He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and emigrated to Wisconsin in 1852 and settled at Janesville where his father died in 1856 and his mother in 1874. William went into business in Montreal in 1861 where he remained until 1870, when he moved to Guelph, Ontario to engage in farming.° William farmed on lots 8 and 9, concession 8, Division C in the Township of Guelph until they moved to Winnipeg.
In 1878, he arrived in Winnipeg and engaged in the furniture business until 1883, when the Manitoba Electric and Gas Light Company was founded, and he was appointed its Managing Director.° Indeed, the 1891 Census indicates that William worked for the Manitoba ... Gas Company and that James was working as a clerk. William took a very prominent part in the business of the city and at one time was a member of council.°°
William fell and hurt his head a few days before his death and after that was confined to his home at 267 Spence St. Shortly before his death, he had a throat infection and died of a lung complication.°°
Margaret was an active member of Knox United Church at 400 Edmonton St. and took an active interest in various city charities.^ In 1911, she lived at 98 Balmoral Place in Winnipeg with her son, Joseph and daughter, Elizabeth. Five years later, Dr. Charles McGreer, Elizabeth's husband, was head of the household but Joseph and his mother continued to live there. Annie O'Niel, 30 years old, was a lodger and Lilian Johnson, 26 years old, was a servant.^^
Knox United Church, was designated Manitoba Heritage Site # 51 on October 29, 1990. Originally a Presbyterian church, it is the largest United church in Manitoba. Constructed between 1914 and 1918, it was also the pinnacle of Protestant church architecture in the province. The building is the design of J.H.G. Russell (1862-1946), a prominent Winnipeg architect. Knox was created with reference to the Late Gothic Revival style. With its powerful verticality, smooth surfaces and subdued ornament, it is a magnificent exponent of that style. Finished at the height of World War One, the church was one of the last great building projects undertaken in Manitoba during the Edwardian era.¹º
Margaret died after an illness extending over five years; she was buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg.^