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2nd Prize Winner, 2012 QAHN Heritage Essay Contest: "George Knight Nesbitt"

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larger_2012_001.jpgGeorge was born in Napierville, in the province of Quebec, on September 29, 1836. His father was of Irish descent, and he was a farmer and a mill owner. The early days of George’s life was spent on the family farm and in his father’s mill.

As a young man George went to the United States for a while before returning to Canada in 1869, where he settled in Cowansville. In 1870, he purchased the four mill which had been built in 1839 by Andrew Cowan, the brother of Peter Cowan and William Carter, Andrew’s brother-in-law. Peter Cowan is famous for giving his name to the town of Cowansville.

larger_nesbitt.3.jpgGeorge Nesbitt became a successful businessman and he was also the owner of flour mills in Frelighsburg and Mansonville.

In 1881 George built a huge family house. It is still standing. There were several houses built in the Empire Style around that time, but his is the only house still here. Right now the house is a medical clinic right beside our school.

In 1891, with the help of his son Albert, he installed at his mill, a generator with enough power for 300 lights, creating the first electric lighting in Cowansville. In 1903, he was the first owner of an automobile in Cowansville.

larger_nesbitt.2.jpgHe was the second Mayor of Cowansville in 1877 and 1878.

He was married to Mary Jane Dunn and they had three children. He died in Cowansville in 1909.

Because of George Nesbitt, Cowansville got its first electric power and the town has a beautiful building that everyone can still look at and admire.