Colin Munro, subject of this sketch, the sheriff of the county of Elgin for more than a quarter of a century, and one of the most stirring men of the county, is a native of Argyle, Scotland, and born in February, 1819. His parents, Neil and Nancy, (McPherson) Munro, belonged to the agricultural class, and when the son was eight years old, came to Canada and settled on 800 acres of bush land in the township of Southwold. They were landed from a sailing vessel at Port Stanley (1827), and at that time, a round half century ago, this part of the old London district, was very sparsely settled. Here and there a farm had been partly opened in the township of Southwold, when Neil Munro began to swing his axe in the dense forest.
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Our subject, who had received a little schooling in the old country, continued his studies here as best he could in those early days, and being ambitious to learn, and applying himself out of school as well as in school, at seventeen he was prepared to teach, and commenced that honorable vocation. Soon afterwards his father gave him a farm, which he cleared in the course of ten or twelve years, continuing to teach more or less every year during this period, farming usually in the summer season. It is doubtful if any young man in this section of the country was more industrious or made a better use of his time, than did Mr. Munro. This alternation of mental and physical labor, and these early habits of close application and unwearied perseverance, and diligence in business, constituted a good foundation, on which Mr. Munro continues to build.
He carried on his farm until 1853, acting, meanwhile, as first assessor of the township of Southwold, and afterwards as a member of the district council for a number of years. He was in that council when the county of Elgin was set off from Middlesex, and was a leading man in forwarding and consummating that measure.
When the Great Western Railway came through this part of the Province, he took the contract for fencing in one hundred and ten miles of it, and did it with dispatch.
In 1853, Mr. Munro was appointed sheriff, a life office, in performing the duties of which, as in everything else to which he has put his hands, he shows himself a business dispatcher. Whether fencing in a railroad or a rascal, his steps are quick, and he “means business.”
In 1859, Miss Alma Moore, of Malahide township, daughter of Lindley Moore, Esq., formerly of Nova Scotia, was joined in marriage with Sheriff Munro, and died in October, 1865, leaving one daughter, Alma Agnes, to whom her father is giving a first class education.