Born in 1796, Carfrae came to York (Toronto), from Scotland, with his parents and sisters in 1805. The family established a dry goods store. Carfrae went into business with his father at an early age. He rose to civic prominence as one of the founders of the York General Burying Ground – Potter’s Field. He helped to establish the York Mechanic’s Institute, the forerunner of the Toronto Public Library. After retiring from business, Carfrae was elected an Alderman for St. George’s Riding, in the City of Toronto, for two years running. He later served as Collector of Customs for York Harbour, responsible for smuggling and deserters. In 1837, Carfrae supported Mackenzie’s rebellion. He participated as an Artillery Major in the attack on Montgomery’s Tavern — he was injured in the attack. Evidently forgiven his part in the Rebellion, at some point after that Carfrae was appointed magistrate. He died in Toronto on June 1, 1844.