Henry James FRIEL
Mayor of Bytown 1854
Mayor of Ottawa 1863, 1868-69
December 4, 2002:
Hello, I have been trying to look up info on my great grandfather, Henry J. Friel,
who was mayor of Ottawa and of Bytown...your site has been most helpful....
"And Charles Friel, an early man
With Bytown's history began,
A man of ready tongue and wit,
A politician who could hit
And sway with eloquence the throng,
Which shouts alike for right or wrong.
Father of Henry James, who died,
Just as his eye of hope descried
The goal he laboured to attain -
The honours he had fought to gain.
'Tis no uncommon thing to find
A little man with full grown mind,
And 'mongst those who have gone to rest
Who of their chances made the best
In life's o'er changing reel
I freely rank Henry J. Friel."
Source: Lett's Bytown, page 28
Daniel O'Connor, from Clonmel, Tipperary arrived in Bytown in 1827 with his wife
Margaret Power. Their daughter Mary Ann (later married Henry Friel) was the first
white female baby born in Bytown. O'Connor Street in Ottawa is named after him.
Sparks Street, named after Nicholas Sparks, and O'Connor Street, intersect at right angles,
in the form of a cross. This symbolizes the (hoped for) peace between Bytown's Orange
and Green factions.
1881 Census Place: Gloucester, Russell, Ontario, Canada
Source: FHL Film 1375865 NAC C-13229 Dist 104 SubDist E Div 4 Page 65 Family 268
Sex Marr Age Origin Birthplace
Mary FREEL F Widow 54 Irish Ontario (nee Mary Ann O'Connor)
Henry FREEL M 17 Irish O
Tesse FREEL F 15 Irish O
Francis FREEL M 12 Irish O
Maggie FREEL F 18 Irish O
December 6, 2002:
Hello Al...THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this information.
I have shared it with family members...my brother Ray was also involved in
politics at the municipal level, and like his great-grandfather, died at an early age, before
he could achieve higher goals....the Ray Friel Recreation Complex is named after him.
July 11, 2003:
Mayor Henry Friel founded a newspaper called The Bytowne Packet which he sold , was
re-named and then eventually sold again , this time to the Southam family who
turned it into the Citizen.
Is the material from Notre Dame cathedral available at the Ottawa archives
? I think either Helen or myself would love to do some research . I am not
sure but I think the Friels came from New York and made their way to Ottawa around 1830.
(See also Thomas D'Arcy McGee)
December 14, 2004:
Hope all is well. I found some neat info on Mayor Friel from Library and
Archives Canada ~ ROSS, MICHAEL S. Professor of history, Dalhousie
University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Also stuff on Peter Aylen. Stewart Derbishire. Charles Duncombe. Henry James
Friel. Nicholas Sparks.
I also found a copy of the sermon from Mayor Friel's funeral at the National
Archives, will share it with you once we get a look at it .
The following is an excerpt from the National Archives "Dictionary of Canadian
Biography Online" at http://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBio.asp?BioId=38560&query=friel
(or click here to read the entire article)
FRIEL, HENRY JAMES, journalist, politician, and public servant; b. 1823 at
Montreal, son of Charles Friel; d. 16 May 1869 at Ottawa, Ont.
Henry James Friel was born of Irish Catholic parents. In 1827 the
family moved to Bytown (Ottawa), Upper Canada, where Charles Friel operated
a general store. Orphaned in the 1830s, Henry Friel apprenticed to Alexander
James Christie*, proprietor of the Bytown Gazette. Friel proved to have all
of the qualities necessary for a 19th century journalist: he was intensely
political, he had an instinct for controversy, and he wrote well. His
literary career began in 1845-46, when he contributed four articles on the
Ottawa valley to the Montreal magazine, the Literary Garland. They confirm
the judgement of the contemporary critic, Henry James Morgan*, that Friel
was "a terse and vigorous writer of undoubted ability."
In October 1846 Friel and John George Bell purchased the Bytown
Packet. It was a noisy, controversial paper which, under Friel's direction,
made surprising impact for the Reform party in a traditionally Tory
community. Friel strengthened his voice in 1848 by marrying into one of
Bytown's leading families. His wife was Mary Anne, daughter of prominent
merchant Daniel O'Connor. The Friels would have a number of children, but
only three lived beyond infancy. Friel also began a busy career of social
service: he was a founding member of the Bytown Mechanics' Institute
(serving several times as its president) and was active in the affairs of St
Joseph's Roman Catholic parish and in the Catholic charity, the St Vincent
de Paul Society. During the 1860s he was a member of the council of the
Ottawa Board of Trade and a director of the Ottawa Gas Company.
E-mail Helen, Russell and Al
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