Alfred Boultbee (1828 - 1901)
(written by the Editors)
Alfred was the second child of Felix Boultbee and Mary Nesbitt (née Samuel). He was born March 5, 1828 at Bittern Cottage, near Southampton, England. In the summer of 1834,
his parents were preparing to emigrate with their five children to Canada. The following year his father purchased a farmhouse and 50 acres in Ancaster Township, Canada West (Ontario).
Alfred received little formal schooling. He studied law in the office of William Notman at nearby Dundas from 1845 to 1850. His uncle, Horatio Boultbee, may have supplied funds for his studies, for Horatio wrote in 1849: I trust that Alfred has passed his examination, and that for a time, he will be content with small practice if he cannot honourably obtain more, and that he will refuse all dirty and dishonest business in his profession. Alfred was called to the bar in 1855, and began his practice at Newmarket, Ontario.
On June 17, 1857, he married Caroline Augusta Hamilton, and they raised a family of four sons and two daughters.
In the History of the Town of Newmarket there are several references to Alfred. In 1858, he is a charter member of the Tuscan Lodge #65 (changed to #99 in 1863) of the Masonic Order , and was its first Worshipful Master. In 1863, he is listed as a Churchwarden at St. Paul's Anglican Church. In 1858, he negotiated the legal incorporation for Newmarket to become a village. In the minutes of the Newmarket Council, Alfred's name appears regularly as solicitor for the village. In 1859, he was instructed to find a suitable site for a Town Hall. In late 1862, he was elected Reeve of the village of Newmarket for the following year, and was re-elected and served for a total four consecutive years. In late 1866 when Alfred again tried for re-election, there was an amusing hoax played out by his opponent, Dr. Hunter. Early in the morning of election day, Dr. Hunter was found assaulted and lying on the snow, bleeding. He obtained the sympathy of the voters, and defeated Alfred in the election. But subsequently it turned out that one of the Doctor's zealous supporters had killed several chickens, convinced the Doctor to act assaulted, and poured the birds' blood on him!
His sister Mary Ann lived with him at Newmarket until her death in 1859. His youngest brother Arthur also lived with him for a few years, until Alfred married in 1857.
Alfred organized the Newmarket Volunteer Company in 1861, and was Captain, 12th Battalion, York Volunteer Infantry.
In 1871, he ran for election to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as the Member for York North, and was successful.
Alfred and his family remained at Newmarket until 1872. In that year he moved to Peterborough, Ontario for a year, and then to Toronto where he purchased a home at 238 Carlton Street. He formed the legal firm of Boultbee & Evatt with Wm. Worts Evatt in 1873.
In the Newmarket weekly Era for April 10, 1874, there is an editorial on Alfred, who had recently switched his political representation from Reformer to Conservative to the annoyance of the Editor. The final sentences are not too critical, and bear repeating:
In 1875, he resigned to contest a Federal by-election for the same riding of York North, but was defeated. He tried again, in 1878, for the Federal riding of York East, and was successful.
| He has a deep bass voice, but too much so to be pleasing, and he is apt to lose his temper sometimes - all of which detract from his power as a debater. Mr. Boultbee is middle-aged and wears a heavy beard. He is sociable in his manner, and personally is well liked.
In 1882, he moved to 224 Carlton Street, Toronto, and it was there that his wife Caroline died in 1885. In 1896, Alfred and his three adult children, Alfred Jr., Horatio, and Constance, moved to a new home at 35 Crescent Road, Toronto. That house has since been declared an historical building that is to be preserved. Alfred Sr. died on December 29, 1901.