James Grant Allison Miller Schiller was born in Cooksville on September 28, 1890, the son of David Oscar Schiller, a merchant in Cooksville, and his wife, Letitia Madden. David and Letitia had another son, Thomas David Adams Schiller, who would eventually take over the running of the store, a flour and seed business at the corner of Dundas and Cook Streets, after his father’s death in 1914.
David Oscar Schiller was the son of David Schiller and his wife, Lucinda Nesbitt, and the grandson of Johann Schiller. Johann Schiller, who came to Cooksville in 1806, was granted land at Lot 17 Concession 1 north of Dundas Street. The stories about him claim that he grew grapes and made wine, but this has been discounted by various historians, including Richard A. Jarrell, who, in an article, “Clair House, Cooksville, and the Beginnings of the Ontario Wine Industry” on the website of Heritage Mississauga, states that the Cooksville wine industry began with Clair House Winery which was founded by Justin De Courtenay with the assistance of Sir Melville Parker. Since Clair House was located at Lot 17 it seems that this may have led to the connection to Schiller who was essentially a shoemaker. He may have grown grapes but there is no documentary evidence that he made wine.
James Grant Schiller was called to the bar at Osgoode Hall in 1915. He was living with his mother, Letitia, in Cooksville when he joined the 126th Peel Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a lieutenant on January 25, 1916. He had previously served in the 36th Peel Regiment of the Militia. James served in England with the 109th and 124th Battalions and the 12th Reserve Battalion of the CEF. The Streetsville Review of 11th April, 1918 reported that he had been transferred from the 126th Peel Battalion to the 124th Pals Battalion, and that he recently had been appointed Solicitor to the Provincial Secretary’s Department, Parliament Buildings, Toronto. He was struck off strength on May 15, 1918 as medically unfit and retired retaining rank on March 1, 1921.
James Grant Schiller was married on June 28, 1922 to Kathleen Smith in St. Catharines where he set up practice as a barrister-at-law. He died on September 19, 1947 and is buried in Victoria Lawn Cemetery, St. Catharines, Ontario.