Andrew Elliott, a pioneer manufacturer of woolen cloths in Ontario, hails from Dumfriesshire, Scotland, his birth being dated April 3, 1809. His father, William Elliott, was a farmer under the Duke of Buccleuch. The maiden name of his mother was Jane Jardine. Both parents died in the old country at a good old age.
He was partly educated, by a private teacher at home, until ten years old, and since eleven has “paddled his own canoe.” He worked a while with a farmer; was clerk in a store a few years; and in 1834 came to Canada, locating at Galt, in the township of Dumfries, county of Waterloo, where he was a grocer for fourteen or fifteen years, and during two thirds of that period, he was councilor for the Gore District, being subsequently reeve of Galt for a few terms.
In 1853 Mr. Elliott became connected, at Preston, with Robert Hunt, in the manufacture of woollen goods, theirs being the second factory of the kind, it is stated, in Ontario, the Barbers leading off at Georgetown, now at Streetsville. They did well and were thus engaged about ten years, when they were burned out, and our subject, soon after they had rebuilt, went into the flax business in company with George Stephen, of Montreal, an enterprise crowned with anything but brilliant success.
In 1869 Mr. Elliott disposed of his interests at Preston, removed to Almonte in the autumn of that year, bought a woolen mill, now known as the “Victoria,” and in company with Samuel Sheard, is manufacturing from $100,000 to $120,000 worth of tweeds annually. The mill consists of two large stone buildings joined by an elevated, covered way. This mill and that of the Rosamond Woolen Company, employ something alike 300 hands, and are, in fact, the ” main stay” of Almonte though there are two other mills of the kind, both small, in the village.
Since becoming a resident of this place, Mr. Elliott has attended very closely to his business, the only civil office that he has held, we believe, being that of trustee of the high school While a resident of the county of Waterloo, he was persuaded, in 1857 to contest that riding as a ” Baldwin Reformer,”for the Canadian Parliament, and was defeated. He is now a Conservative, and an earnest advocate of the ” National Policy” of the present Dominion Administration. His successful competitor, at the time mentioned, was William Scott, now in New Zealand.
In christian faith Mr. Elliott is Presbyterian.
In 1839 he married Miss Mary Hanley, a native of Ireland, and of eight children of whom she is the mother, only two are living. Four died in infancy; Henry was a physician and died at Almonte in 1870, and Jennie Jardine was the wife of John G. Hayes, merchant at Almonte, she dying in 1879. The two living children are sons. John, the elder, has a family, and is cashier and bookkeeper for Elliott and Sheard; and Andrew is a medical student at McGill College, Montreal.
Although thrown upon his own resources at eleven years of age, Mr. Elliott has succeeded well; with one exception has been lucky in his business ventures, and was long ago placed in very comfortable circumstances.