James Stratton, Collector of Customs at Peterborough, and for years a prominent journalist, is a native of the County of Armagh, Ireland, dating his birth May 22, 1830. His parents were Robert and Mary (McElwain) Stratton; his paternal ancestors were originally from Cornwall, England; his mother was a native of Scotland. Robert Stratton was a linen merchant, the calling of the family for at least two or three generations farther back.
Our subject was educated principally in the public schools of his native county, and in the County of Durham, Canada West; he coming to this country when only fifteen years of age. At eighteen he commenced teaching a public school in the Township of Clarke, and followed that profession for seventeen years.
In December, 1860, Mr. Stratton settled in Peterborough; shortly afterwards purchased the Peterborough Examiner, and conducted it for thirteen years, making it a strong advocate of the principles of the Reform party. In 1874 he was the nominee of his party for the Local Parliament, and was defeated by Dr. John O’Sullivan, by a small majority, the Conservatives previously having large majorities in the East Riding of Peterborough. Dr. O’Sullivan was unseated for violations of the Election Acts of the Province; but for political purposes Mr. Stratton did not again allow himself to be put in nomination. In 1876, Mr. Stratton was appointed Collector of Customs, when he dropped journalism to attend to his official duties.
His residence is across the Otonabee river, in Ashburnham. He has been Public School Inspector for the town and county for ten years, and for the Town of Peterborough for fourteen years, holding other offices of minor importance. He has a liberal share of enterprise, and is backward in no local projects of material progress or social or moral reform. He is among the leaders in the temperance movement a life long teetotaler himself, and an advocate of most stringent measures to suppress the liquor traffic.
His religious connection is with the Baptists, his membership being in the Peterborough Church; he is active in benevolent as well as church matters, and warmly sympathizes with, and stands ready to aid, the poor and unfortunate.
The wife of Mr. Stratton made so November 6, 1851 was Rosanna, daughter of William Armstrong, formerly of the Township of Cavan, County of Durham, and now of British Columbia, and sister of Hon. William J. Armstrong, late Commissioner of Crown Lands in British Columbia.
Mrs. Stratton is the mother of nine children, five daughters and four sons, all yet living but the oldest daughter, who was the wife of Rev. Isaac Campbell, of Richmond Hill, and died in 1876, James Robert, the oldest son, is the publisher of the Examiner, taking that paper when his father became Collector of Customs, and continuing to sustain its high character.