Alexander Brown Baxter, chief of police, and Colonel of the 24th Battalion volunteer infantry, was born in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, June 7, 1831, his parents being Alexander and Elizabeth (Hogg) Baxter. His father was Lieutenant in the 25th and 43rd infantry; served in the Light Division of the army (under the Duke of Wellington), in Spain; and twice in the invasion of France, in the Netherlands and Ireland, and was rewarded with a medal for his services. He retired on half pay after the battle of Waterloo, but was subsequently appointed second oldest Captain of the Venezuela regiment of Horse Lancers, raised in Holland for service in South America, yet did not serve. In 1835, he brought his family to Canada; had granted to him lands on the river St. Clair and at Chatham; served in the rebellion of 1837 ’38, commanding the Bear Creek Rifles, and died in Chatham in 1871, aged eighty-one years. He married Elizabeth Hogg, of Jedburgh, Roxburgshire, Scotland, and a relative of the “Ettrick Shepherd.” One of his ancestors once owned the property, afterwards purchased by Sir Walter Scott, and named Abbottsford, so called because at an earlier period the Abbotts of Melrose Abbey there had a ford across the Tweed.
Col. Baxter received a common school education while the family were residing on the St. Clair river; clerked in a dry goods store in Chatham until 1851, when he went into business for himself, and has traded off and on until a recent date. He was a school trustee at one
period, and part of that time chairman of the board, and in 1877 was appointed chief of police.
As it regards his military record, he was gazetted Lieutenant of the 5th battalion infantry, in February 1856; was appointed Captain of the same in 1860; Lieutenant 1st volunteer company in 1862; Major 24th battalion in 1866; breveted Lieut.-Colonel of volunteer militia of Canada in 1878, and Lieutenant-Colonel commanding 24th, in December of the same year. He served on the frontier at Sherbrooke, Canada East, during the St. Albans raid, in 1865; was second in command of provisional battalion at Windsor, during the Fenian raids of 1866, and has attended all the brigade camps of instruction since that date.
In October, 1855, Col. Baxter married, at Cobourg, Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Richard Brooke, of Toronto, and niece of Sir Allan Macnab; and of nine children, the fruit of this union, eight are living.