ALEXANDER SCLATER*
1819-1876

From: "Montreal History and Gazeteer to the year 1892"
By Rev. J. Douglas Borthwick, John Lovell & Son, Montreal 1892


For many years one of the most prominent figures in Montreal, and especially wherever that portion of the business community interested in shipping ‘‘ most do congregate,’’ was the imposing form of Alexander Sclater, the late Port Warden.

Born at Saltcoats, Ayreshire, Scotland, on the 13th March, 1819. he followed a sea-faring life, and when grown to manhood commanded a merchantman, visiting during this time every portion of the globe.

He happened to be in Africa with his vessel when the Kaffir war broke out, narrowly escaping being murdered by the natives. He carried to his grave the mark of an assegai which was thrown at him by one of the Kaffirs who attacked him, which he grasped, receiving a severe wound in the palm, but saving his own life by his quickness and presence of mind.

In the course of his career he saved from drowning several people, and for his various noble and humane acts of heroism was presented by the Royal Humane Society of London with a gold watch and several gold medals suitably inscribed. He came to Montreal to settle in 1858, and was appointed Port Warden in 1863, holding the office till his sudden death on May 4, 1876,

He was accorded a public funeral, the various places of business being closed, the flags being at half mast on all the shipping and the public buildings. Work was suspended, and all the public bodies in the city, including all the laborers in the Harbor, attended to show their respect for his many sterling qualities.

Captain Sclater married a daughter of the late Dr. James Grant, of Martintown, County of Glengarry, Upper Canada, a sister of Sir James Grant, M. D., of Ottawa, by whom he had ten children, seven daughters and three sons, nine of whom survived him. William Sclater and James Sclater, of the firm of Wm. Sclater & Co., are in business in this city as asbestos millers and manufacturers, and are widely and favorably known, their business having been established in 1876. Alexander Sclater is also engaged in commercial pursuits in the City of Montreal.


From: "A History of the Scotch Presbyterian Church, St. Gabriel Street, Montreal"
By Rev. Robert Campbell, Montreal 1887

A prominent figure in the City of Montreal for many years, was Captain Sclater, the Port Warden. He, too, was a member of the old church in St. Gabriel Street, during the period of the author’s ministry, until removing to too great a distance from the church, he and his family became connected with Erskine congregation. 

Alexander Sclater was born at Saltcoats, Ayrshire, Scotland, March 13th, 1819. Boys brought up in coast towns are apt to set their hearts on a sea-faring life, and young Sclater was no exception to the rule. He became a captain of a merchantman, and sailed for many years, visiting every quarter of the globe, so that he afterwards had the geography of the world in his eye. He spent three years on the coast of Africa, and was there when the Kaffir war broke out. He barely escaped with his life, and carried to the grave with him the scar of a spear wound on the palm of his hand, which he had received in an encounter with a native. Captain Sclater was a man of dignified bearing and lofty courage; and for his bravery he was awarded a handsome gold watch and several gold medals, by the Humane Society of London, for saving lives at sea. 

London was his headquarters, while he sailed the ocean; but he took up his residence in Montreal, in 1858. In 1863, he was appointed Port Warden, and held this position until his death, May 4th, 1876 - which was very sudden, caused by aneurism of the heart. He married a daughter of Dr. Grant of Martintown, sister to Sir James A. Grant, of Ottawa, who survives him.


*Researching Andrew Sclater...............Craig Sclater (great-great-grandson)
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