A Famine Victim's Journal

Irish Pres

The Anglin Family

Bill Anglin of Ontario has kindly provided me with the following information on the Anglin family and Timothy Warren Anglin. Mr. Anglin wrote a book entitled Anglins from Ireland to Canada. The book was published in 1995 and had a limited publication made available to descendents of the Irish Anglins.

The history of the Anglin family of County Cork, Ireland, has been reliably traced by family members to 1775, the year of the birth of Robert Anglin who married Sarah Whelpley (also spelled Welpley in some of the family literature) in 1800. Many of the far flung descendents in Canada and Australia of Robert and his three siblings, Samuel, Hester and James have made the trip to Ireland doing family research but there has been no success in confidently tracing ancestry beyond this family.

There are some records1 which would suggest that the Anglins in Ireland may have arrived originally from France. The earliest record found is a description of a St. Anglin, an abbot of Stavelot, France (now in south eastern Belgium, near the border with Germany). A few paragraphs of information are available indicating that St. Anglin reigned for 44 years as abbot prior to his death in 746.

Word-of-mouth history suggests that the Anglins of Ireland descended from Huguenots who escaped from Paris and elsewhere in France to Southern Ireland after the massacre of St. Bartholemew in 1572, when thousands of them were imprisoned, tortured, used as slaves or murdered. After the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685 Huguenots were deprived of their last vestiges of civil and religious freedoms.

Some Huguenots went to the Channel Islands before moving on to Ireland. They were courageous and skilled craftsmen - - shoemakers and blacksmiths, as well as teachers, textile workers and farmers. Many Irish Protestants, especially the non-Anglicans, are descended from these Huguenots and it is almost certain that this is the origin of the Irish Anglins, although no documented proof appears to exist.

Currently in Canada there is a branch of the Anglin family, with ancestors from the Maritimes who were originally from Ireland, which is Roman Catholic. No concrete tie has been established between this branch and the protestant Anglins whose descendents are in Ontario and Australia but there is little doubt that, at some point in their past, there were common ancestors for the two groups. To date, efforts to track down this connection have frustrated all those who have tried.

A long letter, outlines the extensive efforts made by Chief Justice Anglin and his daughter during the summer of 1961 to trace the family's roots back beyond Robert (1), born in 1775, and his wife Sarah Whelpley, whom he married in 1800.

The following quotes from the Chief Justice's letter will serve to outline the difficulties encountered in trying to trace the family back beyond the parents of the five who came to Canada in the mid-nineteenth century. ³

It is very difficult making such a search now in Ireland for most old records deposited in Dublin were burned during the 'trouble' of 1920 to 1922. On such evidence as we did find Š I would doubt that any Anglin ever lived in Bandon, but I cannot prove that he did not. Š it is interesting that the Roman Catholic Anglins in Canada stem from the Honourable Timothy Warren Anglin who came to Canada in 1849 from Clonakilty on the coast 14 miles southwest from Bandon. His son, the Honourable Francis A. Anglin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, once stated to my father quite emphatically that 'there was no relationship whatever between us'. I doubt this for the family resemblances I could cite are very definite. Š the Genealogical Office in Dublin Castle did an extensive search for me and found indexed marriage license bonds and wills for Anglins back to 1681 for County Cork, but the documents themselves were burned at the time of the 'trouble' so no relationship to Robert can be traced.²

Within the Roman Catholic branch, [whose members are not included in this alphabetic listing and family tree], were the Honorable Timothy Warren Anglin (1822-1896) of Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland, who, in 1853 married Margaret Ryan and then, following her death, married Ellen MacTavish in 1862. The opening chapter of the book, ³Margaret Anglin, A Stage Life²3 indicates the following:

³Timothy Warren Anglin was born 31 August 1822 in County Cork, Ireland, the son of Francis Anglin, a substantial landlord in the village of Clonakilty, and an officer in the civil service of the East India Company. His paternal grandfather, Jeremiah Anglin, a contractor, was the builder of a substantial part of that village and owner of a housing estate called ŒMyrtle Grove,ı which he bequeathed to his heirs. Š

³Š By 1849 the famine of four yearsı continuance had rendered Ireland a virtual wasteland, and so, after granting freehold status to all of his tenants, on Easter Monday of that year Anglin embarked for Canada.

