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Charles William Reid Bowlby

  • April 04, 2023 4:01 PM
    Message # 13156788

    December 13, 1892– April 8, 1952

    Call Year:


    Distinguished as:

    First member of the Hamilton Bar appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal
    First President of the Hamilton Lawyers' Club


    Charles William Reid Bowlby was the son of the Reverend Charles L. Bowlby and Anna Jones Cross. His father was a Methodist minister which resulted in family moves between parsonages and the son’s subsequent education in various publish schools of Ontario. He graduated from Dundas High School and entered the offices of Nesbitt, Gauld and Langs to read law and, also attended Osgoode Hall. He, however, enlisted for duty in the 26th University Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery on 31 March 1915 and went overseas. There he saw action on the front at Ypres and in the Somme offensive.

    Bowlby was called to the bar in 1919. After graduation Bowlby was appointed Assistant Crown Attorney of Hamilton and the County of Wentworth from 1 November 1919, until 7 March 1921, when his superior, S.F. Washington K.C., resigned as crown attorney and formed the firm of Washington, Martin and Bowlby. While the practice was a general one, Bowlby was known for his work in court in both criminal and civil cases.

    Bowlby was a member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Hamilton Law Association, president from 1947-1948. He was also a founding member of the Hamilton Lawyers’ Club and first president in 1935. This group of young lawyers, who wanted to put on legal seminars, approached the trustees of the Hamilton Law Association and asked to use the lounge for that purpose.

    In 1932, Bowlby opened his own office with Frank Turville as a junior partner. Later on 4 May 1949, Bowlby was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. Mr. Mason, K.C. the Treasurer of the Law Society, in expressing the good wishes of the benchers of the Law Society, paid high tribute to the prominent Hamilton lawyer for his 30 years of practice at the bar.

    The Hamilton Spectator paid tribute to Bowlby as follows: “To a distinguished post: ‘We congratulate Honourable Mr. justice Bowlby, first member of the Boar of Hamilton to be appointed to the Court of Appeal. He is a wise, popular and non-political choice and throughout this city there will be a warm feeling of pride and approval. Mr. Bowlby has combined singular legal ability with great personality and charm. Always approachable and helpful, he stood high in prestige among members of the legal profession throughout this province. The good wishes of the people of Hamilton will go with him as he takes up his distinguished new post.’”

    Source: "Bowlby, Charles William Reid..," Dictionary of Hamilton Biography, Volume IV (1940 -1970) pgs 34-35.

    Last modified: April 19, 2023 3:26 PM | Anonymous

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