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James Gillespie, second son of James and Jane (Montgomery) Gillespie was born in James Ontario, January 6, 1824. Both parents were from Belfast, Ireland. His father was a baker by trade, and often changed his residence, living at different places in this Province and in the State of New York, settling in Picton in 1831, where James obtained such mental discipline, as the local schools of that period furnished. He worked with his father until fifteen years old; then learned the trade of a cabinet maker, and followed that business for himself until 1860, when he became a grocer and baker.
In 1865 Mr. Gillespie rented his premises, and was in the morocco leather business for five years, the first three with another man. During all this period he was also an auctioneer, doing, at times, a good deal of business in that line. He was appointed sheriff of the county of Prince Edward, in April 1871, and that office he still holds. He makes an efficient public functionary.
Sheriff Gillespie was a member of the public school board of Picton for eighteen years, and was an early champion of free schools; and he was in the town council several terms, and in the county council one year, showing, in these municipalities, a liberal disposition as it regarded public improvements. He is a valuable citizen.
He is a life long Reformer of the grittiest class, and before becoming sheriff, was a very active partisan, working conscientiously, and with zeal to promote the interests of the party. In his present position he keeps quiet.
Sheriff Gillespie married in May, 1845, Mrs. Sarah M. Patterson, nee Morgan, and has four children living, and has lost two. One son, Thomas G. is married, and in the hardware business with a younger brother, Charles S. at Campbellford, Ontario; James F. is a clerk in his father’s office, and Emma M., the only daughter, is living at home.
Mr. Gillespie had two brothers, one of whom was the late Dr. George Gillespie, who practised many years in Picton, established the Picton Times, and edited it for some time, and was greatly respected, dying a dozen years ago, or more. His brother is Benjamin Gillespie, a merchant in Picton, and a successful business man.