William Davis Ardagh, mayor of Barrie, is a son of Stephen Ardagh, who is descended from a Welsh family that settled in Ireland about the time of Edward I. He was born in the county of Tipperary, March 21, 1828, but spent most of the first twenty years of his life in the county of Kilkenny. In 1848 he came to Barrie, and finished his education in the grammar school; studied law with John Strathy, of this town, and was called to the bar at Hilary term, 1855. Mr. Ardagh commenced practice in Toronto, in partnership with Hon. John Crawford, since Lieut.-Governor of the Province of Ontario, and Hon. J. H. Hagarty, now chief justice. Two or three years later when Mr. Hagarty went on the Bench, the firm was dissolved, and Mr. Ardagh returned to Barrie. For a time he was in partnership with Hon. James Patton, at one period a member of the Legislative Council of Canada; and at another time practiced in company with his brother, John A. Ardagh, now junior judge of the judicial district of Simcoe. Latterly our subject has paid but little attention to the law, being engaged in private banking and brokerage business.
At one period he was joint editor and proprietor, with the late Chief Justice Harrison, of the Canada Law Journal, and was at one time publisher of the Northern Advance, a weekly newspaper printed at Barrie. He has a good deal of ability as a journalist.
Mr. Ardagh was deputy judge of the county of Simcoe for a few years; was reeve of Barrie for eight years; and warden of the county the last three of them, and has been mayor since 1877.
In 1871 he was elected to the Ontario Legislature; was unseated on petition; returned in January, 1872, and served that term out. His politics are Liberal Conservative, and he is rather independent in his views. His religious connection is with the Reformed Episcopal church. He is a Master Mason.
In 1858 Mr. Ardagh married Martha L., third daughter of Rev. Samuel B. Ardagh, first Rector of Barrie, and they have two children living, and have buried two.