He was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia in 1842, the son of Donald McIsaac and Catherine McGillivray, and studied at Saint Francis Xavier College. McIsaac served as inspector of schools for Antigonish County. He articled in law with William Joseph Croke and Daniel MacDonald and was called to the bar in 1871. He practised law in Antigonish. In 1882, he married Mary Power.
McIsaac was elected to the House of Commons in an 1873 by-election held after Hugh McDonald was named to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. He resigned from his seat in 1885 to accept an appointment as judge in the county court. He died in Antigonish while still a judge at the age of 60.
- Synopsis of federal political experience from the Library of Parliament
- Johnson, J.K. (1968). The Canadian Directory of Parliament 1867-1967. Public Archives of Canada.
- The Canadian biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self-made men : Quebec and the Maritime (1881)
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