Adam Oliver, one of the leading manufacturers and business men of Ingersoll, is a native of Queensbury county, New Brunswick, dating his birth December 11, 1823. His father, John Oliver, whose business was that of a carrier, was born in Roxborough, Scotland, and his mother, whose maiden name was Jeannett Armstrong, was of the same country. Our subject was educated in a country school; at fourteen years of age he came to Canada West, and learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner at London; there he worked at his trade until 1850, and then settled in Ingersoll. Here, in addition to his trade, and contracting and building, he has run a planing mill for nearly thirty years, employing about thirty men. A large percent of the buildings, brick as well as frame, put up in this town and vicinity, since Mr. Oliver settled here, are the work of his hands. his mill, which was rebuilt of brick in 1879, is quite large, and a great variety of work besides planing is done in it. Messrs. Oliver and Co. also carried on the first lumber business on the North Shore of Lake Superior in 1872. The firm of which Mr. Oliver was the head built large saw and planing mills at Fort William, Thunder Bay, where he took part in municipal matters, was also president of the celebrated Neeburg Hotel Company, and in the summer of 1875 was chosen to turn the first sod of the Canada Pacific Railroad.
While Mr. Oliver is industrious, energetic, and efficient, he is also public spirited, being identified with various local improvements, and holding, at sundry times, nearly every office in the municipality of the town, as well as warden of the county. He went into the town council in 1855, serving several terms; was the first mayor, being elected in 1865, holding the office two consecutive terms; was on the school board three years, and has been deputy-reeve and (in 1862) warden, doing much to shape the town and county “rules and regulations.”
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In 1867 Mr. Oliver was elected to represent the South Riding of Oxford in the Legislative Assembly of the newly named Province of Ontario, and, by re-election, served in that body for eight years. He is the father of the Bill which became a law in 1868, affording protection to the manufacturers of butter and cheese, an Act still in force, and which gave the industries mentioned their grand start in the Province, and continues to furnish the means for their propulsion. As at home about his own business, Mr. Oliver was a busy man in Parliament, and looked well to the interests of his constituents. In politics we understand that he calls himself a “Grit.” His religious connection is with the Presbyterian church.
Mr. Oliver has long taken a deep interest in agricultural matters, and for two years was at the head of the Ingersoll and North and West Agricultural Society. He was also at one time a Director of the Port Dover and Lake Huron and the Canada Southern Railways.
Mr. Oliver was first married February 5, 1846, to Miss Elizabeth Grieve, of Westminster, county of Middlesex. She died in 1866, leaving six children. His second marriage was June 13, 1868, to Miss Ellen E. Rintoul, of Perth, Scotland; by her he has three children.