Frank Cochrane was born on November 18, 1852 in Clarenceville, Quebec. As a young man, he worked in his great-uncle's hardware store in Pembroke, Ontario before quitting to work for Dunlap and Chapman, his uncle's competition. While employed at Dunlap and Chapman, Cochrane met his future wife, Alice Dunlap, the owner's daughter. The couple married on August 16, 1882 and had three children - Wilbur, Edith, and Ogden.
Interested in the development of Northern Ontario, Frank Cochrane moved with his family to Sudbury in 1890. In 1894, Cochrane established Cochrane Hardware Company (later named Cochrane-Dunlop Hardware when he purchased the Dunlop Company of Pembroke). During this time, Frank Cochrane helped to establish the Sudbury Board of Trade and in 1895, he became the board's first president.
By 1896, Cochrane, a Conservative, was becoming involved in the political side of Sudbury life and was elected to the town council. One year later, he became Mayor of Sudbury, defeating Liberal candidate, James A. Orr. Cochrane stayed on as mayor for two years.
In January of 1905, Frank Cochrane suffered a horrible accident. While boarding a moving train, Cochrane lost his footing and was dragged along the track. The accident resulted in the amputation of his right leg. However, Cochrane was a proud and strong individual who did not let the loss of his leg stop him from pursuing his ambitions. Later in that same year, he expanded his political interests into provincial matters when he was appointed Minister of Land and Mines; a position he retained until 1911.
Throughout his early political career, Cochrane was responsible for helping to develop the north by attracting foreign investment, settling mining disputes, and encouraging the expansion of the railroad through the north. In honour of his efforts, the Ontario Government named the Town of Cochrane after this exceptional individual.
On October 10, 1911, Frank Cochrane was appointed a federal cabinet position as the Minister of Railways and Canals. He retained this position until 1917. Around this time, Cochrane was diagnosed with diabetes. Throughout 1918, Cochrane spent much of his time in and out of hospitals (insulin had not yet been discovered), while still serving in a limited capacity in the federal cabinet.
Sadly, on September 22, 1919, Frank Cochrane passed away at his home in Ottawa. He was 67 years old.
Material compiled from The Honourable Frank Cochrane and Silent Frank Cochrane: The North's First Great Politician.