Biography of Patrick Whelihan

Patrick Whelihan, Registrar of the South Riding of the County of Perth, was born in the County of Tipperary, Ireland, April 23, 1832. His father, James Whelihan, a farmer and land agent, died when the son was two years old, leaving the widowed mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth D’Arcy, with a family of eleven children, of whom he was the tenth child. He was brought up on a farm until sixteen years old, receiving, meanwhile, a national school education.

In 1848 the family came to America, landing at New Orleans, La., where the mother and an older brother caught the yellow fever, dying at Cincinnati, Ohio. This was a trying period in the life of young Whelihan, The great calamity nearly exhausted his means, and he found himself, at sixteen years of age, with small means and a younger sister on his hands to educate. Afflicted, but not disheartened, he pushed forward as far northward as London, Ontario; soon afterwards returned to Ohio, made an engagement to work for an English railway firm, Chamberlain, World and Walker, and had charge of a supply store while they were building railroads in Ohio and Pennsylvania. While thus laboring, he purchased and paid for 200 acres of land near the village of Lucan, in the Huron district, Ontario, and on which his brother now resides.

In 1851 Mr. Whelihan went to Kingston, Ontario, and spent two years in acquiring a knowledge of the dry goods business; in the spring of 1853 removed to London, and spent a short year in a grocery store; settled at St. Mary’s in 1854, and was a general merchant here until October, 1871 (except two years spent at Stratford), when he was appointed registrar.

In 1867 he purchased the business of Mr. Corcoran, wholesale and retail grocer at Stratford and conducted it successfully for fifteen months, while carrying on his farming operations in the township of Blanshard, at the end of which time he resold the business back to Mr. Corcoran.

At twenty-one years of age he was appointed a justice of the peace, and that office he still holds. He is also one of the license commissioners for the South Riding of Perth; and as Canadian magistrate, is registered at Washington, D.C., to facilitate the drawing of pensions of soldiers engaged in the late civil war, and residing in Canada: Mr. Whelihan represented the south ward of the town of St. Mary’s in the municipal council for several years, and has proved a faithful worker for every public interest which has been confided to him.

He is a member of the Roman Catholic church, and has lived an unblemished life.

In June, 1855, Miss Anne Amelia Wells, of London, Ont., was joined in marriage with Mr. Whelihan, and of fourteen children, the fruit of this union, twelve are living. Charles Edward, the eldest son, has been his father’s deputy between three and four years, and has excellent business talents: two daughters have been educated at the Sacred Heart Academy London; another daughter and a son are attending the Collegiate Institute, St. Mary’s, and the younger children are in the local schools of lower grade. Mr. Whelihan is giving all his children a good mental drill, and rearing them in the ways of temperance, virtue and industry.

During the seventeen years that he was in mercantile pursuits in this town, he was also engaged in farming, and now has 130 acres in the corporation, his home not being more than five minutes’ walk from his office, his specialty being stock raising, principally cattle and sheep. On that first class farm his smaller boys are learning habits of industry, and seeking their amusement. One boy has his pony, another his poultry, a third his goats, a fourth his rabbits, and so on the several children playing among themselves, and thus being kept free from the vicious influences of the rougher class of town children. They can also enjoy boating in summer on the classic Thames river, which passes along the northern boundary of said farm.



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