John McKellar, the oldest son of the prominent McKellar family, grew up on the family farm at Fort William. The farm encompassed an ideal location and the McKellar family were able to secure many of their interests, including the separation of Neebing from Shuniah in 1881 and an agreement made with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1884 which directed the centre of CPR activity to Kaministiquia instead of the planned location in Westfort. The growing town of Fort William expanded into the McKellar land, rather than on CPR or Hudson's Bay Company land - which was exactly what the McKellars wanted.
McKellar had been active in the governments of Shuniah and Neebing, and when Fort William was incorporated in 1892, he was named as its first Mayor. By the time of his death in 1900, the town of Fort William had achieved many developments, including the establishment of the central business district off the Town Plot, the introduction of necessary infrastructure such as electric street railways, a basic sewage system, and electric power, and an increased in population that surpassed that of Port Arthur.
Although the McKellar family's influence was envied and resented by the people of West Fort, John McKellar remained the town patriarch throughout the 1890s. Both McKellar Street (formerly John Street) and the old McKellar General Hospital were named in his honour.
Born: June 19, 1833, near Glencoe, Mosa Township, Middlesex County, Ontario
Died: Feb. 4, 1900, in Fort William, Ontario at the age of 66
Councillor: Shuniah Councillor 1873-1875, 1877-1881; Neebing Councillor 1881-1887
Reeve: Reeve of Neebing 1888-1892
Next: Mayor C. W. Jarvis
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