³His quick establishment of himself as a solid citizen in the country of his adoption, in spite of the social handicaps of his race and religion, is a tribute to his strength of will and spirit. Three months after settling in Saint John, N.B. he became editor (and subsequently owner) of the newspaper the Saint John Freeman. Twelve years after his arrival he was elected to the parliament of the crown colony of New Brunswick. He served in the government for five years, was elevated to ministerial rank, led the anti-Confederation faction, and was (in 1866) defeated on that issue. A year later, however, having accepted the fact of Confederation, he was elected to the federal parliament of Canada, in which he served for fifteen years (1867-82) and was for four years (1875-78) Speaker of the House. Upon the loss of his seat in parliament in July of 1882 he returned to the newspaper business in Toronto as editor of the Tribune and editorial writer for the Globe.²

An article in The Globe and Mail4 gives an additional perspective to his time in the House of Commons:

³Mr Anglin, a fiery newspaper editor, served as speaker from 1874 to 1878 after his nomination by Liberal prime minister Alexander Mackenzie.

³The nomination shocked Sir John A. Macdonald, then opposition leader, because Mr Anglin refused to resign as editor of his highly partisan paper, The Freeman. As speaker, Mr Anglin argued with members or used his rulings on points of order to enter debate on controversial issues.

³His partisanship made him unpopular, but a patronage scandal was his ultimate undoing. Governments of the day funneled Post Office printing contracts to newspapers that supported their parties, and during 1874-75 The Freeman received $18,000 worth of the largesse.

³A Commons committee ruled that the privileges of the House had been violated. It forced Mr Anglin to resign the office and his seat, which he regained in a subsequent by-election.

³He continued to berate Opposition members in his editorials until his speakership and parliamentary career ended with the Conservative victory in 1878.²

An entry in The Catholic Encyclopedia5 of 1913 chronicles his background and newspapaer and political contributions.

³Timothy Warren Anglin: Canadian journalist and member of Parliament, born in the town of Cloankilty (sic) County Cork, Ireland, 1822; died 3 May, 1896 in Canada. He was educated in the endowed school of his native corporation. His family was financially ruined in the famine of 1846-47 and he emigrated to the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1849. He was gifted as a public speaker, but made his mark as the most vigorous writer on the Catholic press in the province. He founded the Weekly Freeman and subsequently the Morning Freeman (1851). On the question of the total prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcoholic liquors, although a strong advocate of temperance, he separated himself from his political friends and fought the measure which he considered too drastic and unworkable. The measure was carried by the legislature of New Brunswick, but was repealed at its next session. In 1860 Mr. Anglin was returned as representative of the city and county of Saint John, a constituency from which no Catholic had ever been elected. When the scheme of confederation of the British North American provinces was mooted, he took a prominent part in the opposition, because he did not believe, as was asserted, that the proposed union of the provinces was necessary for the continuance of their connection with the empire, and because he was convinced it must cause an enormous increase in the rate of taxation in New Brunswick. Just at this time a small body of men calling themselves Fenians appeared on the border of the province and threatened an invasion. Dr. D. B. Killam, their leader, issued a proclamation inviting the anti-confederates to join with them, overthrow British tyranny, and maintain the legislative independence of the province. The anti-confederates were in no way responsible for Dr. Killamıs invasion or proclamation, which had the effect, however, of raising a no-popery cry, and of driving Mr. Anglin from public life for a few years. When Canadian confederation became an accomplished fact, Mr. Anglin was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, a position he held from 26 May, 1874, until 31 May, 1877. No one lent more dignity to the high position of first commoner of Canada and his rulings were never questioned, so strict his impartiality.

Mr. Anglin was a Canadian statesman of eminence, but he deserves a place in history more particularly as an able, fearless and indefatigable journalist, doing battle for the cause of Catholic education. In New Brunswick the issue of the greatest importance was the anti-separate school legislation. During many years Mr. Anglin, through the columns of the Freeman and on the floor of the House of Commons, fought a valiant battle for his co-religionists. His efforts, and the exertion of those who laboured with him were so far successful that in the greater part of the province a compromise was made, which allows Catholics to have their own schools and teachers, and to give religious instruction before and after school hours. This was far from being all he would wish, but it is much better than the utterly anti-catholic, irreligious system at first insisted upon by the promoters of the law. Mr. Anglin joined the editorial staff of The Toronto Globe in 1883, and was editor-in-chief of The Toronto Tribune, a Catholic weekly. He died at the age of seventy-four.²

His portrait is hanging in the parliament buildings in Ottawa. In 1883 he became editor of the Tribune in Toronto, where he died on May 3, 1896.

His son, the Honorable Francis Alexander Anglin (1865-1933), was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1924 to 1933.

His daughter was Margaret Anglin (1876-1958), the actress, famous in both North America and Australia. She was born in the residence of the Speaker of the House of Commons, the only child ever born there. Margaret married Howard Hull during the time she was studying at the Empire Dramatic School in New York City.

