Biography of Alexander Sproat
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Alexander Sproat, banker, and formerly member of Parliament from the north riding of Bruce, was born at Esquesing, near Milton, county of Halton, June 24, 1835. His father, Adam Sproat, farmer, was from the county of Kirkcudbright, Scotland; his mother before her marriage, was Eleanor Brown, daughter of Alexander Brown, a United Empire Loyalist.
Alexander was educated at Knox College, Toronto, and Queen’s College, Kingston, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the latter institution in 1852. After leaving college, he was on the engineer’s staff at the construction of the Grand Trunk railway; subsequently studied surveying, and followed the business of provincial surveyor until 1861, when he assumed the management of the Commercial Bank of Canada, at Southampton, county of Bruce, and held that situation until the failure of that institution in 1867. In the spring of 1868, Mr. Sproat was appointed manager of the Merchants’ Bank of Canada, at Walkerton, and is still connected with that institution. He is a first-class business man.
Mr. Sproat was treasurer of the county of Bruce for seventeen years; has held the offices of mayor and reeve of Walkerton, and was a member of the House of Commons, from 1867 to 1872, his politics being Conservative. He was defeated for re-election in 1872, by less than a score of votes, the riding being Reform.
In 1861 Mr. Sproat was appointed Captain of the Southampton Rifles; served three months as acting Major during the Fenian raid of 1866, being stationed part of the time at Goderich and part at Sarnia, and was promoted to the Colonelcy in the autumn of the same year, and is still holding that rank.
He is a member of St. Paul’s Presbyterian church, an elder of the same, and a liberal supporter of religious and benevolent institutions. In 1879 he was a delegate to the General Assembly of his denomination.
In January 1861, Colonel Sproat married Eliza Watkins McNabb, daughter of Alexander McNabb, crown land agent, county of Bruce, residence Southampton; they have three children living, and have lost two.