a clerk, in which he remained until 1856, when he received the appointment of Paymaster on the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway, under construction, and remained in that position until the road was completed two years later. In June 1858, he was appointed treasurer of the county, and still holds that office, his financial knowledge and abilities having been of material advantage to the county on many important occasions.

In 1866 an agency of the Royal Canadian Bank was opened in Goderich, and Col. Ross was appointed manager, which position he held until 1869, when, on the suspension of the Bank, the agency was closed.
In 1870 the Canadian Bank of Commerce took up the vacancy created by the closing of the Royal Canadian, and Col. Ross was asked to take the management; he accepted, and still fills the responsible position of manager of that institution.

At the time of the Trent affair, in 1861-62, when war looked imminent between the United States and Great Britain, Col. Ross organized an. Artillery Company in Goderich, and was appointed its Captain. He and the company were out on the frontier on service for several months in 1866, during the Fenian raid. In the autumn of that year the volunteer companies in the county were organized into a battalion, and Captain Ross was made its Lieut.-Colonel, which rank he still holds.

In the general election for the Ontario Parliament in 1875, he was nominated as the Liberal candidate to contest the West Riding of Huron, then first formed into a separate Riding, and was elected over his opponent, Mr. Davison. He was re-elected in June 1879, by a largely increased majority. He is a staunch Reformer, and has taken a prominent position in the House on financial and municipal questions.
He is a member of the Church of England, a liberal supporter of St. George’s church, Goderich, and of benevolent societies generally. In November 1852, he married Agnes, daughter of Thomas Kydd, formerly postmaster in Goderich, by whom he has had seven children, all yet living. The eldest, Helen, is married to H. W. C. Meyer, barrister, of Wingham. Col. Ross stands high in the estimation of the people of Huron, as evidenced by the many responsible positions he continues to fill; and the esteem and respect of the people has been secured through their confidence in his sound judgment and good common sense, and by a consistent course of strict integrity aud truthfulness, a high sense of honor, and a courteous demeanor.

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. 1 February 2015. - Last updated on Aug 7th, 2012


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