The opening chapter of LeVayıs book6 continues,

³Mary Margaret was the seventh of Timothy and Ellenıs ten children, and one may say a lucky seventh, though her name reprised the first names of her two earlier-born sisters who had died in infancy. Margaret, indeed, was to be blessed not only with prevailing good fortune but with extraordinary physical hardihood. She was always the liveliest of the Anglin children and seems to have been a born actor -- a fact that she imagined was mystically perceived by Oscar Wilde. Wilde was a guest of her fatherıs in Ottawa in May 1882 when Mary Margaret was just past her sixth birthday, and forty years later she could still remember Œclearlyı being Œheld playfully up in the air by Oscar Wilde at a garden partyı and that ŒOscar wore a happy smile and a brilliant sunflower in his buttonhole.ı²

The Globe and Mail, in a six-column tribute to her in 19717 written by Herbert Whittaker, said, in part:

³Margaret Anglin came of fighting stock. Her father, Timothy Warren Anglin, was a speaker in the House of Commons. She studied at Loretto Abbey in Toronto and Sacred Heart in Montreal, and took elocution lessons here. Her golden voice and superb diction won her attention when she went to New York at 17, and her first role from Charles Frohman, at the Empire Theatre in Shenandoah in 1894. Her very last tour was as the dowager in Lillian Hellmanıs Watch on the Rhine and she was warmly greeted by Toronto audiences at the Royal Alexandra. Among them was her brother, Francis, by then Chief Justice of Canada.²

A letter8 from Mr Justice W.A.I. Anglin (1541) of St John, New Brunswick asks the Chief Herald in Dublin to research the Anglin family ancestors. The Chief Justice provided background information which, though lengthy, is worth quoting here.

³There are now in Canada three groups of Anglins who stem from three ancestors in Eire. It has been considered that these groups are related, but no one has ever established the connection, if any, between those three ancestors Š .

³FRANCIS H. ANGLIN, 1736-1793, of Clona-Kilty, County Cork. His descendants in Canada are Roman Catholics. His grandson, Timothy Warren Anglin, came to Canada in 1848 and was Speaker of the House of Commons at Ottawa from 1874 to 1878. The latter's son, Francis Alexander Anglin, 1865-1933, was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada at the time of his death and once remarked to an uncle of mine that originally the Anglins of County Cork were all of the Roman Catholic faith and that the Protestant Anglins came from one who married a Protestant and changed his faith. On the other hand, I can recall my father telling me as a boy that a relative in Eire had written him that he had ascertained that the Protestant Anglins were Huguenots who fled from Paris in 1572 at the time of the massacre of St. Bartholomew. I know that there was a General Anglin commanding the French Army at the Battle of Verdun in World War I. Some of my relatives claim that there are tombstones in County Cork with O'Hanglin on them. The following two ancestors of the remaining groups and their descendants are Protestants.

³ROBERT ANGLIN, born in 1775 at Bandon, County Cork, married Sarah Whelpley. Š

³WILLIAM ANGLIN, probably of Cork City, married Elizabeth Duke. She was born in 1808. Š ²

The Family Tree, which is Section 2 of this book, shows William Anglin (23), referred to in the above letter, as a nephew of Robert (1), who was born in 1775. The connection between this family and that of the Roman Catholic descendents of Francis H. Anglin has still not been established. Both branches of the family have descendents in Canada and continued efforts are being made to establish a relationship.


  1. Biographie Nationale Vol Q. Published by the Academy of Royal Sciences, Literature, and Fine Art of Belgium. Bruxelles, H. Thiry - van Buggenhoudt, Printer, edition 1866. HH.BC B615. U. of T. library.
  2. A copy, dated July 26, 1963, from Mr. Justice W. A. I. Anglin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, to Harold Anglin 12771, is in the possession of Bill Anglin.
  3. pps 19-20, Margaret Anglin, A Stage Life, John LeVay, Toronto, Simon & Pierre, 1989.
  4. The Globe and Mail, Sept 29, 1986.
  5. The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version, 1997 by New Advent, Inc.
  6. pp 20, Margaret Anglin, A Stage Life, John LeVay, Toronto, Simon & Pierre, 1989.
  7. The Globe and Mail, July 31, 1971.
  8. A copy, dated May 29, 1961 from Mr. Justice W. A. I. Anglin 1541, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, to the Chief Herald of the Genealogical Office in Dublin, Eire, is in the possession of Bill Anglin 123323.