History of the County of Perth, 1825-1902
William Johnston, 1903
John Kastner was the second son of George Kastner, an old soldier in the grand army of Napoleon, whose victorious operations struck terror to every nation in Europe, and covered France with glory. He was born in Alsace, then a French province, in 1818, and came to Canada with his father's family in 1832, settling on lot 12, in the first concession of Ellice. Mr John Kastner was a great man, who, by his own industry and perseverance, raised himself from poverty to the position of an affluent leading public man. His courage and success furnished a fine illustration of that steady but sure progress made by the thrifty pioneer. During the rebellion of 1837 he was created a sergeant in the volunteer corps, and subsequently promoted to the rank of captain, which position he held for many years.
He was a fluent speaker, and on the political platform was effective and often playful with his opponent. He was strongly sympathetic, and had many qualities of which orators are made. He understood the use of English well, but never was able to pronounce it without a strong German accent, which married his influence as a speaker to some extent. He was a life-long Reformer, and of great value to that party in his manipulations of the electorate.
Mr Kastner was one of the first J.P.'s in the county, and in 1857 was elected reeve of Ellice, giving way in 1860 to Mr John Pearson. Re-elected in 1861, in 1866 he again gave way to Mr Pearson, but was once more returned in 1868. He was a man of great energy, and withal had a vast store of good common sense. As an early settler in this county, the influence he acquired amongst his neighbors was retained till his death.
Meg Fuller Perth County Coordinator
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