Biography of John Powell

John Powell, Registrar of the County of Lincoln, son of John Powell, senior, for many years Registrar of the Counties of Lincoln and Haldimand, was born at Niagara Town, June 19, 1809. His father was from Norwich, England, and son of Hon. W. D. Powell, Chief Justice of Upper Canada. He received his education at the Home District Grammar School, Toronto, the Rev. Dr., afterwards Bishop Strachan, Principal, studying law in the same city with Wm. W. Baldwin and Sons; was called to the Bar in 1835. His mother, Isabella Shaw,, was a daughter of Major-General, the Hon. Aeneas Shaw, Adjutant-General under General Brock was appointed Judge of the County Court of York and Simcoe, in 1836, and while holding that office was also Mayor of the City of Toronto in 1838, 1839 and 1840.

He became connected with the Incorporated Militia at sixteen years of age; was in the rebellion of 1837-38, and was taken prisoner by the rebels. He was also in the Fenian raids, and is Major of the 19th Battalion Volunteer Militia, retired.

In 1844 Mr. Powell was appointed Registrar of the County of Lincoln, and has held that office nearly thirty-six years, being very prompt, faithful, and efficient in discharging its duties.

He seems to have kept out of politics; has secured and retained the good will as well as confidence of all parties and all classes of people, and has the warm esteem of a very large circle of acquaintances.

Mr. Powell grew up in the Church of England, and has served as Warden both at Niagara
and St. Catharines.

He was married July 1, 1830, to Ellen, daughter of Henry Drean, merchant, of Toronto, and of eight children, the fruit of this union, only two daughters are living. Ellen is the wife of John Ogilvy of Montreal, and Florence is the widow of William H. Averling, London, England. Of the six deceased children, four sons lived to grow up and start in business. Henry was a Barrister-at-law, St. Catharines; Murray was a Sub-inspector of Mounted Police, Melbourne, Australia; William was Sub-inspector of Customs, Canton, China, and John was a resident of British Columbia for several years.

A few months ago Mr. Powell finished his three score years and ten, and though never out of business, nor for forty-two years free from the responsibilities of office, yet he is in comfortable health, has a clear and active mind, and observes his office hours with almost the same punctiliousness that he did when in the mid summer of life.

John Powell, senior, was born in Norwich, England, on the 26th day of August, 1776, and was there educated. Upon his voyage to Canada the ship in which he sailed was captured by a French cruiser, and he, with others, was compelled to serve as a sailor.

This ship was captured by a British man-of-war, and all hands were required to serve. He remained with the ship until it reached the West Indies, when the yellow fever broke out, and, with many others, he was sent to the hospital. The ship sailed, leaving them to their fate. Mr. Powell recovered (almost the only one) from the fever, and after a long time succeeded in getting to Halifax, and thence to Canada. He was then, upon the division of the Provinces, made one of the Act of Parliament lawyers, his name appearing second on the list published by Fothergill, in 1825, fol. iii. He was captain of the first Lincoln Artillery Company in 1812, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Niagara, and released or exchanged while confined in old Fort Niagara.

He was appointed Clerk of the Legislative Council, U. C.; Registrar of the Counties of Lincoln and Haldimand; and, for the hardships he underwent in the French and British service, was appointed Naval Officer or Port Admiral, by the British Admiralty, of the then port of Niagara, which position he held until his death. One of his sisters (Anne) was drowned in the ship “Albion” off the coast of Ireland, in 1820; his younger brother was engaged in the expedition under Mirenda against Spain; was captured and confined for life in the Castle of Caloa, but through the exertions of his father at the Court of Spain and before the Prince of Peace, the then Prime Minister, he was released; came in a British man-of-war to Halifax and then to York. Being of an adventurous disposition he left there and engaged as supercargo on a vessel trading to the West Indies, and was never more heard of.

The subject of this sketch has all the correspondence with the Court of Spain in his possession.



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