William Cane, son of Samuel and Nancy (Martin) Cane, dates his birth at Albany, N. Y., October 8, 1823. His father, who was a boot and shoe merchant, was of Irish descent. When the son was ten or eleven years old, the family moved to Upper Canada, and settled in the township of Cavan, fifteen miles from Port Hope, both parents dying three or four years afterwards. Our subject received a very ordinary country school education; finished by private study, and early learned the wood working business turning, carpentering, &c., having a taste and natural aptitude for the mechanic arts. He worked at his trade at Mariposa, Lindsay, and in one or two other towns, and in 1840, located near Queensville, in the township of East Gwillimbury, seven miles from Newmarket, where he had shops for the manufacture of pumps and all kinds of turning work, running also a saw mill during the last sixteen years that he was in that township. While there he held the several offices of Justice of the Peace, deputy-reeve, reeve, and warden, and for fourteen consecutive years was a School Trustee, being, in fact, then and now a leading man in North York.
In 1874, Mr. Cane settled in Newmarket, where he is engaged, with four of his sons, in the manufacture of timber and dressed lumber, including flooring, siding, dressed stock, wainscoting, batons, fence pickets, and moldings of every description, also doors, blinds, washing machines, churns, pails, tubs, wheel barrows, quilting frames, and wooden ware generally. They also carry on iron machine works. They employ from sixty to seventy-five men, and are the most extensive and enterprising manufacturers in the place. Their mills and yards are very near the Northern Railway Station, and they have every convenience for filling orders with dispatch. They are heavy dealers in lath and shingles, as well as all kinds of lumber. The four sons in the firm are Henry Styles, Charles Edwin, Ambrose Milton, and J. Eugene, the two oldest ones (first mentioned) being married. There are three other sons living, and two daughters, the older daughter, Joanna, being the wife of the Rev. Thomas Grandby, of the County of Simcoe. The other children are single. The wife of Mr. Cane was Miss Catharine Belfry, of East Gwillimbury, married in 1844. They have buried three children.
Mr. Cane has always been a hard working man, and whatever he has of this world’s goods he has earned with toil hardened hands. He is in comfortable circumstances, but he seems to find industry, like “virtue, its own reward,” and few men or meadow larks in North York are astir in the morning before him.
In politics he is a Reformer, is President of the North York Reform Association, and has been urged by his party to be a candidate for the Local Parliament, but his taste does not seem to run in that direction. He finds no difficulty in obeying laws already made, but does not incline to aid in multiplying or amending them.
He is a member of the Canada Methodist Church, and of the Official Board of the Newmarket body of that name.