Biography of Alexander Robertson

Alexander Robertson, Mayor of the City of Belleville, and one of its prominent barristers, is a native of the Province of Ontario, being born at Trenton, County of Hastings, December 5, 18 38. His father was William Robertson, lumber merchant, from Glenelg, Inverness-shire, Scotland, coming to Canada in 1827; his mother, Jane Simmons, a native of Canada, and daughter of a United Empire Loyalist. William Robertson, who died in 1861, was a descendant of the Robertsons of Strowan, “who were noted for their bravery and fine physique.” When James I. was murdered in Black Friars Monastery, in the presence of the Queen and her attendants, by Sir Robert Graham, the murderer made his escape to the Highlands, hiding in the Braes-o’-Mar, where he was captured by Robert, grandson of Robert of Athol, founder of the Clan Robertson. For this brave deed, and the taking of Graham to the Queen, he was rewarded with a Crown Charter, dated in 1451, erecting a large quantity of lands into a free Barony, and also with a coat of arms “A naked man, manacled under the achievement, with the motto, Virtutis gloria merces.”

When Alexander was seven years old, the family moved from Trenton to Belleville, in the same county, where the son was educated in the excellent Grammar School, and subsequently read law with George E. Henderson, Q.C., being called to the Bar in 1865. Since that date he has been in the practice of his profession in this city, being at this time of the firm of Robertson and Thomas. They have an extensive practice, but Mr. Robertson, who is a sound and able lawyer, gives much of his attention to investments, partly of his own funds, and largely for other parties. Great trusts are confided to him, people having unlimited confidence in his integrity and business tact. He is a skilful and successful operator.

Mr. Robertson was a member of the Town Council of Belleville, before it became a city, which was in 1878, and was Mayor of the Town in 1870, and of the city in 1878-’79, at the time of writing still holding that office. He is a man who likes to push public enterprises ahead, and to see the city advancing in all its material and other interests, and he makes an efficient and popular Chief Magistrate.

Individually he is doing a great deal to build up and beautify the city. In 1876 he put up the elegant brick block known as the Robertson Block, on the east side of Front Street, and in 1879, the block on the other side of the same street.

He is a large property owner in the city, and no man takes more pride in furthering its interests, which he considers identical with his own. It is this class of public spirited men who have made Belleville one of the handsomest cities of the younger class in the Province of Ontario.

In politics Mr. Robertson is a Conservative, and in 1873, was offered, by acclamation, the membership of the House of Commons for East Hastings; but he declined. In 1879 at the urgent request of his many friends he became a candidate for the Local Legislature, and was elected by a large majority.

He is a Knight Templar in the Masonic Order, President of the St. Andrew’s Society; a member and trustee of the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, and a man of unbending rectitude of character.

In June, 1870, Georgina, daughter of Dr. Robert Stewart, became the wife of Mr. Robertson, and she died in April, 1874, leaving one child, Ethel Jane, aged eight years. Mrs. Robertson was a woman of kind and genial disposition, having a special talent for music, and being much beloved by a large circle of friends. Her death was a serious loss to society in Belleville.



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