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Robert Henry, ex-mayor of the city of Brantford, and a leading business man here of the younger class, was born in Perthshire, Scotland, November 30, 1844. His father is John Henry, a carpenter and contractor; his mother, Jane Dow, both Scotch. He was educated in the parish schools of Perthshire until nine years of age, came with the family to Canada West in 1853; finished his studies in the Brantford public schools; when in his twelfth year entered the new stationery and news store of Andrew Hudson; was with him three years, and then became an apprentice to the grocery business with R. C. Allen.
In 1862 Mr. Henry entered the store of Charles Watts, leading wholesale grocer in Brantford, and on the demise of Mr. Watts in 1868, when his son Alfred bought out the establishment, Mr. Henry became manager, and held that position until 1871, when he became a partner of Mr. Watts. The firm of A. Watts and Co. are also proprietors of the Brantford Soap Works; and, in the wholesale mercantile business and manufactory combined, are doing a business of about $480,000 a year. They stand in the front rank of commercial men in this city, as well in the character of the house as in the amount in dollars and cents of its transactions.
Mr. Henry has been a director of the Brantford Ladies’ College from its start; has been President of St. Andrew’s Society and of the Conservative Association for South Brant; was a member of the high school board of trustees at one period; was a member of the city council from the North Ward in 1876, and mayor in 1878 and 1879. He is an indefatigable worker for the interests of the city, while he was chief magistrate, the Lorne Bridge, one of the best iron structures of the kind for roadways in the Province, and other important improvements having been made. In public spirit he finds a strong body of coadjutors in this enterprising young city.
Mr. Henry is a blue lodge Mason, a member of Zion Presbyterian Church, and a generous man in support of any local institution likely to benefit the public.