Biography of William Patrick
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William Patrick, Sheriff of the united counties of Leeds and Grenville, is of Scotch descent, his grandparents being on their way through Massachusetts to Canada, when his father, Asa Patrick, was born. The family settled near Newmarket, Upper Canada, opening a farm there. In the war of 1812-15, Asa Patrick was connected with the Commissary Department, with head-quarters at Toronto.
William was born in “Little York,” now Toronto, February 21, 1810, the maiden name of his mother being Belinda Gilbert. He was educated by Dr., since Bishop Strachan, then Rector, and the Principal of the grammar school at Toronto; there served an apprenticeship in the mercantile business, and then traded for himself two years at Kemptville, and about forty at. Prescott, being quite successful in his mercantile operations.
In his younger years Mr. Patrick attended exclusively to his business, having very little to do with politics except to vote, being finally led into them in a singular manner. When, in 1849, the Parliament House at Montreal was entirely destroyed by fire, and the Governor-General was driven out of the Province, a delegation was sent down from Prescott, Mr. Patrick among the number, to present an address to His Excellency, and our subject was designated at the last moment to read the address. This he did, and one or two points being overlooked by the Committee who prepared the address, he received their permission to add a few words extemporaneously, there being no time, when the deficiency was discovered, to put anything on paper. The remarks which he made after reading the written part of the address, were so admirable and so pleased the other members of the delegation, that they insisted on nominating him, when the proper time came, for Parliament. He was elected four times, and between 1851 and 1864 attended fifteen sessions, becoming quite a prominent member of the House. He was the first man to move in the matter of making Ottawa the capital of the Dominion. On a fifth trial at the polls, in 1864, he was defeated. Had he been returned, he would have been made Speaker, having that promise from the Government. It was his strong opposition to the endowment of religious institutions, nunneries, etc., by the Government, that defeated him, the Catholics turning against him. In May, 1873, Mr. Patrick was appointed Sheriff, an office which he holds for life.
While a resident of Prescott he served as mayor two terms, and was for a long time chairman of the board of school trustees. He is public spirited, and likes to see a town progressing.
He is a member of the Wesleyan or Canadian Methodist church; was for thirty years superintendent of a Sunday school; and has lived an active, irreproachable christian life. The people seem to have unlimited confidence in his integrity, and his worth as a citizen is well appreciated.
May 31, 1835, Miss Abigail Ann Brouse, of Iroquois, County of Dundas, became the wife of Mr. Patrick, and they had one child that died in infancy. George Brouse, the father of Mrs. Patrick, was a pioneer at Iroquois, building a steam grist mill there more than sixty years ago. He was a member of the Upper Canada Legislature, and quite a prominent man thirty and forty years ago, being one of the oldest postmasters in the Province, holding this office forty-eight years.