James Goldie

Author: Unknown

Publication Date: 1965

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James Goldie, of the leading flour manufacturers and dealers in Ontario, and president of the Ontario Millers’ Association, was a son of John and Margaret (Smith) Goldie. He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland on November 6, 1824.


Goldie's father was a famous botanist, known on both continents, and now living in Ayr, county of Waterloo, in his Province, being in his 88th year. He visited Canada and several of the States, more than 60 years ago, studying the flora in this western world; was at one time employed by the Czar of Russia to make botanical explorations, and to supply trees, plants and shrubs for the public gardens of St. Petersburg; wrote for 30 or 40 years for botanical magazines. He also had extensive correspondence with scientific men in both Europe and America.

The maternal grandfather of our subject was also a botanist of Ayrshire, a student in his earlier years of Sir Joseph Banks.

James Goldie had a plain English education, with a smattering of the classics; was a nurseryman, gardener and florist in his younger years. In 1842, Goldie came to America and was for several years in various kinds of business in New York and New Jersey. For a while he was a florist in New York; subsequently had the management of the estate and large manufactories of Roswell L. Colt, deceased, of Patterson, N.J., and a little later was engaged in the lumber and flour traffic in Utica, N.Y.

In 1860, Mr. Goldie settled in Guelph, built a mill and commenced the manufacture of flour. He then sold that mill a few years later, and rebuilt on another site, on a larger scale, and is now manufacturing about 75,000 or 80,000 barrels per annum. He also handles as much more, not of his own manufacture, finding a ready market mainly in the Maritime Provinces and Great Britain. No better brands of flour are sent from Ontario than are manufactured at his mills in Guelph. The Herald of this city thus speaks of this mill:

“Goldie’s Mill is one of the important factors of Guelph’s manufacturing and commercial prosperity, consuming large quantities of wheat and disbursing large sums annually to our farmers for their grain; in the mill itself, in the cooper shops, and in the various departments of the business employing a large force of workmen, it fills a sphere of usefulness and wields a power that accomplishes good to all classes. 

Over and over again, it has been characterized as the model flouring mill of Canada, a verdict that facts abundantly sanction ...”

Mr. Goldie is president of the Ontario Millers’ Association and he is well known among flour manufacturers in Great Britain and the United States, as well as throughout the Dominion of Canada.

He was in the Council in the days when Guelph was a town; is one of the license commissioners for the South Riding of Wellington, and a director of insurance companies in Guelph and Galt.

He is a Liberal Conservative, and in 1876 and again in 1878 was the candidate of his party to represent the south riding of Wellington in the house of Commons, but the district is strongly Reform and he was defeated both times.

Mr. Goldie is a member and deacon of the Congregational Church; a liberal contributor to Church Building funds of his own denomination and others, and to religious and charitable institutions generally.

In March 1848, he married in New York, Miss Frances Owen, a native of Montgomeryshire, Wales, and of eight children, the fruit of this union, five, all sons, are living. Thomas, the eldest has a family; the others are single. The three oldest are with their father in the milling business.

(End quote from Biographical Dictionary)


The sons were Thomas, who became the Mayor of Guelph; James; John, who married Bessie Budd and had six children; Roswell; and Lincoln, who became provincial secretary and who is the father of James Goldie, Q.C., of Guelph.



As recorded in the Canadian Biographical Dictionary, 1880.