William Lees, the new Member of Parliament for the South Riding of Lanark, is a son of William Lees, senior, who came from Scotland in 1817 and settled at Bathurst, County of Lanark, in the following year. The country was then called the Bathurst District. The mother of our subject, before her marriage, was Barbara Tait, who gave birth to him November 21, 1821. William Lees, senior, was a pioneer farmer in the County of Lanark, and to the same occupation his son was bred, he receiving a common school education, having, luckily, most of the time, a good teacher.
Mr. Lees continued to farm almost exclusively until 1851, when he built a saw mill, and ten years ago added a flouring mill, and is now engaged in manufacturing lumber and flour as well as in farming. He has about five hundred acres of land, largely improved, in the neighborhood of Bathurst, and other lands in other parts. He is one of the leading business men in this part of the riding.
Mr. Lees has been a magistrate nearly forty years, being appointed when he was a young man; became a township councilor in 1856, and held that office for twenty years, and has been a reeve fourteen or fifteen years, and warden three years. No man in the County of Lanark has probably had more to do with its municipal matters than Mr. Lees. He has given much valuable time to the interests of the township and county, being an industrious, practical and faithful business man.
He was connected for many years with the militia under the old system, and was promoted from the rank of ensign by degrees to that of captain.
Mr. Lees was elected to the local Legislature on the 5th of June, 1879, and has just attended the first session of the fourth Parliament, paying very close attention to legislative duties. He is a Conservative, quite liberal in his views and feelings, and stands well, as far as we can learn, with all parties. For several years he was President of the Conservative Association; has taken an active part in agricultural matters, and was for two years president of the agricultural society of his riding, and has been a delegate two or three times to the Provincial Agricultural Association.
He is a Free Mason, a third degree member of Evergreen Lodge, No. 209.
Mr. Lees has been married three times, first to Mary, daughter of Col. Playfair, of Bathurst, formerly a member of the old Canadian Assembly; the second time to Miss Margaret Ward, of the same township, and the third time to Miss Annie Irvine Laurie, of Perth. He has nine children living, and has lost one daughter.