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Abram William Lauder, Member of the Provincial Parliament for East Grey, is a native of England, and was horn at Bewcastle on the 6th of June, 1834, son of the late Thomas D. Lauder, Esq., of Durham, Ont., and grandson of the Rev. William Lauder, late of Bewcastle, Cumberland, Eng., one of the most popular preachers of his time in the border counties. A collateral ancestor was one of the claimants for the Roxburgh Estates in 1812. His mother was of an English family named Forrester. Came to Canada with the rest of the family in 1855, and spent the succeeding two years in the County of Ontario, where he was very successfully engaged in teaching. His father and four brothers settled in the County of Grey, where the latter have become leading citizens, especially James and Thomas, the last named being at present Registrar of the county.
Our subject was educated principally at Canobic and Langholm, Scotland, and after coming to Toronto in 1857, became a student at law in the office of Messrs. Ross, Crawford and Crombie; after being called to the Bar, U.C., Easter Term, 1864, formed a law partnership with the senior member of this firm, the Hon. John Ross, which continued until the death of Mr. Ross in 1871; and is now at the head of the firm of Lauder and Proctor. Mr. Lauder has been in continued practice in Toronto since being called to the Bar, and has succeeded in establishing a well earned reputation as a good and successful lawyer. His work, however, has not been confined to his profession alone, but is as diversified as his abilities. He has been a member of the Ontario Legislature since Confederation (1867), representing, first, South Grey, and since that was divided into two ridings, East Grey. Mr. Lauder is one of the very few charter members now left in the House, and it speaks well for his zeal and faithfulness in looking after the interests of his constituents, that he has so often been re-elected to the same seat. Much of his popularity is doubtless owing to his success in urging the passage by the Sandfield Macdonald Government of an act for the revaluation of public lands occupied by settlers. Mr. Lauder was successful in his first election because of his advocacy of free grants to settlers, and of the measures above alluded to, which resulted in great benefit to his constituency. Since entering public life he has been a Liberal Conservative in politics, and a strong advocate of railway extension for opening up and developing the resources of the interior of the provinces. He has taken considerable interest in educational matters, and was for some time a member of the Senate of Victoria College University, Cobourg. In 1869 was appointed Government Trustee of the Municipal Bonus Funds of Toronto, Grey and Bruce Ry., discharging the duties of that office with satisfaction to his many friends along the line of this railway. Mr. Lauder is also Secretary-Treasurer of the Star Life Insurance Co., for Canada, a very wealthy English corporation, which has invested a large portion of its reserve funds in this country.
Since residing in Toronto, Mr. Lauder has been identified with the Methodist Church, and was quite prominently connected with the movement which resulted in building the Metropolitan Church in this city, of which he is one of the trustees. In conjunction with the Rev. Dr. Ryerson, he negotiated the purchase of the square in which the elegant edifice is situated, than which a finer site for the purpose cannot be found in Toronto. With others, he organized and was one of the first members of the Y. M. C. Association of Toronto.
In 1856 Mr. Lauder was married to Miss M. E. Toof, of Whitby. Mrs. Lauder is descended from an old French Canadian family, and is possessed of varied literary attainments, and speaks fluently four different languages. She has been a contributor to the press, and has published, under her usual nom de plume of “Toofie,” a book of travels called “Evergreen Leaves,” published by the Rose-Belford Publishing Co., Toronto. We understand she is at present engaged upon another work, soon to be published in London, Eng. Our subject has also had considerable experience as a traveler, having visited nearly all the different countries of Europe; many of them twice. Mr. and Mrs. Lauder have only one child, a son named William Waugh, who promises to become quite celebrated as a musician and pianist. He has studied at Heidelberg, Germany, and is now finishing under the best masters at Leipsic in the same country. Last June he was selected from the many students at Leipsic to play at the annual Gawand haus Concert, a distinction which many hope for, but few obtain. He is the first from Canada, and one of a very few from America, who ever acquired this honor, which is regarded as indicating the possession of very superior musical abilities.