William McCraney, leading business man of Oakville, and a member of the House of Commons from 1875 to 1879, was born in the township of Trafalgar, two short miles from Oakville, on the 15th of December, 1831. His grandfather, William McCraney, for whom he was named, was a U.E. Loyalist, leaving the States about the time of the Revolution, and settling at first at Caledonia, in the county of Haldimand.
The father of our subject was Hiram McCraney, who was born in 1801, in what is now the county of Brant, came with the family to Trafalgar, county of Halton, in 1805, and died here on the 10th of January, 1878. He is described by persons who knew him, as a noble specimen of the frontiersman, full of pluck and courage, enduring the privations and trials of a pioneer life with a resolute will and a cheerful heart, frugal, economical, hospitable, kind to everybody and trusting in God for rest in a better world.
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The mother of our subject was Louisa English, born near Belfast, Ireland, in 1800, and is in her 80th year. She is the mother of eight children, six of them, two sons and four daughters, still living. The other son is Daniel McCraney, M.P.P. for East Kent.
The subject of this notice was reared on his father’s farm, receiving, meantime, such mental discipline as an ordinary country school could furnish thirty and forty years ago, subsequently adding largely to his stores of knowledge by private study, and thus fitting himself for his diversified pursuits and the several official positions which he has held.
With the exception of three years spent in mining and lumbering in California 1852-55 he has been engaged in farming, manufacturing lumber, and building. Mr. McCraney has cleared and improved something like five hundred acres of land in the county of Halton; he has erected three sawmills in this county, and one in North Simcoe, two of which he still runs; also planing mills at St. Catharines, which he continues to operate, and a large number of farm houses and other buildings near Oakville, and nearly twenty dwelling houses in the Corporation.
He embodies the true spirit of enterprize; is disposed to push business, and has done a liberal share of work in building up the town. He is a christian man, a member of the Methodist church of Canada, and Recording Steward of the same, and has been a generous contributor towards the building of several churches, both in the town and country. His heart is also in the temperance cause, in which he is an honest worker. In 1875 he was a delegate to the Dominion Prohibitory Convention.
Since 1868 Mr. McCraney has lived in Oakville, selling his last farm in 1878, and has been constantly in some civil office commencing with the next year, when he became a town councilor and high school trustee, holding those positions until 1872. He then held the office of mayor two years, being elected by acclamation; after which he went into the county council, and was there until January 1876. Prior to this date, January 25, 1875, he was elected to the Dominion Parliament, having contested the riding of Halton in the Reform interest, and receiving a handsome majority. He was defeated for the same seat in September 1878.
He has always taken a deep interest in county matters, encouraging enterprise tending to develop resources of every kind, and is an influential and popular man. He has been President of the Trafalgar Agricultural Society, and Director of the Trafalgar and County Societies at sundry times, taking a very active part in agricultural concerns. At one time he owned three or four farms.
On the 24th of May, 1857the Queen’s birthday Mr. McCraney married Miss Elizabeth Coote, daughter of Charles Coote, of Trafalgar, and of ten children, the fruit of this union, two sons and six daughters are living, most of them being engaged in securing an education.
Daniel McCraney, spoken of above, was born at Trafalgar, July 1, 1834; educated at the Oakville grammar school; studied law, and was called to the Bar in 1871, and is practicing at Bothwell. He was first elected to the local Parliament in 1875 to represent East Kent, and was re-elected in June, 1879. Like his brother, he is a Reformer, thorough going and unswerving, and ably supports the Mowat Administration.