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  • George Lynch-Staunton

George Lynch-Staunton

  • April 04, 2023 3:42 PM
    Message # 13156752

    September 9, 1858 

    March 19, 1940

    Call Year:

    Distinguished as:

    President of Hamilton Law Association (1939-1940)
    Chairman of the Transcontinental Railway Investigation Commission (1911-1913)
    Senator (Appointed 1917 to his death in 1940)


    “George Lynch-Staunton was born in Southampton, a small Bruce county town on the shores of Lake Huron. He was the son of Francis Hardwick Lynch-Staunton and Victoria Corbett. His father, a civil engineer and land surveyor, was descended from prominent Irish ancestry. The family moved from Southampton to Dundas in the early 1860s. Lynch-Staunton received his early education at Dundas Grammar School. He then studied at St Mary’s Jesuit College, Montreal and Upper Canada College, Toronto. He studied law at Osgoode Hall, articling for two-and-a-half years with Mr. Justice Robertson. He completed his studies with another two-and-a-half years under Britton Bath Osler. He was called to the bar in 1882, at the age of twenty four. He passed at the head of his class, receiving the silver medal.

    In 1883 Lynch-Staunton began to practise law in Hamilton. He formed a partnership with Arthur O’Heir, creating the firm of Staunton, O’Heir, Morrison. He quickly gained a reputation as a brilliant trial lawyer. Specializing in accident and workmen’s compensation cases, his ‘mastery of repartee and witty invective’ were famous in the courts of Ontario. He was described as ‘a veritable whirlwind of a barrister’ whose ‘searching and merciless cross-examination would win for his clients a case which a less determined counsel might have given up for lost.’ His effectiveness as a barrister was enhanced by his appearance: he was described as a tall, thin, imposing man, who ‘towered over the jury and woke them up.’ He has a strong voice and was an ‘excellent platform speaker.’

    Lynch-Staunton was involved in several important cases in Ontario. These included the famous ‘Scrap Iron’ case, which arose out of litigation involving the Bell Telephone Co.; the London Elections case; the Kinrade murder investigation; the School Book investigation and the Public Waters case. Lynch-Staunton held directorships in several manufacturing concerns. From 1911-13 he served as chairman of the Transcontinental Railway investigation committee.

    In 1909, Lynch-Staunton purchased three acres of land on the mountain brow, at the corner of Bull’s Lane and James Street. On this land he built his principal Hamilton residence, a large house which included a huge marble mantel imported directly from Italy. He named the house ‘Clydagh,’ after the family estate in Ireland. Lynch-Staunton eventually inherited the Irish estate, and he and his wife spent their summers there for twelve years, from 1926-38. The Hamilton house eventually became the home of the Order of the Precious Blood, a community of cloister nuns. It opened for this purpose on 2 June 1946. It is presently owned by the Unity Church.

    Lynch-Staunton was a devout Roman Catholic and a lifelong member of St Patrick’s Church. He was also a grand trustee of the Catholic Mutual Benevolent Association. When his son, Geoffrey, was killed in action in Mesopotamia during the First World War, Lynch-Staunton donated a marble altar to the church, which was dedicated to the memory of his son. Geoffrey had joined the Canadian Remounts under Colonel William Hendrie at the beginning of the war. He died in action on 5 March 1917. He was twenty years old. The memorial plaque, which accompanied the altar, was unveiled at a service at St Patrick’s on 3 December 1922, and dedicated by the Right Reverend Bishop M.F. Fallon, DD of London, Ontario.

    In politics, Lynch-Staunton was an ardent Conservative. He was a loyal supporter of both the federal and provincial arms of the Conservative party. He was considered one of the most astute political minds of the party and his advice was often sought where the welfare of the party was concerned. He was an expert on Canadian political history, and ‘from the time he was eighteen years of age, there was not an election in which he did not take an active part.’ He was offered the Conservative nomination for Hamilton West in several federal and provincial elections, but declined these offers, ‘preferring instead to assist the other fellow’ in election campaigns. He was a close associate of, and advisor to, Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden. The two men were good friends, and often golfed and fished together at the Echo Beach Fishing Club in Blanche, Quebec.

    Lynch-Staunton’s support for the Conservative party was motivated in part by his belief in the ‘ideals of conservatism, which he held unflinchingly and often vehemently throughout the sixty years of his public life.’ He believed that Canadians were ‘ridiculously over-governed,’ stating on one occasion, ‘The government has interested itself in everything at the people’s expense. Their parasites swarm everywhere.’

    Lynch-Staunton’s many years of loyal service to the Conservative party were rewarded when, on 22 January 1917 he was appointed to the Senate by Sir Robert Borden. He was sworn in as a Senator the following day.

    During the years of the First World War, Lynch-Staunton served as a member of the recruiting league, and as a member of the Soldier’s Aid Commission, ‘in whose work he took an active interest.’

    Lynch-Staunton was an avid sportsman, taking an active interest in hunting and fishing. He enjoyed trout fishing in Quebec and duck hunting at the Big Point Club on the shores of Lake St Clair. He also enjoyed hunting big game. In 1925, he went on an expedition to Africa. He travelled extensively, but ‘found no place the equal of his native land.’ He was a member of the Hamilton, the Hamilton Golf and Country, the Canadian, and the Tamahaac Clubs (of which he was president). He served on the Hamilton Library Board, and was chairman for two years, from 1893-85.”

    Source: Lynch-Staunton, George, Dictionary of Hamilton Biography: 1925-1939 pp. 120 - 121

    Last modified: April 19, 2023 3:42 PM | Anonymous

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