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....
... Helen


"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) Religion: Catholic Note: Mrs. Henry FREEL M 17 Irish O Religion: Catholic Tesse FREEL F 15 Irish O Religion: Catholic Francis FREEL M 12 Irish O Religion: Catholic Maggie FREEL F 18 Irish O Religion: Catholic
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. helen
July 11, 2003: Hi Al, 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. Regards, Russell Friel
(See also Thomas D'Arcy McGee)
December 14, 2004: Hi Al, 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 . Regards, Russ 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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