BAILIE MACLAY was born in 1840 at Ballikinrain, between Killearn and Fintry, in Strathendrick. His father was a wood merchant, and his forebears had lived in the strath for many generations; one of them, also a William Maclay, was witness to a deed drawn between Rob Roy and the Laird of Balglass in the first half of the eighteenth century. At the age of sixteen Mr. Maclay entered a country branch of the Western Bank, and it was the collapse of that concern which sent him to seek fortune in Glasgow. There he found employment in a merchant's office, and at the same time set himself to improve upon his education by attending evening classes, at the old Andersonian University. Presently he began a business on his own account as a corn factor, which has since become one of the largest in the city. For a number of years he was Chairman of Cathcart School Board, as well as of the Mount Florida and Langside Improvement Committee. At the establishment of County Councils he was unanimously chosen to represent his parish, and eventually became Chairman of Renfrewshire Upper District Committee; and on the annexation of Langside to Glasgow he became one of the members of Town Council for that ward. In the Council he has served the usual term as a Magistrate and a Police Judge, and he was Convener of the Electricity Committee for six years, from 1896 till 1902. While holding this office he was a member of the Machinery and Electricity Committee which superintended the most important feature of the Glasgow Exhibition of 1901.
Apart from business and Council matters, Bailie Maclay has been for many years an elder in Queen's Park East U.F. Church, and Vice-President of the Glasgow Geological Society, and he has also been Deacon of the Bakers' Incorporation of the Trades' House. He was a Member of Cathcart Parochial Board for fourteen years, during six of which he was Chairman. More recently he has been appointed a Member of the Glasgow Burgh Secondary Education Committee, a member of the important educational Marshall Trust, and a member of the new Renfrewshire Lunacy Board. As a Police Judge he can preside in all the police courts of the city, including the Marine Court; and in November, 1907, he was appointed a Representative of Glasgow Corporation on the Clyde Navigation Trust.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)