"Lieut.-Colonel Alexander Sproat of Walkerton, is one of the most popular as well as one of the most widely known of all the residents of Bruce, his extensive connection with financial, municipal, political and military affairs having made his name a household word throughout the county of his adoption. His father, Adam Sproat, who settled in the Township of Esquesing in 1818, was a descendant of a very old Scottish family, while his mother was a daughter of Alexander Brown, a U.E. Loyalist, who settled near Burlington (now Hamilton) in the early days of Upper Canada.
Colonel Sproat was born is Esquesing in 1835, and was educated at the University of Queen’s College, Kingston, where he graduated with honors and the degree of B.A. when only 19 years of age. After graduating he entered the service of the Grand Trunk Railway, then under construction, on the engineering staff and passed through the various grades from “rod-man” up to Assistant Engineer in charge of a section, his services being chiefly performed between Toronto and Guelph. When the Grand Trunk Railway was completed he removed to Elora, and commenced business as a Provincial Land Surveyor; and in 1856 changed his location to Southampton where he followed that occupation some 5 years. In 1861 he married a daughter of Mr. McNabb, the Crown Lands Agent at that place and was appointed manager of the Southampton branch of the old Commercial Bank, a position he retained till the failure of that institution. He was also appointed the first Treasurer of the County of Bruce, a position he voluntarily retired from some 3 years since.
As long ago as 1861 he received a Captain’s commission in the volunteers and during the excitement caused by the first Fenian raid he served on the Niagara frontier as Major. He is now the Lieut.-Colonel in command of the 32nd Regiment of Canadian Volunteers. He takes a very great interest in military matters and is looked upon as one of the most promising volunteer officers in the country.
Colonel Sproat’s wide business connections and popularity brought him so favorably before the people of North Bruce that the Conservative party (to which he belongs) selected him as their candidate for the Commons at the first election subsequent o Confederation (1867) and he was elected over Dr. Douglas of Port Elgin, also one of the most popular men in the county. He served the North riding in the Commons for 5 years, but was subsequently twice defeated by Mr. Gillies, the present sitting member for North Bruce, and once by Hon. Edward Blake in the South riding. While in the Commons, he was chiefly instrumental in securing the grant for the construction of the Harbor of Refuge at Southampton.
Having previously removed to Walkerton, he was, in 1868, elected Mayor of the town, and has from time to time held various important positions, whereby the interests of the community have been materially forwarded, notably in connection with the pushing to completion of the W.G. & B. Railway, the organization of the Northern Exhibition Society of Walkerton and the location of the Merchants’ Bank there, of which he was chosen the first manager.
It is no exaggeration to say that Colonel Sproat’s acts, both public and private, have met with a degree of commendation at the hands of his fellow citizens of which any man might feel justly proud; and as for the personal regard in which he is held, no man in the county stand higher in the esteem of all classes of citizens, without regard to party or creed."
Belden 1880 Atlas of the County of Bruce