Hon. Alexander Vidal, Senator, is a descendant of a family originally from Spain, removing thence to England in the 18th century. He is a son of Capt. Richard Emeric Vidal of the Royal Navy, and Charlotte Penrose nee Mitton, and was born in Berkshire, England, on the 4th of August, 1819. He was educated at the Royal Mathematical School, Christ’s Hospital, London; accompanied his father to Upper Canada in 1834; settled in Sarnia the next year; practiced the profession of a Provincial Land. Surveyor from 1843 to 1852; was Manager of the Sarnia branch of the Bank of Upper Canada, from the latter date until the failure of that institution in 1866; and held the same position in the service of the Bank of Montreal, from that time until 1875, when he resigned. He has held the office of county treasurer since 1853, being the only Treasurer that Lambton has ever had.
Senator Vidal has long been connected with the military of the Ontario Province, and holds the rank of Lieut.-Colonel of the Lambton Reserve Militia.
He sat for “St. Clair “Division in the Legislative Council of Canada, from September, 1863 until the Union (1867); was an unsuccessful candidate for the House of Commons at the general elections in 1867 and 1872, and was called to the Senate on the 15th of January, 1873. He is a Conservative and a Prohibitionist, and the leader in the Senate on all measures having reference to the temperance question. He was Chairman of the Dominion Prohibitory Convention, held at Montreal, in September, 1875, and is President of the Dominion Alliance for the Total Suppression of the Liquor Traffic.
Senator Vidal is President of the English Loan Company, London, Ont., the Canada Royal Benefit Society, the Sarnia branch of the Bible Society and the Tract Society. He is also an elder of the Canada Presbyterian church, and one of the foremost men in the county in religious and benevolent enterprise. He was the first President of the Sarnia Young Men’s Christian Association, and is now Vice President. Ralph Waldo Emerson has well said: “The earth is upheld by the veracity of good men; they make the earth wholesome.”
In December, 1847, Senator Vidal married Catharine, eldest daughter of Capt. William Elliot Wright, R. N., of Moore, Lambton, and they have six children living, four sons and two daughters, and have buried one son, a promising youth, in his seventeenth year. The eldest son, Emeric Alexander, is married, and is deputy county treasurer; Charlotte Jane is the wife of Thomas W. Nisbet, Manager of the Bank of Commerce, Sarnia; Elizabeth Mary is the wife of David B. Gardner, of the Bank of Montreal, Chatham, New Brunswick, and the others are unmarried.