John Charles Rykert, member of the Dominion Parliament, was born in the house in which he now lives, on the 10th of March, 1832. His father, George Rykert, who died in 1857, was among the pioneers in the Niagara district; surveyed no inconsiderable part of the country in this vicinity; was manager of the Commercial Bank at St. Catharines for a long period, and represented the County of Lincoln in the Upper Canada Parliament from 1832 until the union of the two Canadas in 1841. His mother, who is still living, and whose maiden name was Ann Maria Mittleberger, was born in Montreal, and belonged to a family well known in this Province. Both parents were of German extraction.
Our subject was educated in the Grammar and High Schools of St. Catharines, and the Upper Canada College and University of Toronto; studied law at first with the late Judge Burns of Toronto; finished his studies with the present Chief Justice, Adam Wilson, of the same city; was called to the Bar at Hilary term, 1854, and has been in practice at St. Catharines from that date. Mr. Rykert is a well read lawyer, practices in all the courts, and stands in the front rank in his profession in the county. As a speaker he is very fluent, earnest and impressive, and has great influence with a jury. He is very quick to see the points in favor of his client, and never fails to use them to the best advantage. His professional career thus far has been one of brilliant success.
Mr. Rykert lived for several years on his farm in the Township of Grantham, half a mile from St. Catharines, and was Reeve of that township from 1857 to 1864. From the latter date he was Reeve of the Town of St. Catharines until 1.876 when it became a city, and during that period he was Warden of the county for five years. He is now and has been chairman of the Collegiate Institute, High School and Grammar School Board of Trustees for seventeen years; was for many years President of the County Agricultural Society, and has always taken a very active part in the agricultural affairs of the county; was elected President of the Agricultural and Art Association of the Province of Ontario in 1865, by the vote of the people; has been a member of the Council since that time, and is now Vice-President of the same. He represents the 8th Electoral District in that body.
Mr. Rykert was a member of the old Parliament of Canada, representing the County of Lincoln from 1860 to 1863; was a member of the Ontario Legislature from Confederation in 1867 till 1878, and in the latter year was elected to the Dominion Parliament, in which he is now representing his native county.
Mr. Rykert, as is here seen, has had much experience in legislative matters, and has long been recognized. as one of the leading men in public life from the western part of Ontario. He is a Conservative, staunch, unwavering, and for years has been at the head of his party in this county.
Mr. Rykert is a Master Mason and belongs, so to speak, to a Masonic as well as Conservative family, his father thirty years ago, and the friend of his father, Sir Allan MacNab, being two of the highest Masons in Canada. When George Rykert died his funeral was attended by more than 3,000 members of the order from Canada and the United States.
Mr. Rykert holds his Christian membership in the Church of England.
He was married October 19, 1851, to Annie Maria, daughter of Colonel Sheldon Hawley, of Trenton, Ontario, and of nine children, resulting from this union, eight are living.