Sunday, 18 September 2016

Rt Hon. Charles J. Doherty, MP PC KC -- 2

The Canadian Encyclopedia has a good overview of my 2nd cousin twice removed, Charles Joseph Doherty's political career, as does Parliament of Canada biography.

After practising law with his brothers Thomas and Marcus, Charles was appointed to the bench in Quebec's Superior Court from 1891 to 1906. He was a leader in Montreal's Irish community, involved in many associations, including the St. Patrick's Society (following in his father's footsteps) and the Shamrock Lacrosse Club.

After he was appointed to the bench in 1891, he was honoured at a farewell banquet by the Shamrock Lacrosse Club, which was reported here and at which his father, Judge Marcus Doherty spoke.

Charles ran for a seat in Quebec's legislature twice, in 1881 and again in 1886, without success. He was first elected a federal Member of Parliament for St Ann's, a riding in Griffintown, an Irish working class area just south of Montreal's downtown in 1908, and went on to a career in federal politics that concluded in 1921.

At some point after 1911, Charles sold his home on Stanley Street in Montreal, purchasing a home on Frank Street in Ottawa, where he, Kate and their daughters lived. That home still stands today, but is now an apartment building,. He stayed at the Windsor Hotel, located just north of his riding. whenever in Montreal to attend to constituency business,

322 Frank St, Ottawa
From 1911 to 1921, Charles served as justice minister in the cabinets of Prime Ministers Robert Borden and Arthur Meighen, Canada's ninth and tenth prime ministers respectively. He represented Canada at the Treaty of Versailles and later was Canada's delegate to the League of Nations from 1920 to 1922, spending much time during those years travelling between Canada, Paris and Geneva. Charles was also a lifelong strong supporter of Irish Home Rule. It was said that his support for Irish Home Rule contributed in part to his early electoral defeats in 1881 and 1886.

Canadian Jewish Chronicle
During his time in public life, newspapers across Canada carried articles about Charles J. Doherty, In December 1915, the Canadian Jewish Chronicle carried a lengthy profile, noting that "he was born under a lucky star", and highlighting his kindness shown "the Jewish people of this country".  The writer touched also on the relationship between Irish and Jewish people, excerpted at the right.

Following the 1921 defeat of the Arthur Meighen government, Charles and Kate returned to Montreal, purchasing a home at 9 Forden Ave in Westmount, where they spent their final years. I think that the original home that they lived in has been either demolished and rebuilt, or extensively renovated. Below is what that home looks like now.

9 Forden Ave, Westmount, Quebec
After his death at his Westmount home on 28 July 1931, a lengthy obituary ran the next day on page 1 of The Gazette, His funeral was also reported in the 1 Aug 1931 Ottawa Citizen.

The never ending story continues....


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