From "Montreal History and Gazetteer to the year 1892"
By Rev. J. Douglas Borthwick, John Lovell & Son, Montreal 1892
The subject of this sketch is William Francis Lighthall, whose name is well known as one of the heads of the Notarial profession of the Province. Mr. Lighthall is a son of the late Mr. Douw K. Lighthall, a gentleman long known in his time as Registrar of the old County of Beauharnois, and as a leading figure throughout the district of Chateauguay, and his wife Agnes Schuyler. Mr. W. F. Lighthall was born in the Ten Eyck Schuyler mansion at Troy, N.Y. The Schuylers and Van Rensselaers, to whose circle the family belonged, are well known names in Colonial history.
In 1829, his father was induced by relatives who possessed considerable
interest in Canada to cross the border into the Chateauguay region and
undertake the building up of a town at Huntingdon, around which point population
was just beginning to fill in, and which seemed to promise well as a centre.
His efforts did much for the place and its neighborhood, but were not a
pecuniary success to him, and he soon accepted the offered position of
Registrar, then becoming one of comparative importance in such a country.
A man of kind manners and progressive views he wielded unlimited
The early part of William F. Lighthall's life was thus spent at Huntingdon and Ormstown. In 1846, he studied his profession at Montreal under Mr. J.J. Gibb, and afterwards under the late Mr. J. H. Jobin. Passing in 1848, he commenced practice in Ormstown, where he acted at the same time as deputy of his father. On the invitation of Sir A. N. McNab, Premier, he went to Hamilton, Upper Canada, to study for the Bar of that Province, but he never completed his course. While there he acted as Deputy Registrar of the City, and assisted in totally reforming the system of registration, which had been in a bad state. Finding after two years that he preferred Montreal to Hamilton, he, in 1859, removed to the former city, where he resumed the practice of his original profession.
He had married in the meantime, at Hamilton, a daughter of Captain Henry Wright, of Chateauguay. He has long enjoyed a large practice in Montreal, and may fairly be styled one of the landmarks. He has served on different occasions as representative of the Montreal Notaries on the Provincial Board of Notaries. The improvement of the Profession has always been one of his aims, and it is due to his efforts that the establishment of a Notarial Chair at McGill University is due. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1865, and has been a number of times called upon to accept the representation of Chateauguay in Parliament, and the aldermanship of influential wards in Montreal, but has refused to touch politics or civic honors.
His sons are Mr. W. D. Lighthall,
advocate, and Mr. G.
R. Lighthall, notary. Mr. W. D. Lighthall is becoming widely
known on account of his literary career. He has collected and printed a
fine volume of poetry, embodying all the best pieces of native literature,
and he has been very active in the erection of the various notice boards
now being placed throughout the city at those places which are marked in
the history of Montreal. He is a member of several literary and scientific
societies, and a young man of promise.
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