Some of the Orangemen in the 74th Battalion, C.E.F.- 1915

John Shaw

John Shaw was born in Toronto in 1837. He attended Upper Canada College, and Victoria College and apprenticed in the law firm of Patterson and Harris. He was called to the bar in 1870 and soon established his own practice. He lived in the village of Yorkville on Bloor Street West and when Yorkville was annexed by Toronto in 1883 he was elected to represent the village [St Paul's Ward] on city council.

He represented St Paul's until 1891 when the electoral boundaries were changed but continued to sit in city council until 1895 as the alderman for Ward 3. Shaw, who was a member of McKinley L.O.L. 275, ran for mayor in 1896 but was defeated by R.J. Fleming. In 1897, while he sat in council as alderman for Ward 3, he was elected Mayor of Toronto by city council to replace Fleming, who had resigned to become the city assessment commissioner.

He was re-elected in 1898 and 1899, both times defeating E.A. Macdonald. The most important event of Shaw's term of office was the completion of the city hall on Queen Street, which was designed by fellow Orangeman E.J. Lennox. In September of 1899 the official opening took place. Shaw presided over the establishment of the Toronto and Hudson's Bay Railway Commission, which was to study the feasability of building a railway from Toronto to Hudson's Bay.

Shaw left politics following his 1899 term as mayor but returned to council in 1904 and 1905 as a member of the board of control. In 1908, he was elected to the provincial legislature as the member for Toronto North and in 1911 he retired from politics for good. Shaw died in Toronto on November 7, 1917.

Warring Kennedy

Warring Kennedy was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1827. He attended grammar school in Londonderry before becoming an apprentice in the dry goods business in Kilrea, later moving to Belfast. Kennedy emigrated to Toronto in 1857 where he went to work for J. Macdonald and Company, where he worked his way up the corporate ladder very quickly. In 1869 he entered into a partnership in a new wholesale business which was called Samson, Kennedy and Gemmel. This business was an immediate success and made Kennedy a very wealthy man.

Kennedy was involved with many associations within the city: member of the Toronto Board of Trade, President of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society, Treasurer of the Upper Canada Bible Society, and President of the Commercial Travellers Association. He was a member of Temperance L.O.L. 301 in Toronto and as secretary of the Toronto Methodist Conference he was a delegate to the Ecumenical Council in Washington, D.C. in 1890. Before he was nominated for mayor in 1894, Kennedy had held only one publicly elected office, alderman for St John's Ward in 1871. He had ran for mayor against Angus Morrison in 1877 but had been defeated. In 1894 he was the personal choice of a Toronto political giant and fellow Orangeman, E.F. Clarke. In the election Kennedy easily defeated Fleming to take the mayor's chair. In 1895 he stood for re-election against Fleming and this time he defeated Fleming by the narrow margin of just fourteen votes.

The year 1895 was to be a disastrous one for Kennedy. There was a severe economic recession and his company was forced into receivership, with all of its stock being bought by the T. Eaton Company. Virtually bankrupt, Kennedy retired from public life following the collapse of his business. He died in June, 1904 and the City Council noted that he had been one of the foremost and progressive businessmen of the City.

Ogle Gowan....charges laid

In 1839 Ogle Gowan, the father of Canadian Orangeism, had been charged with misconduct and of never having been a member of the Orange Order in Ireland by George Nichols. The Canadian Grand Lodge had listened to the charges and the result was that they expelled Nichols. Nichols felt that the whole affair had been whitewashed by a Grand Lodge headed by the very man against whom he was laying charges and as a result of this he laid before the Grand Lodge several documents to prove his innocence. The following letter was sent to a soldier serving in a Military Orange Lodge in Canada, James Anderson of the 66th Regiment, Quebec, or elsewhere, North America.

118 Grafton Street,

22nd Dec., 1829


I am only this day favoured with your letter bearing the date 27th August, and lose not a moment in replying to you. You are now doubtless aware of the heavy calamities which has been inflicted on the Protestants of this Kingdom. The subject is one on which no Orangeman can speak without giving vent to feelings, which must, for the present, be suppressed; but I can assure you that the spirit and energies of the Grand Lodge have increased proportion to the difficulties and dangers wherewith they are encompassed, and that, at no time since the commencement of the Orange Institution, were its members as numerous, or as well united, as at this moment. It is impossible to issue duplicates - but as there are some dormant numbers, we shall be happy to meet the wishes of our trans-Atlantic Brethren, and I have therefore to request you will transmit to me, without loss of time, the names of such individuals that can be confided in, as fit and proper persons to hold Warrants, and immediately on receipt of your answer, the Warrants, Rules, &c., shall be sent P-paid, to any individual in Quebec, that you may name.

It would be advisable that the Brethren resident in North America, to elect some respectable persons, as the heads of the Society, there with whom we could correspond. New Warrants are one Guinea each. Renewals five shillings; but in any instance where the Brethren are poor, no charge shall be made. The dues vary according to the rank and income -- our Brethren here now give six pence each annually, and you can remit them to any person in Dublin, desiring them to pay it to us. I cannot conclude without cautioning the Brethren against a man by the name of OGLE R. GOWAN, who has recently emigrated, he is not a member of the Society, and should not be associated with by any Orangeman. I will send some papers about him in a parcel.

Faithfully your Brother,


Gowan defended himself against these charges at the 1855 Grand Lodge sessions. One of the members present whom Gowan called upon as a witness was Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Newsom J.P., the master of L.O.L. 225 of Kitley, Ontario. Newsom gave the following testimony:

"I am a native of Ballinattan, within a few miles of the residence of Mr. Gowan, in Ireland; I was a member of the same Orange Lodge with Mr. Gowan, and I left Ireland for America several years after he did. I never knew and never heard that he was an expelled or degraded Orangeman in Ireland; on the contrary, I knew him to stand in the highest estimation at home. If any such charges as those promulgated against his character in Canada, by one Nicholls, and others, were true, I must have known of them, or heard of them - and I declare on my solemn Royal Arch Obligation, that I believe them to be utterly false and untrue.