Sir Allan Napier MacNab (1798-1862)
The name of Sir Allan Napier MacNab has been indelibly associated with the history and development of Hamilton. When he was 14, he fought alongside his father in defence of York and was promoted to the rank of ensign in the British army.
After being admitted to the Bar in 1826, he moved with his family to Hamilton and engaged in land speculation, promoting various Hamilton-based business ventures. He was elected to represent Wentworth County in the Upper Canadian Assembly. Always a dedicated Tory, he was a bitter opponent of William Lyon Mackenzie, and for MacNab his loyalty to Britain increasingly became the touchstone for party politics and he helped to form a newspaper, The Western Mercury, to promote these views.
During the Rebellion of 1837, MacNab was quick to come to the aid of the government and he mobilized the men of Gore, and travelled by steamer to Toronto in an abortive attempt to capture Mackenzie. He failed this attempt and in 1858 was ousted from the leadership, content to play the role of elder statesman.