The Untold Story

Irish History
by Province

New Brunswick


Nova Scotia




Timothy Warren Anglin: Irish Pioneer in New Brunswick

When I first learned the history of New Brunswick and Canada as an elementary and middle school student, the text we used "The New Brunswick Story" carried not one word of the story of Timorthy Warren Anglin, the Irish man who was a prominent figure in the development of the province and of the country! Anglin, in fact, was the first Irish Catholic to be elected to the New Brunswick Legislatuve Assembly, a not inconsiderable achievment in a province said by some historians to have been "created for the Loyalists".

Timothy Warren Anglin was born in 1822 the town of Clonakilty in County Cork. In his book, The Catholic Irish in New Brunsnick ,Father Leo Hynes describes him as "the son of a relatively wealthy owner of a large home and property, including 86 cottages". This enable the toung Timothy to obtain a good classical education and although he had every intention to become a lawyer, the intervention of the famine required him to return to teaching in his home town. Arriving in Saint John in 1849, he quickly realized the Irish Catholics there were in desparate need of a leader.

Writes Father Hynes:

"The arriving Irish had little to be thankful for. They found themselves in a strange country, many hungry sick and unemployed and surrounded by mainly unfriendly inhabitants, Moreover, they were unrepresented in the Executive Council, in the House of Assembly, in the Common Council of the city itself, and with no influence in the managerial and police departments.
Anglin quickly sensed the situation and knew that a leader was needed to unite the Irish and make their voice heard and their weight felt. He knew also, that, being a staunch Irish Catholic, well educated and of a socioeconomic background making him acceptable to those in authority, leadership could come from him for this almost isolated portion of the Irish community.
To achieve this, he immediately founded the New Freeman which would be his voice and to some extent, that of the Irish of Saint John and New Brusnwick, for the next 35 years.

Anglin was a reformer rather than a radical, a view he derived, it is suggsested from his education in the philosophy of Daniel O'Connell. He belived in achieving social change by democartic means and he sought to do that for Irish Catholics in New Brunswick. He bagan his political career in 1960 by seeking a position in King's Ward on the Saint John council. It was a dismal foray and he lost by a three to one margin, thanks in large part to the influence of the Smashers, a group that would later become identified with the provincial Liberal party. The Smashers distributed pamphlets urging Irish Catholics to "vote for one of their own", a tactic designed to turn Protestant opinion against Anglin.

A year later, on May 9, 1861. Anglin ran as an Independent among 11 candidates for four seats to represent the Saint John County in the New Brunswick Legislature. This time around, he managed to record the second highest number of votes and was elected, making history as the first Irish Cathlic to sit in that chamber! He once opined that the Synoptic reports of the Leigislature be printed in both English and Galeic.

Anglin would become a leading and vigorous opponent of confederation, an issue he would offer opinions on in his newspaper and in the Legislature of New Brunswick. It was a view that would unfairly hurt Anglin's illustious and pioneering political career. Froom the time of his election, Anglin disagreed with the concept of confederation of Upper Canada, Lower Canada and Quebec. It was a hot issue in the Legislature of 1864. Anglin's views were in sharp contast to those of another famous Canadian politician associated with confederation, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, whose avocacy pf confederation would lead to his assasination.

Bill Anglin of Ontario, more information on the Anglin Family is available at this site

Other Anglin References

  • William Baker's article on Irish Catholics in the 1880's.
  • The Anglin Family

  • Return to the Irish in New Brunswick

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