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Born in Richmond, Upper Canada and educated in Lennoxville, Canada East, he was the son of the Reverend Robert Short and Margaret Lyon, the grandson of John Quirk Short and the great-grandson of Robert Quirk Short. In 1858, Short married Mary Charlotte Boyle. He served as mayor of Gaspé for 14 years and also served as warden for Gaspé County. Short also served as chairman of the school board and sheriff for Gaspé district. He was elected to the House of Commons in an 1875 by-election held after Louis George Harper was unseated.
His uncle Edward Short was a judge in the Quebec Superior Court and served in the legislative assembly for the Province of Canada.
- John Short – Parliament of Canada biography
- The Canadian parliamentary companion and annual register, 1878 CH Mackintosh
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